Monday, 11 June 2012

Thought Picnic: God's Grand Plan of Fixing my Slashed Tyre

The plans I made
Despite all I have seen, if I had to be told I live a wonderful life and not realise it myself, I would have failed to count the many blessings, small and large that waylay me at every turn and bring me such happiness, fun, joy and encouragement.
I planned to attend prayer meeting at church this evening and had arranged to meet up with a friend two stations further on to journey together to church.
Usually, I cut it fine with just enough time to ride my bicycle to the station, lock it up and catch the train, but I also needed to get tickets so I made much more allowances for that and just some time.
The plans overturned
I got ready, unchained my bicycle and one look at the front tyre showed that someone had found the bizarrely twisted pleasure to dig in the tyre and slashed the inner tube – that this should happen in front of my house was just cutting, I had never in my 12 years of living in the Netherlands and many times of securing my bicycle outside had my tyres slashed and it is only in my first year that I ever and only once had my bicycle stolen.
I reported the event on Twitter, got sympathy and I never thought it could ever have been a hate crime; my street does have quite an international feel to it.
New plans working fine
Putting my cane together, I walked up to the bus stop informing my friend that I might not catch the pre-arranged train, but I was just in time for the bus, to get my ticket and catch the train. The clouds were looming ready to belch their store of rain and I did not think I was that prepared but my trusty umbrella was in my bag. We met up and travelled to church, my umbrella saving us from getting drenched to the skin.
We were on time to help set up the meeting room and the meeting started as I thought about how to get the bicycle to the repair shop just about 2 kilometres away and how long it would take to repair the bicycle before I could use it again – all sorts of permutations of solutions tried to take away my concentration but I persevered in prayer all the same. The prayer sessions were exciting, different and really edifying before we had a break.
My friend returned home and then I asked another friend residing in my city if I could have a lift back home. That was arranged when I saw that my neighbour arrive for the leadership and volunteers training session.
Altering the plan
After the session, I asked if I could have a ride back home and he obliged, I cancelled the other arrangement, we got in the car where I told him the tale of my slashed bicycle tyre.
He just about encouraged me enough to get my hands dirty after he shared with me how he learnt to be a handyman having known nothing about maintaining and repairing motorbikes just two years before.
I was not sure but I was willing to try, I really did not have to wheel my bicycle to the repair shop or remove the wheel and hump that by bus to the repair shop, I just needed to find out what size of tube I needed, get that from the shop, remove the old tube, take out the wheel, put in the new tube in the tyre, let in some air to set it on the wheel, then put the tyre back on, fix the wheel and then pump the tyre to the right pressure.
The part about letting some air into the tube was quite useful information borne from experience; I was somewhat ready to try something very different.
An unexpected plan
When we got home, I showed him my bicycle as he concluded it was a slashing rather than a mere puncture. He read the measurements for the tyre and then it suddenly occurred to him that he might have a spare tube in his car.
Apparently, a few weeks before, he bought two different sizes of inner tube for his bicycle being unsure of which size will fit and on fitting the right one he had lost the receipt he needed to return the other tube for a refund.
That tube just happened to be the right size for my tyre as I planned that I would fit it on the morrow only wondering about where I might have put my bicycle pump. The lights were down and the dark of the night had come as he offered that we do it there and then.
So I wheeled the bicycle into his backyard and he set up the lights, got out his tool box and disconnecting the brakes, he got out the old tube, loosened the wheel and put in the new tube, applied manly grease to the nuts and threading and basically put my bicycle back together again.
You cannot make up such as story if you wanted to, Buddy who might not have known for sure why he obtained two tubes and that he will have a passenger in his car on his ride back home, but he was the answer to the incongruous, the improbable and literally uncanny – maybe God does move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, but at the end, it all came together in a grand plan none of us could have contrived.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
I know that I was distraught, probably annoyed and at a time confused as to why anyone would find any pleasure in the wilful destruction of another man’s property but I was never bitter. There was going to be a solution eventually but it never went according to my plan and it was solved long before the day was over without me having to worry much and spend anything apart from the wheeling of the bicycle to the backyard and lifting the wheel ignorantly off the frame before checking where the washers were.
My friend, Buddy was a God-send beyond anything I could have imagined and I was grinning from ear-to-ear after it was all done with care, consideration, charity and kindness in an expression of unconditional love. "Buddy, you've been a great buddy," I said. Yes, that is his wonderful name lived out to reality.
In the last two months, goodness, mercy, kindness, favour and goodwill has chased me down and overtaken me so many times, as a man of faith, I can only say God has my back and has my concerns to mind – it is just amazing that God had already set in motion the plan to fix my slashed tyres long before it happened and it is a wonder how many times we have missed latching onto the good things He has planned for us long before we reached the difficult paths, situations and circumstances we come up against in our daily lives. 

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