If it’s a true bargain, I’m going to buy it even if I don’t need it. It was early Spring in eastern Kentucky and I was walking out of a dollar store. I saw it sitting all by itself on the shelf. It was a large plastic container of rock salt. I wrestled with whether I needed it since I had not bought any all season. Yet the price was too good to pass up. “Maybe it will come in handy”, I thought as I placed it in my cart (buggy). I’m always proud of a good “find”, this particular deal was 70% off.
I paid for my things and promptly placed the large plastic jug in my car trunk. My wife hates clutter, and my trunk always had something that seemed to roll around that I didn’t need. Maybe today though I could appease her with my bargain hunting prowess. “Who knows”, I thought to myself, “We may need it sometime.” The rock salt only sat in the car trunk for about a week. It was then the miracle occurred.
Pastoring three churches miles apart from each other meant a lot of road to cover. We had finished our morning service at one church and was now eating our sandwiches as we drove quickly to our afternoon service 65 miles away. The ride this day was beautiful. Hints of Spring was in the air. Though the roads earlier in the day had been covered in black ice, thankfully by afternoon, the sun had warmed the roads and it was smooth sailing….that is until now.
Traveling our mountain road, we came to a curve where it had been carved out of rock ledges. The sides were tall. The sun hadn’t had a chance to remain long on the road to cast its warmth. The shadows had created a surface as slick as petroleum jelly. Driving at 60 miles per hour we entered the carved canyon on a curve. As we rounded the bend, without warning we met certain disaster. Ahead of us, a car had met the same ice patch as we with disastrous results. Why the police officers had not stationed anyone at the beginning of the curve was beyond me. A mere 100 yards ahead of us, an ambulance crew was loading up the victims of this car wreck. As I stepped on the brakes, I learned instantly, ice had made them useless.
It’s customary when you face a life or death situation to have a myriad amount of things running through your mind. I could have thought of my short life and how close I was to buying the farm. I could of had thoughts of innocent lives being wiped out in the ambulance, or even us. But oddly that’s not what went through my mind. I’m sorry to say that my first thoughts were, “Holy Mackerel, my insurance rates are now going to skyrocket.” Setting that selfish thought aside, I now had a split second to make up my mind what I was going to do. Seeing the panic in the eyes of the ambulance crew as I careened towards them, I had a choice. Hit them and their occupants, or turn sharply down a snow-covered embankment and risk going off a ledge and hitting a house.
I chose to take my chances with the embankment. As the car lurched over the hill, we traveled about 50 feet before we stopped suddenly in the snow; it was deeper than we thought. It was then I remembered my bargain container of rock salt. With no chance to calm my shaky legs, I popped the trunk, jumped out of the car, and ran back up the hill to the road. Quickly I began a wide sweep of spreading the rock salt. It was none to soon. Coming around the corner just as I was finishing dumping the contents, a tractor trailer rig at a high rate of speed came around the bend. He too saw the same thing I had, an ambulance being loaded. He slammed on his brakes and I watched as he started to skid. That is until he came to the patch of rock salt I had just spread. His tires catching the salt, he came to a stop a mere 50 yards from impact.
I missed church that afternoon, but it didn’t matter to me. I received my blessing for the day and then some. God spoke to me in the most dramatic way. He became both my Rock and Rock Salt of my salvation. That plastic container sure was a bargain.