Yesterday was Mardi Gras in our town. The last parade was scheduled for 6:30p.m. But we had a schedule of our own.
Once a quarter, on the second Tuesday of the month, we help with a service at an area women's shelter downtown, beginning at 6:00 p.m. During Mardi Gras, this is not in conflict with any parade route, because we can go in from back streets and avoid the barricades and crowds even if a parade is in progress.
Every second Tuesday of the month, however, we also provide music for the men's Rescue Mission, also downtown, but across town. This meeting begins at 6:30p.m. Once a quarter, these meetings fall back-to-back and we leave one and head straight to another. We always find it a blessing to leave a room full of singing women to go to a room full of singing men.
It only presents a challenge on those years when the quarter for the women's meeting also falls on the night of Mardi Gras. There is no way we can attend the meeting on one side of downtown and traverse barricaded streets --with a parade in progress -- to the other side of downtown, in time to begin the other meeting.
Knowing this is what would happen this week, we began praying about the situation several nights ago. We needed a sure route through a crowded city, or a new route, or some way to make our way to the second meeting.
Monday came with 90% forecast for rain throughout the day and indeed it rained all day. The rain continued Tuesday as well, but even though it rained most of the day, parades continued to roll. I thought that the 6:30p.m. parade, the only parade we were concerned about, would surely not be cancelled if all the others had not.
We headed to our first meeting with the intention of finishing there and trying our best to get to the second. Our experience in the past has been that most of the roads giving access to that street have been barricaded and blocked.
When we reached the major north-south thoroughfare of downtown, it was open. The barricades were there, but the streets were not blocked with them. In fact, someone at the previous meeting had told us the last parade of the day had been canceled. The odd thing is, by this time, it wasn't even raining! As we started down this main thoroughfare, an ambulance pulled out in front of us, with lights and siren on, but moving slowly. He was in front of us for most of our path. It was as if we made a parade of two vehicles, as if we had our own escort to our second meeting. We not only arrived on time, we were actually a little early!
It is amazing how often in our lives, we ask the Lord to work out details, we "cast all our cares upon Him" and then we seem to be surprised to see Him do exactly what we have asked Him to do.
"Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling His word:"