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God in Work Clothes

By Pastor Casey Higgins

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5

I was selling papers on the streets in hopes that eventually the newspaper company would give me a regular paper route near my home. Being in the fifth grade and knowing I needed a job to help pay for some of my clothes and personal expenses was a big part of the motivation that caused me to ride my bike every weekday after school to the downtown business area where I'd pick up an arm load of newspapers and start walking the city sidewalks hawking the days news. Learning from the other news boys, I soon developed a regular clientele in various shops, bars, and businesses.

This particular day I eventually worked my way into a rather rundown and ghetto like area, hoping to sell the remaining papers I still had. Suddenly a man stepped out of an alley and demanded I come with him.

Immediately I felt scared and apprehensive. I asked if he wanted a newspaper, but he just grunted a negative response and again demanded that I follow him into the alley.

I turned away and started back up the street the direction I'd come from hoping he wouldn't follow me, but he did.

Now, really scared, I considered running but realized that I'd never outrun him trying to carry all the papers I still had in my arms.

Breathing a desperate prayer for help I quickened my pace and searched for someone or place I might find for help.

Then just ahead of me at a street corner, there was a piece of equipment with a mechanic working on it. It was one of those roller / packers that is used to flatten and compress asphalt. Thinking back on it later I have no idea why it would have been there except by God's intervention. There was no construction being done in that area, and I couldn't recall seeing it there just moments before when I'd crossed that intersection.

But in the panic of my mind, none of those thoughts were present at the time. I only saw that mechanic as a possible helper. I hurried towards him and shouted as I approached the roller, "Sir, do you want a newspaper?"

The mechanic backed away from the part he was working on, looked at me, and said the obvious, "No thanks, I'm busy now."

Meanwhile I was trying to keep him between my pursuer and myself. Perhaps he caught on to what was happening for he turned his attention to the man who was following me and demanded what he was there for.

In those moments when he was questioning that man, I made my escape and dashed away up the street and back towards the newspaper office.

I have always felt that somehow God provided my way of escape and that the mechanic was perhaps a Divine presence in workingman's clothing for just that moment of need.