Helping someone to hope

This is a moving story, which reminds us to be open to God’s little impulses. At this season of thankfulness, please consider forwarding to someone you know who needs some hope.

This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5 pm, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and sputter and die. I barely managed to coast into a gas station. Glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck.

The engine wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the Quickie Mart building. It looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen. She was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me. The crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with three kids in the back (one in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying.” So, we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me”.

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely. While it was fueling I walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought two big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left two months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent on January 1. Finally, in desperation, she had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about five years. They lived in California and they said that she could come to live with them and try to get on her feet out there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking away, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?”

This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car, it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Psalms 55 “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved”.

Ian’s thought: We, the Christian community, can be instruments of God’s two hands of hope and help on earth, but only if we are aware of and act on situations we see. If I am mentally consumed by my petroleum engineering work, or by my personal problems, I can (and have) missed opportunities to help someone to hope. For a deeper study on this see

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12 years ago


Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!

12 years ago

Geez, Ian, I am so glad we have reconnected after all these years. You know that we have always had so much fun discussing the issues of the world, from dating to dancing, from religion to politics. It’s good to see you so well and happily pursuing a new venture. Can’t wait for the next book, but got to get through this one first. Have to teach again tomorrow, so have to work on that shortly.
Meanwhile, Ian, this story is just lovely. And sometimes as Christians we fail to realize that someone very close and near to us, and sometimes we ourselves, need that hope. I know people who say they are Christian who have totally turned a blind eye to someone who is truly hurting because. It is only when we can get our eyes off ourselves and start really caring about others that we can see what God means by “love one another.”
It has been tough for me as a single person because I have strived all my life to take care of me and my own by my own wits. And when you rely on your own wits, you don’t have much time to devote to helping others. And my wits don’t measure up. It’s only when he forces me to rely on Him that I truly see how much I need Him and how much He cares for me. As Joyce Meyers says, “Poor Donna, you have only the God of the universe to rely on.” LOL
That’s what I meant when you helped me teach class last week (thank you very much, by the way — everyone loved your Australian accent) when I mentioned that I had been crying an awful lot lately and I felt the Lord tell me, “Yeah, I needed you to cry.”
Of course, I asked, “Why?”
It was very plain, “Because if seems that’s the only way you NEED me. Otherwise you just want me. I want you to NEED me at all times in every area of your life.”
Needless to say, I said “Okay,” really FAST.
That young mother will learn that hopefully sooner rather than as late as I have. I know my daughter has, and I marvel at how well she does in areas of her life, and I am watching my grandson, who became a Christian even earlier than my daughter did. It’s wonderful for me to realize that they have that security now because of a move I made when I was 33.
Once God gets a hold of you, he will make himself very apparent by in many ways, but not the least by sending people like the good doctor around, bringing workers in your path. I am praying over some specific people for that right now, and I do expect to hear wonderful things. Have you heard the new country song out there? I can’t remember what it says, but basically it is saying, “I wish you heartache until you get to know God’s there for you.” He’ll get your attention somehow. Hopefully, it won’t take a wrecks, lost jobs, burned down house, health, or anything like that before you NEED him in every area of your life. While looking for that new song, I found this one by Johnny Cash, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” AWESOME.

12 years ago
Reply to  Donna

Thanks for your comment Donna. I think you are right on in expressing that folks who are overly introspective (for perhaps valid reasons) may not look outward to others (or God) as much. However, some people in this situation do continue to look outward, and I think they have realized this is a source of happiness…..helping someone to hope can be psychologically uplifting and rewarding.

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