Many years ago one of my mentors told me a story I have never forgotten. A missionary was home on furlough, traveling by car from church to church. Late one rainy evening, facing a long and lonely all-night journey, he asked the Lord to help him stay awake and make it safely to the next place he would minister.
A few minutes later he came upon a man off to the side, thumbing a ride. Although he rarely picked up hitchhikers, he felt sorry for the man out in the rain and offered him a lift. As the two of them began to visit, the missionary was thrilled to discover that the stranger was a believer and that they also had many mutual friends engaged in the Lord’s work.
Time passed rapidly as the two of them laughed and shared stories. The fellowship was so rich that the missionary hated to see the early light of dawn and hear his new-found friend say, “Well, here’s where I get off.” Before saying good-bye, the missionary invited him to have a cup of coffee at a roadside cafe. As they parted, they promised to pray for each other.
The rain had stopped by now, and a bright sun-drenched sky warmed the missionary’s soul. Then, a couple of minutes down the road, he realized that he had failed to get the man’s address and phone number, so he quickly returned to the cafe. There was no sign of the man. When he asked the cook if he’d seen which way the other fella had gone, he was shocked to hear him respond, “What other fella? You came in here alone . . . I wondered why you ordered two cups of coffee.”
The missionary glanced at the table where the two had sat and noticed that the other cup was still full to the brim . . . and the coffee was cold.
As he returned to his car, another surprising realization came to his mind. He remembered that when he had picked up the hitchhiker in the rain the night before, the man had gotten in the car but he wasn’t wet!