• Fr. Gustavo

Signs on the Way


Sign at Mt. Carmel Church, King George, VA

“And Jesus did many other signs,” (John 20:30)


Once I was driving back home to Chesterfield, Virginia, almost evening, and after a very trying day at the dealership, my car quit on me. All the bells and lights went off, and I had to pull off the road. At the time I was about 40 miles south of the dealership and a long 75 miles away from home. Now, mind you, this was the second time that the car quit.


The first time was on my way to the dealership, 50 miles away from Waldorf, Maryland. Later in the day, after the car was serviced and “repaired” I headed back home – to my second breakdown. As you will gather it was, indeed, a very long and trying day.


And so, I needed to find a safe place to wait for towing. But where too, right in the middle of nowhere? I kept limping and the just about up a hill there was Mt. Carmel Baptist Church with a beautiful and welcoming parking lot.


As I pulled into the Church’s parking lot, I noticed the sign with the words that I believe, Jesus wanted me to hear right at the time: “Let not your heart be troubled – Trust God.” It truly spoke to my heart at my time of need.


Since then, I cannot but praise God for His goodness, and to offer my heartfelt thanksgiving for the ministry of a country church. The Word of the Lord never returns empty!


In his Gospel, St. John speaks about the signs that Jesus did during His earthly ministry. I believe that Jesus continues to make signs – sometimes, perhaps, using the hands of faithful servants. Could it be said that Mt. Carmel’s sign was also a Sign of God’s abiding love and presence?


Rural churches are sometimes eclipsed by the glitter of huge, big-city congregations. But yet here I was so far away from familiar places and Mt. Carmel Church offered a safe and secure place to be. And an encouraging word to boot! It was like a fresh glass of water in the wilderness. I believe that it shall not be without reward.


On the following Sunday, I shared with my congregation my story and I wanted them to know how simple words said at the right time can be such a blessing.


St. David famously entrusted his disciples “to take care of the small things.” A glass of water. A pat in the back. A bunch of flowers. A kind word. A sign on the road. Those are some of the small things that anyone at any time can do to make all the difference in the world.

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