OPINION – Some things have to be experienced to be believed. This is especially true of those events in life that are undeniably awe-inspiring.
They could include things like hiking the Subway or Angel’s Landing, the birth of your child, or nailing a 30-foot putt while everyone is watching. You get the idea.
But not many things can equal the sense of awe and amazement as the realization that you have just been the answer to someone else’s prayer.
For example, someone recently emailed me the story of a man stuck in traffic when his brand new car began to sputter and die. He was able to coast into the nearest gas station, perturbed at his misfortune, but relieved that he wasn’t blocking traffic.
As he was getting ready to call Triple A, he noticed a woman apparently trip and fall near one of the gas pumps and he hurried over to see if she was alright. But instead of simply falling, the woman appeared to have been overcome by sobs and when he asked if she was okay, she replied that she just didn’t want her kids to see her crying.
At that moment, everything came into focus for the gentleman and he saw her ancient Suburban, packed full of belongings with her 3 young kids sitting inside and the gas pump reading $4.95. The young mother told him that she was driving to California and things were very difficult for her. The man asked her, “Were you praying just now?” And as her eyes went wide he quickly assured her by saying, “God heard you, and he sent me.”
The woman explained that her boyfriend had abandoned her and her kids 2 months earlier. With eviction from their apartment a certainty, she was trying to get to her parents in California until she could get back on her feet. The man filled her gas tank, bought food for her and her children and even gave her his gloves before sending them on their way.
As she prepared to leave, the mother asked the stranger, “Are you an angel?” He replied that, “Sometimes when the angels are busy, God uses regular people instead.”
Whether this is a true story or just a faith-promoting rumor, it illustrates a powerful lesson for each of us.
Opportunities exist all around us to help others in need. Their needs may not be as dramatic as those in the story above, but often we can make the crucial difference if we are actively seeking the chance to serve.
Sadly, this is seldom an innate quality as preoccupation with our own selfish wants and desires creates a kind of tunnel vision that can prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. The good news is that like any other skill, with practice we can develop the ability to recognize opportunities to serve others.
It all starts by inoculating ourselves against selfishness. This is much easier than we think.
Start with simple anonymous acts of giving, like paying for the food order of the car behind you in the drive in. If you’re alone in the line at the grocery store, give the cashier a 10-dollar bill and say, “Put this toward the next person’s purchase.” Hold the door for people. Let someone into traffic. Stop and help someone change a flat tire. Choose to forgive another.
Regular service to others sharpens our awareness and ability to recognize the needs of those around us, even when they’re asking for help. It is a guaranteed lift to your own spirits when you’re feeling down. Like many of life’s greatest treasures, you have to experience it to believe it.
Sincere, service-oriented people will attest that few things in life compare with the realization that you were just the answer to someone else’s prayer.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2012, all rights reserved.