2: A Divine Delay

2: A Divine Delay

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

A Divine Delay

You are not just waiting in vain. There is a purpose behind every delay.

~Mandy Hale

The plan was to drive five hours from the Napa Valley to a northern coastal town for a little weekend vacation. I had invited my best friend, Paula, to take that weekend trip with me. The day before our departure, she called to say that she wouldn’t be able to make the journey because she had been asked by her boss to attend a meeting the very evening we were supposed to leave. I told her we could just pack the car and take off when her meeting was over.

I waited in the car while the meeting we assumed would take one hour stretched into three. When Paula finally came out, she only opened the car door long enough to say, “I’m so sorry.” That’s when her boss stuck his head out the door and asked her to come back in. At that point, a thought struck me: God must be delaying us for a purpose.

When Paula returned fifteen minutes later, profusely apologizing, I told her not to worry. We started out on our big adventure, but before we even reached the “Thanks for Visiting” sign at the end of town, we both decided that we should get an ice cream cone. We pulled into the last open ice cream stand and went in to order.

“Oh, I’m sorry, but we just turned off the machine! But I’ll turn it back on,” the cheery waitress said. We waited twenty minutes for that ice cream to get hard enough to put into a cone. Paula and I just looked at each other.

When we were finally back in the car and on our way, we were stopped at a train crossing . . . by a very, very long train.

“What is going on?” Paula moaned.

“God is delaying us, Paula,” I responded happily.

An hour from our destination, Paula had fallen asleep, and I was driving on the deserted freeway. Well, deserted, except for the one car in front of me in the slow lane, going very, very slow. I pulled into the passing lane, and as I passed the car, I heard it go putt, putt, putt. Then it pulled over to the side of the road.

THIS is why I delayed you, I heard. Turn around and help. I felt this so strongly that I simply obeyed without hesitation. Paula woke up while I was turning the car around and asked me what I was doing. I explained and she complained, but I was determined. I pulled up beside the broken down car.

“Do you need some help?” I shouted across Paula to the young man, now standing on the side of the road.

“Yes! I ran out of gas. I didn’t think anyone was going to come by!”

Paula crawled into the back seat, giving me “the eye” before she did. The young man sat in the passenger’s seat. We chatted and then I asked him his name.

“Andy Lane.”

Okay, that sounded familiar. “My last name is Lane, too! What’s your mom’s name?”

Puzzled, he said, “Mae.”

I took a deep gulp. “What’s your dad’s name?”


At that point, I screamed, slapped him on the back, and pulled the car over.

“I’m Stan Lane’s daughter! Our fathers are brothers!”

Because of a divorce in their family, I had last seen this cousin when he was a year old. He was now eighteen. I turned on the car light, and we looked at each other . . . yup, we were both Lanes.

We were both astonished by this encounter! It encouraged Andy, and gave him some much-needed faith that God was watching over him.

Some plans just need to be set aside for the greater one.

~Brenda M. Lane

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