The Spare Tire


Samantha flew down the stairs and straight for the door. Thankfully, she had left her purse and keys on the entry table so she could grab them on the way out. Late again! The story of her life.

Starting up the car and pulling out of the driveway, something wiggled in the back of her mind. She had forgotten something. She was sure of it. Purse ? Check. Car keys? Well, she was driving, so, duh, check. Fully dressed? She looked down and examined her outfit. Everything appeared to be in order. Check. Makeup and hair? She pulled down the mirror and did a quick once over. She certainly wasn’t going to win any beauty contests, but she was as put together as she gets. So, what was it? What did she forget? Then it hit her – she had forgotten to have her quiet time. Her time with God.

“Ok, Lord, look, I’m really sorry! I know this is like the 3rd, alright 4th, day in a row. Ok, ok, 7th day in a row that I haven’t had my time with you. But, I’ve been really busy. Life is super hectic right now. I promise when things slow down I’ll make more time for you.”

Even as Samantha said the words, she knew that things always seemed to come up. Not that God wasn’t important to her. He really was. But, there are other things – things that just seem to take priority – things like her job and her boyfriend and, yes, sometimes a little “Sam-time”, too. C’mon, even God rested on the seventh day, right?

Sam’s mom had been after her for weeks to go to church with them. Deep down she knew she should. There was a part of her that missed going the way she use to when she was a kid – the friends and the feeling of belonging. She always felt close to God then and felt like He was guiding her and protecting her. Not so much anymore. Even when she tried to pray, she felt silly – like she was talking to the wall.

Oomph! The car skidded across the road.

“Oh Great! Just what I needed when I’m already late!” Samantha cried. “A flat tire.” She had no idea how to change a tire. She was pretty sure Dad had tried to teach her once, but, as usual, she paid no attention. Besides, she was in her good work clothes and was wearing her new Jimmy Choo’s on her feet! There was no way she was getting down on that road to change a tire! She rummaged through her wallet to look for her AAA card when it struck her that she had forgotten to renew her membership! She grabbed her cell phone to call her Dad. No reception! Why, oh why did she have to take these deserted back roads?! “Great! Just great! Boy if there was ever a time I really needed prayer to work and God to hear me, this is it!”

Samantha sat in her car, stewing over the situation. Suddenly, around the bend flew a beat up old pick-up truck. He whizzed past her, but stopped, backed up and pulled in right in front of her. A middle-aged man, maybe 45 or 50 got out and headed for her car. Just to be on the safe side, she kept her door locked, but rolled the window down enough so she could converse.

“Hey there, young lady! You look like you’re having a little bit of trouble.”

Something about his voice made Samantha feel immediately calm. It was soothing, with a little bit of a Southern edge. He had a warm, friendly smile that reminded her of her Grandpa, who had died when she was just a little girl.

“Hi there! Boy am I glad to see you! Yes, I’ve got a flat tire and, unfortunately, I have no idea how to change it and my phone has no reception.”

“A flat tire? Is that all?! If you have a spare we can have that taken care of in no time at all!” His voice was light and upbeat, with an almost sing-song-y quality, like this was something he did for stranded young women everyday!

Sam sighed a huge sigh of relief. “Yes, I do have a spare in the trunk. Thank you so much! You have no idea how much I appreciate this!”

Sam popped the trunk and the gentleman immediately got to work. His friendly nature took over and he chatted away steadily.

“You know, this spare tire makes me think…” he said. “Back when I was, oh, about your age, I guess, I went through a tough time. Not rebellious really. Just thought I could do things on my own – that I didn’t need God anymore. Now I shoulda known better than that. I was raised in the church and my folks had taught me about the Lord from the time I was old enough to listen. But, I thought I was all that because I was out on my own and thought my life was too full and too busy for God anymore. Oh, I’d send up a quick prayer now and again when I was in a jam and expect Him to still get me out of it. But, then I’d ignore Him the rest of my days. Then one afternoon I was changing my own tire, one just like this, and God spoke to my heart. Spoke so clear it was almost like the way I’m talkin’ to you. He told me I was treating Him just like an old spare tire – keeping Him locked away in a trunk and only pulling Him out when I had an emergency. But, He’s GOD! He keeps this old world spinnin’ on its axis and gives me every breath I’ve got. He put the stars in place, and the fish in the sea. And He loved me enough to send His son to die for me.  He’s not meant to be a spare tire. He’s meant to be our engine – the power behind everything we do! I’ll tell you, that changed my whole life! And I’ve never looked back.”

Samantha sat in the front seat of her car unable to say a thing. How did he know? It’s like he knew exactly what was in her heart…what was happening in her life! She hung her head. She knew it was time for her life to change, too.

Finally, she shook herself from her thought-filled state and grabbed her wallet. She owed this man something for all he’d done for her. She started for the back of her car where he had been working. “Here let me give you something to thank you…”

But, he was gone.

Samantha looked down at her changed tire and smiled. What had started out looking like a disaster of a day, may be the best thing that could have happened to her.

Heading back to the driver’s seat, she gave the tire a quick pat. Who knew you could ever be so thankful for an old spare tire?!

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