Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The concept of “following the crowd” seems to come in for a lot of flack these days, which is ironic in a democracy.

Following the crowd can be very useful. It gets you out of having to think for yourself.

I volunteered to teach English to a group of Asian children recetnly. That’s right – I am actively encouraging them to follow the crowd. More communication. More opportunities. More life.

At 7:45am last Saturday morning I therefore got up, had breakfast, went to the bus stop, fished out my Bible, and started to read while I waited.

No bus came, but gradually a group of people amassed behind me. Again, following the crowd, I knew this was a good sign. They obviously got this bus regularly. On my own, I might have panicked, but by following the crowd I knew that all was well.

I turned the pages of my Bible. The group behind me continued chatting. No bus came.

Time passed, but the group patience I was witnessing sustained me.

Half an hour passed. The one and only thing that was wrong here was the absence of a bus. In fact, the continued absence of any bus in either direction. Although there was no point, I turned around to look at these people for the first time.

Behind me, they had set up a kebab stall.

So, there really had been no point in rushing breakfast.

A small lightbulb came on in my memory. It was Saturday the 26th of November. It was the day of Howick’s Christmas Parade. So all the buses had been diverted. All morning. All day.

I looked at my mobile – I had 7 minutes to get to school.

It was all turning into a nightmare, complete with giant Santa.

But I had every confidence that God would somehow get me there on time, even though he had rather rashly only left himself 7 minutes in which to do it.

“Oh, hello.”

Russell! From the youth hostel. A whole hour away, setting up a kebab stall right behind me.

Russell is a man of few words, and yet here he was pointing out where I could get a cab from. I thanked him, and headed off, to find a completely empty abandoned minicab. Of course, that would have been just too easy.

Returning to the bus stop, I got out my mobile and told Russell that I was going to phone for one. Then one of his friends overheard, explained that she knew the cab driver, and identified him to me in a crowd at another stall.

So I strolled up to him, told him where I wanted to go, and mere minutes later was walking into my lesson bang on 9 o’clock, after a reduced cab fare.

But the thing that I was really grateful for was my mellow state of mind. I hadn’t even once supposed that God might not come through for me. This wasn’t my doing. God had taught me again and again and again now that he could easily win.

Teaching English tonight


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