by Tamera Lynn Kraft
I was a poor nineteen year old college student on my way home from Sunday night service. I didn’t have any money, and the car was on empty. It wouldn’t have mattered if I did have money. It was after 9:00 at night, and this was the late 1970s, the time when gas shortages caused gas stations to close by 6:00 if they didn’t run out of gas. I went to church by faith praying I wouldn’t run out of gas until I got home.
The car sputtered then stopped. I sat in the car for a few moments considering my options. I didn’t have a cell phone in those days. Only rich people had car phones, and they were the size of today’s laptops. It was after dark, so walking to the nearest gas station was not something I looked forward to. Even if I did walk there, a couple of miles away, I couldn’t get gas at that hour – even if I had money.
I could have used the phone booth at the gas station to make a call. I was sure I could find a quarter in the ash tray or under the seat. But the idea of walking out there in the dark didn’t appeal to me.
Lord, what am I going to do?
It was at that moment a group of guys drove up. They were obviously drunk or high, and from the cat calls and whistles they made, I had no trouble discerning what they really were after.
“You run out of gas?” one guy slurred. “We can drive you to the station.”
“No, that’s all right,” I called from inside the closed window.
They shrugged and drove off. I let out a sigh of relief, but a few minutes later they came back.
The first guy, obviously the leader, got out of the car this time and banged on my window. “Give us some money, and will bring back some gas for you.”
“Someone’s coming to pick me up,” I lied hoping they would leave me alone. No such luck.
A couple of others were out of the car by now pounding on the window as hard as my heart was beating. “Come on. Let us in. We’re trying to help you.”
“No, thanks. I’m fine.”
They got in their car and drove away.
At this point, I was shaking. I knew they’d be back, and this time, they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Lord, please help me.
A police car pulled onto the road. I was sure this was my answer to prayer. I honked my horn and flashed my lights, but the car drove away. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the cop saw me, but he didn’t stop. I was on one side of the city line, and he was working for the other city. Still, he could have stopped. He had to know I needed his help.
A chill went through me. A weight rested on my chest, and I had to remind myself to breathe. My eyes darted along the street as I looked for a place to hide, a tree, a bush. No houses to run to for help, only businesses after hours.
The back of my throat ached.
Lord, you are my strength and salvation. You are my ever present help in time of trouble. Please, help me. I don’t know what to do.
A car drove up, and a man got out and walked up to the window. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what the man looked like, but a peace came over me. I wasn’t afraid anymore.
“Come with me, and I’ll get you some gas.” That’s all he said.
I didn’t take frivolous chances. I was careful about going with people I didn’t know, but it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to go with him. I didn’t even think about it. I got into his car.
The man drove down the street and turned on a gravel road. I examined where the road was so I could look for it later. At the end of the road was an old barn. The man went into the barn and came out carrying a five gallon gas tank, then he drove me back to my car and filled it up. I had a twenty gallon tank, and he filled it until the needle was on full. Then he drove away.
The next day, I drove to where the man had pulled off the road. My intention was to thank him, but the gravel road wasn’t there. I couldn’t find it. That’s when I realized he was an angel sent by God. The full gas tank lasted six months with me driving for miles every day.
I often wondered why God didn’t have the angel fill up my tank right there without me going with him. I think I’ve come up with two reasons. First God wanted me to know He was the one who rescued me supernaturally. Second, the car full of guys might have come back while I was gone. When they saw I wasn’t there, they drove off.
For what it’s worth, this story is true. You can come to your own conclusions about the man who filled my gas tank. I know what I believe.