Who Can You Call?

mark-hopper-color-2x2By Pastor Mark Hopper

Many years ago I was leading a group of students and adults on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We were driving from Tucson to the South Rim during the night.

We left Tucson at about 10:00 PM hoping to get to the Rim by sunrise the next morning. The coolest time of day to hike into the Canyon is early morning and later in the evening. The drive north to Phoenix went smoothly with no problems.

After a comfort stop on the north side of Phoenix, we drove on toward Prescott. Our little caravan included several cars, a pick up truck with our camping gear and my Dodge Van. The truck led the way and I brought up the rear.

However, shortly after we left Phoenix, I began to have car trouble. I flashed my headlights to alert the other cars ahead of me, but no one seem to notice. I pulled off the dark highway to see if I could figure out what had happened to our Van.

We were all alone on a dark stretch of Interstate 17. Our friends did not realize we had stopped and they drove on without us. There were no cell phones in those days so we had no way to contact them.

I decided to turn around and limp back into Phoenix. The drive was very slow but we finally made it back safely to civilization at about 1:30 AM. A gas station was open along the freeway but it only sold gas. There was no mechanic around to help diagnose our problem.

Who do you call when you are stranded in the middle of the night with a group of sleepy High School kids? My parents and my wife’s parents lived in Phoenix at that time, but I didn’t want to bother them at that time of night.

Finally, I remembered that my friend Terry Moore lived on the north side of Phoenix. He had been my counselor at our church High School camp a few years earlier. I found his number in a phone book hanging from the pay phone at the gas station.

I woke him up and it took a few seconds to convince him that it really was me and that I needed his help. I asked him if he could drive to the airport so I could rent another Van and get back on the road?

He was sleepy but very willing to help. He drove to the gas station and then took me to the airport. They didn’t have any “vans” for rent in those days, but they did have a station wagon available!

We got permission to leave my van at the gas station and then transferred our students into the station wagon and got back on the road at about sun rise. It had been a long night and we had a long drive ahead.

We couldn’t have done it without the gracious help of my friend Terry. I have never forgotten that adventure. We got to the Grand Canyon many hours later than the rest of our group, but we made it because of the willing help of a good friend.

Who can you call when you need help? Can you think of one or two close friends that you know would do anything for you at any time? Are there some people that know you well enough that they would not hesitate to call you if they needed help?

There is a verse in the Bible that reminds us that God is always available to hear our prayers and come to our aid. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us come with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

Cell phones are very helpful when we need help. Prayer is too! Who will you call?