To her friends, Debbie Lascelles was known as “the Texas cream puff.” She knew all the current makeup techniques, could style her hair into the perfect “Texas’do” and could paint her nails to match any outfit. But there were some things Debbie couldn’t do, like change a flat tire. She had adopted this philosophy of life: “Don’t learn to do something you don’t want to end up doing.” For instance, never ask your husband to teach you how to use the lawnmower unless someday you expect to be trimming the grass. I’ve been told that Debbie wouldn’t even screw a new license plate onto her car. Instead, she asked an able-bodied maintenance man working on staff with her at the YWAM base in Tyler, Texas, to do the job for her.
She was at the top of her class when she graduated from nursing school and was voted the most likely to succeed. Everybody knew that Debbie was destined for a prosperous career and would probably marry a doctor. But God interrupted her plans by calling her to the mission field, despite her previous protests. At 35, she and three other like-minded Christians joined Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) on a missions trip to the Sudan. They were to bring much-needed supplies-clothes, medicine and books-to a remote village in the middle of the steamy jungle. The team was also asked to teach their native brothers how to win their enemies to Jesus.
It was a sweltering hot day as they loaded the supply truck, and the Texas cream puff felt like she was melting. She poured herself into the seat next to another missionary dripping with sweat and fastened her seatbelt for the bumpy ride ahead. They knew they must travel all day to make their destination before nightfall.
Halfway through the trip a tire blew, and their hearts deflated too. The only way to change the tire in that heavy-laden truck was to empty its contents. When the team finally overcame the obstacles of unloading the truck and changing the tire, too much time had been lost. They would never reach the village before dark. Disappointed, they decided to turn back.
Suddenly there was a rumbling out of the afternoon sky. Their escorts feared the worst, saying, “Those are enemy bombers! Everyone hit the dirt.” Debbie the debutante was now sweaty, dirty and scared. But to her amazement, the planes roared by without noticing the team or the truck. Like heat-seeking missiles, the bombers remained locked on their target-the very village where Debbie and her team had been headed. The time of detonation? Just before dark. A flat tire saved their lives.
Making the long, grueling trek, only to be disappointed when she could not reach her destination became a holy moment for Debbie. God had said no and placed His loving hand as a roadblock in her path.
Has God ever answered one of your prayers with a deafening no? Take time to reflect on the reasons why. Perhaps He was protecting you from a bad decision or attempting to lead you to greener pastures. If that’s the case, you’ve had a holy moment. Look for supernatural surprises in unexpected places-not only when God leads you through an open door, but also when He closes it.