"If you ever down on the Gulf Coast, and meet folks who are the true believers, consider yourself blessed. If they say they will pray for you, stand by."
I tell this story not with trepidation - I tell it with the conviction of joy. I have written about this more than once. The spiritual nature of the south - in particular, Pensacola. The believers in Pensacola are not occasional church goers - they live their faith on their sleeves each and every day. And the churches down there? Seems like there is one on every street. The vast majority of them are Bible believing, spread the Gospel type churches. That is the kind we go to while visiting down there.
Some know this, some do not. About two weeks ago, I came down with "something". It laid me a bit low, but we kept on doing our sightseeing. A week ago, my wife said to me, "You are not getting better. Your cough is worse, and you have a fever." She was right. I had taken a turn for the worse. In the morning we went to an avian exhibit and was feeling "just okay". By the time we got back to the condo, I was feeling like death.
We went to the closest urgent care, and I found out I had pneumonia. The have me some anti-bacterial pills and sent me back to the condo. Rest, lots of fluids, and so forth. We made up our minds that once my fever broke and I feeling a bit better, we would "pull the plug" and head home. Monday afternoon I was feeling a bit better, but still had a fever. I told my wife that through "hell and high water" we were leaving on Tuesday morning. Why? Additional complication. She became ill also.
When she contacted the rental agency and told them we were leaving early and why, her answer was typical for down there, and atypical for here. "Don't worry about it folks. We will take care of things. I will pray for your safe arrival at home." Her daughter, who managed the cleaning part of the operation, parroted what her Mother said, "I also, will pray for their safe arrival".
Long story short. Come Tuesday morning at zero dark thirty, I felt poorly. Getting the truck packed up about spent me. But - we left anyhow. Through tons of truck traffic, torrential rain and then devil wind as we got closer to home, I drove my truck. The prayers from Pensacola were guiding our trip and I could almost feel hands other than mine on the steering wheel.
What am I saying? For three days, still in the grips of pneumonia, I drove through weather and heavy traffic. God was my co-pilot. He guided us home. Are we that special? No more than anyone else. But God continues to have plans for us. No matter our age or circumstances.
If you ever down on the Gulf Coast, and meet folks who are the true believers, consider yourself blessed. If they say they will pray for you, stand by. This is not like someone saying "good luck". This is the real deal. Need more? Go on my blog and read the "Miracles of Pensacola" from 1969 and 1971. Best part - they are true.