An Unexpected Passenger

When God prompted me to pick up a soldier walking along the side of the road, I never realized what good things would come of it.

Today's devotion may take you two to three minutes to read instead of one. While going through some old papers, I found this story that I'd written about a situation that happened to me many years ago. I want to share it:

It was 1986 and it was a warm October morning in Lawton, Oklahoma. I climbed into my car and started on my way toward Ft. Sill to attend my weekly women’s Bible study at the military chapel.

We lived on the western edge of Lawton, and the twenty-minute drive to the post took me down a narrow country road. 

A few minutes into my ride I saw a soldier in uniform walking along the right shoulder. As I passed by him, I felt the strongest inner urge to stop and pick him up. 

It was totally unlike me. I had never picked up a hitchhiker before, and this soldier wasn’t even asking for a ride. 

So I drove on, but that inner urge grew stronger. 

“Is this You, Lord? Are you trying to direct me? You wouldn’t ask me to pick up a complete stranger, would you? Surely someone else will pick him up if he needs a ride. Perhaps he doesn’t even want a ride. Couldn’t I just pray for him instead? You wouldn’t want me to be late for my Bible study, would you?

None of my excuses helped me shake that inner nudging, and the last one about my Bible study made me think of the priest who passed the suffering man along the side of the road (Luke 10:25-37). He was probably on his way to some religious service just like I was on my way to the Bible study. 

By now I was miles past the soldier, but I turned around, praying that someone else would pick him up before I got there if this wasn’t part of God’s plans for me. 

But there he was, still walking.

So I turned around and pulled up next to him. Assuming he was headed to Ft. Sill just as I was, I rolled down my window and asked, “Would you like a ride on post?” 

“Oh, yes!” he answered as he climbed into my car. 

This unusual situation gave me extra boldness, and I explained to him what had happened: “I went by you earlier. In fact, I was miles past you, but the Lord told me to come back and pick you up.”

Immediately, tears filled his eyes, and as he lowered his head, I could barely hear him say, “Thank You, Lord.”

Although he knew Christ, his burdens were many that morning, and I listened as he told me of his car trouble. He was going to be late for his training that morning, and he knew he’d be in trouble with his sergeant. 

We were complete strangers, but in Christ we were brother and sister, and he shared his concerns. He was a reformed alcoholic and his heart had been heavy as he’d walked along that road. He knew he couldn’t turn to alcohol for his answer, so he turned to the Lord, praying God would pick him up in the midst of his fears. 

And God did pick him up – by directing me to do so. 

When I left him at his training area that morning, I thanked God that I had listened to His voice. I was late for my Bible study, but I had learned something about God's love and compassion that I have never forgotten.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). 


If you haven't read it before, I encourage you to read 6 Reasons to Pray Colossians 1:9

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When God prompted me to pick up a soldier walking along the side of the road, I never realized what good things would come of it.

Bible Love Notes

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