Monday, August 29, 2011

Math Lesson

Some will not read this because of the title. I myself would be tempted to skip it for that very reason! If you know me, you know I do not like math. The mere mention of math assaults my brain. Practicing math = torture! I avoid anything that smells of mathematics.

In math, as in all subjects, the best teachers are ones who introduce you to a concept and then present the opportunity to work it out. Remember those worksheets? (Ugh.) I never would have learned my multiplication tables if I had not been given immediate exercises to complete. (And more for homework? Agony! Affliction! )

God is an excellent teacher. In Sunday School last week, we explored the story of the good Samaritan, which Jesus told to illustrate the point that all peoples are our neighbors. True to form, God gave me an opportunity this week to work it out through personal experience. (Okay, Holy Spirit, as long as there is no math involved!)

The Samaritan came across a man in need. Others passed by the man, but the Samaritan stopped to assist.

Friday, I came across a man in need. Others passed by, and I nearly did, too. I had good reasons: 1) I was on the phone with my daughter who was asking for advice. 2) I had a trunk full of groceries, some perishable. 3) I know little about cars. 4) I was a woman, alone, and as such, stopping to help a man is not usually considered advisable.

The young Asian man stood to the side of the disabled vehicle. Something about the way he stood, helpless and distraught, sliced the excuses right out of my heart. The mother in me (whose own son had been a lone student in Japan for a year, beyond my reach or help) applied the brakes and turned into an adjacent parking lot.

He was from China, an exchange student at the nearby college (ironically the same university my son had attended), and had been in the States only two weeks. The car belonged to another Chinese student, who was walking to a nearby store to purchase jumper cables. He was beyond grateful that someone had stopped to check on him. I stood alongside, unable to offer anything but companionship, wondering why on earth God would have prompted little ol’ automotively-incompetent me to stop. And then something happened. God used me to multiply His favor.

Another stopped. A chivalrous man had seen me next to the car and assumed I was the owner. He stopped to help a woman, not a young man. Turns out it was his day off. His regular job? A mechanic for AAA.

The mechanic pulled out a few tools and brushed the battery terminals. The car started. With their permission, I followed them home just in case the car died again. Both students were touched, and I did not receive the traditional Chinese bow but warm American hugs instead.

How beautifully God works! How perfectly and precisely! And always with a little humor for my benefit: the student was a math major. I love God.