Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. –Hebrews 13:2
The pastor of the church where I was the minister of music called. “Bob,” he said, “Dr. Dale Oldham, speaker for The Christian Brotherhood Hour radio broadcast, and his son Doug are coming to our church to hold a one-week meeting.
“Doug is in charge of the music and has asked that you play the piano for the services. He has also asked The Singing Servants musical group to be featured guests each evening. Would you please contact Dean Schield, the director, and coordinate that end of things?”
As pianist of The Singing Servants, I called Dean and we got together to work out the arrangements we wanted to use, as well as rehearsal times and locations.
We met at his home in Pomona, and Dean said, “Bob, let’s put an arrangement of Dr. Oldham’s song ‘Let Me See Jesus Only’ together and sing it one night. He’s about to retire and I think this would be a wonderful way of honoring him.”
I was at the church early on Monday evening to practice with Doug, as well as with The Singing Servants. He pulled out a handful of Bill and Gloria Gaither’s latest songs in Bill’s handwriting, and we practiced their latest compositions.
The night we presented “Let Me See Jesus Only,” Dr. Oldham had tears in his eyes. He had written the song many years before at a time when he was besieged with many distractions and disruptions. As is true of so many gospel songs, his was no exception. Dr. Oldham gave the world a wonderful song that continues to this day to inspire many to focus upon the person of Jesus.
As the series of services was winding down to a close, Doug told me on Saturday evening that we needed to meet thirty minutes early the next morning to go over the music. I assured him I would be there.
The next morning, as our family started to load into my little VW Beetle, my wife looked down to see our oldest daughter climbing into the car barefooted.
“Where are your shoes?” Carolyn demanded, remembering that she had helped her put them on.
“I don’t know,” Debbie responded.
They went back in the house and twenty minutes later, Carolyn found them under the sofa.
I was not a happy camper. I had made a promise to Doug, and there was no way I could keep it.
As I pulled onto the Garden Grove freeway, I was driving somewhere between 70 and 75 miles per hour.
I looked in my rearview mirror to see a flashing blue light directly behind me.
I pulled over to a stop as a state trooper walked up to the car window.
“Good morning,” he said. “Sir, as I saw you drive by, it was obvious to me that you and this beautiful family were on your way to church.
“I must tell you that I have seen a number of VW Beetles piled up with dead bodies splattered all over the road. In every case, the cause was speed.
“Please, sir, for the sake of your beautiful family, slow down and make certain you are keeping your speed at 65 or lower. Have a good day and safe travel.” With that, he walked away; no ticket, no written warning.
Doug and I made it through the service just fine, and later that afternoon we returned home.
I remembered my earlier conversation with the police officer, so I was driving at 55 miles per hour in the slow lane.
Almost exactly across the freeway from where the officer had stopped me that morning, my left front tire blew out. At the lower speed, I was able to keep things under control, pull to the shoulder, change the tire and return home safely.
Could that highway patrolman have been my guardian angel?
We will never know this side of eternity. But I must say, even these many years later, “Thank you, sir, for stopping and warning me. I salute you!”
A personal note: I will be performing pre-conference piano arrangements Saturday, February 23, 2019, from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Oregon Christian Writers Winter Conference at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.
My book, The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, will be available at the bookstore, and I will be available to autograph it from 4 to 4:30 p.m.
Carie Stuart Parks, internationally known author and forensic artist, will be the keynote speaker. For further information, go to the Oregon Christian Writers website.