This past weekend I had the opportunity to ride my Triumph Sprint sport bike at the Talladega Grand Prix course with N2 Track Days. Several from our CMA KneeBenders chapter participated, and we had a wonderful time tearing around the track, gaining some new skills and honing others, and fellowshipping in the paddock area in between sessions (more about the riding part on my other blog).
We had all arrived Friday night, unloaded our motorcycles and gear, set up our paddock tents and camping equipment, and got rested for two solid days of sessions on the track.
From late Friday night through the entire day Saturday, I noticed a pretty young lady in the pit area, bouncing around from tent to tent, chatting people up between track sessions, offering to help anyway she could. At first, I thought she might have been one of N2 leaders, but as the day progressed, and I heard parts of her conversations, I concluded she was just there to hang out with riders, and all she seemed to be able to talk about was herself. Constant chatter, a frantic, nervous energy, seemingly clamoring for attention. I developed a bit of an attitude toward her, without her even coming over to our CMA tent yet. I thought, “If she comes over here, she’s gonna drive us crazy with her self-absorbed prattling.”
Well, after the last sessions were done for the day, and night began to fall, she made her way over to us. “Great,” I thought, “here we go…” We were all sitting in folding lawn chairs, just talking and enjoying the cooling evening, when she started asking about our bikes. We obliged her, and she talked about her bike, the accident she had in the past year, etc. I squirmed in my chair, thinking, “I wish she’d just bounce on over to another tent.”
She asked us about CMA, saying, “I’ve seen you people at a lot of track days and races. What is CMA?” My friends Monte and Test told her about the ministry of CMA, and she proceeded to share how she used to go to church when she was a teenager, but saw mean people, hypocrites, folks saying one thing but not living what they said they believed. Her father left when she was younger, and stepped out of her life. Then her mother suffered and succumbed to cancer, dying with her at bedside after 42 days in the hospital. Family members have cut off contact with her, and she is alone. She asked us, “There were times I really felt God when I first went to church, but after He let my mom die, and my dad kept his distance from me, I just don’t feel God anymore. Has He left me too?”
By this time, I was really listening. God spoke to my heart, “I brought her here for a reason. Share My love with her.” Suddenly, I saw her through God’s eyes- a lonely, frightened little girl looking for love, validation, acceptance, a father figure, a home. And my heart broke. I imagined what my own girls’ lives might have been like, had I died, or divorced their mother and abandoned them, or just been a distant father, not involved in their lives growing up. They might have turned out wounded and hurting like this precious young lady was.
I stood up from my seat, walked over to where she had taken a seat among us, and said, “I’m a father of two girls, about your age, and I want you to know there is a Father in Heaven who loves you with an everlasting love, and has never forsaken you. You are not alone, and you are loved.” With that, I bent over her, wrapped my arms around her like I would one of my own girls, and suddenly she burst into tears, sobbing on my shoulder. Test got up, wrapped his large arms around us both, as did Monte and his wife Lynn. We prayed over her, blessed her, and just sat with her, each one of us answering questions she had about faith, church, etc. We each shared our own stories with her, about tragedy, cancer, pain, and how a relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important aspect of our lives.
Sunday morning, after some a.m. sessions on the track, we did a little Bible study for anyone who wanted to attend. This girl approached me, asking, “Can I come over when you do that Bible study thing?” I replied, “Of course you can. You are more than welcome to.” She indeed joined us, and came by to chat with us periodically throughout the day until the track weekend was over. Saying our goodbyes, everyone loaded for home.
I reflected on the weekend, and how God brought her to us. I hope she finds Christ like we shared with her. But God had taught me something too. I learned to not be so quick to judge people, without hearing their stories. And I was reminded how God orchestrates “divine appointments” for us to be His hands, feet, and mouth, so we can share His love and salvation with folks. The track weekend was fun, thrilling actually. But deeper, we were there to share and demonstrate Christ to a young lady, hopefully pointing her homeward.
I’m glad I didn’t miss this.