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Tammy Real-McKeighan

, Spiritual Spinach

My pal, Lynda Cole, and I have some interesting little adventures.

The other night we went to see the movie, “God Bless the Broken Road.” It’s a show about a young woman whose husband dies in Afghanistan.

Two years later, we see the woman struggling to make ends meet and raise her daughter. She’s not only lost the love of her life — she’s lost her faith and needs help.

It’s a really good movie and Lynda and I enjoyed it. After the show, we walked outside.

We were in the parking lot when Lynda noticed something.

Straight ahead of us was a car. To the right of the car, a shirtless young man was lying on the pavement.

I started running toward the man.

“My friend’s a nurse!” I hollered, noticing Lynda right alongside me.

Another young man got out of the car.

He smiled as we hurried up and quickly explained. He and his buddy had gone to a local restaurant where his pal decided to drink some hot sauce.

As the kid spoke, my brain sauntered back to my teen years when I slowly chewed a jalapeno pepper on a dare — for a dollar.

I got that dollar.

Now I wasn’t sure, but I figured these young men were probably in their teens.

And I wondered if the young guy who was just getting up off the pavement had consumed that hot sauce as part of a dare — right before he took off his shirt and got sick in the parking lot.

He wouldn’t be the first teen to do something like that.

The kid appeared to be all right so after some friendly conversation with his buddy, Lynda and I walked back to our cars.

Realizing I may have been a little too quick to volunteer Lynda’s nursing skills, I laughed and told her that I was her Public Relations person.

She gave me a big smile, but brought up a good point.

“You have to be careful,” she said.

And she’s right.

This situation was harmless, but we could have run into a very intoxicated person or someone having drug-induced hallucinations.

And that could have been dangerous.

We’re not immune to hazards in this world.

I remember how my late husband, Chuck, used to scare me when he’d stop for people stranded in their cars by the side of the road.

I’d always recall a story my aunt told me about a guy who stopped to help someone and was killed.

My worries never stopped Chuck, who said if something did happen — at least he’d have died knowing he was trying to help somebody.

Nothing like that ever happened. As it turned out, Chuck was in an accident and by the grace of God someone eventually saw him and stopped to help.

Despite our fears, I think many of us want to be Good Samaritans.

Jesus talks about one in the Bible.

He begins by telling a story about a man who is robbed, beaten and left for dead.

A priest and a Levite pass by without helping him. Then a Samaritan — a man from a group of despised people — stops. He bandages the man’s wounds. He puts the man on his own donkey and takes him to an inn where he cares for him.

The next day, the Samaritan gives the innkeeper some money and tells him to take care of the man. The Samaritan says he’ll return and pay the innkeeper if any more money is owed.

Was this a real-life story or just one Jesus told as an example?

I don’t know.

But if it was — can’t you see how our Lord would have loved this Samaritan?

Why?

Because he was like Jesus.

I’m not saying the Samaritan was perfect, but he was showing Christ-likeness by helping his fellow man.

And I’ve come to see that God is the ultimate Good Samaritan.

He stops when nobody else does. He bandages our wounds and in so many ways he picks up the innkeeper’s tab.

I’m living, breathing and walking proof of that. After Chuck’s terrible accident, I saw God cover the bills — pick up that innkeeper’s tab — in ways that were absolutely miraculous.

Since Chuck’s death, the Lord has so tenderly cared for my wounded heart, bringing healing and restoration.

I don’t know if I’ve always passed the Good Samaritan test in my life, but I want to do the best I can.

That said, my buddy Lynda is correct.

We must be cautious — in so many areas of life.

That’s why I’ve been praying for God to guide and protect me — kind of like he did the Israelites when they were crossing the desert on the way to the Promised Land.

We find this Bible story in the Old Testament. Please let me very briefly retell it.

After God has Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt — where they’d been slaves for 400 years — the Lord goes ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night.

The Israelites haven’t been gone too long, when the Pharaoh decides to bring them back. So he heads out with his army and 600 of his chosen chariots — and all the other chariots of Egypt.

Those Israelites become trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. The situation looks hopeless.

But God has a plan.

He moves that pillar in between the Israelites and the Egyptians — keeping them from coming near each other all night long.

It’s incredible, supernatural protection for the Israelites.

Next, God parts the Red Sea and the Israelites pass through on dry ground. When the Egyptians try to follow, God flows the water over the top of them and they drown.

The Lord will lead the Israelites through the desert by the protective pillar of cloud and fire.

I’ve been praying for God to lead me like that pillar of cloud and fire.

Obviously, I’m not expecting for a big cloud and fire to give me a guided tour of Fremont — but I believe God can still protect and direct us in amazing and powerful ways.

He directs us via the Bible — his written guidance manual.

I can’t count all the times I’ve read a passage of Scripture and the words all but jumped off the page — and I knew God was speaking to me.

Besides the Scriptures, we have the Holy Spirit — which as Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer describes — works through the microphone that is our conscience to guide us.

Like many other Christians, I’ve sensed a gently spoken word from the Holy Spirit telling me to trust God in a tough situation — or telling me not to do something.

I trust God who sees the future that I do not — to guide and protect me as I rely on him. I trust him to give me wisdom and insight when I need it.

Does that mean I’ll never fall into danger or get hurt?

No, but I trust God to get me through those times one way or the other.

In the meantime, I’ll probably keep having little adventures with my friends.

But don’t expect me to chew slowly on a jalapeno pepper anytime soon.

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Tammy Real-McKeighan is a reporter with the Fremont Tribune. She writes a weekly spiritual column.

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