Miracle at the DMV


Yesterday we went on a little “adventure” at the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles. I volunteered to go along with Elaine as she attempted to straighten out her CDL license paperwork which was mysteriously “not in the system” even though it was mailed on time. I don’t think anyone should have to go to the DMV alone, so I went along for the ride. Well, actually I went along for the “wait.” As it turns out, the computer system goes down quite regularly there, especially on Mondays and Fridays, which would explain why her paperwork was somewhere floating around in cyber-space.

We walked down a little hallway into the “CDL” section which was a little room filled with plastic chairs which had seen better days. They needed a good scrubbing with bleach which they had never seen, and there were odd marks on the walls. The line was already forming but there were a few chairs left so we took the two available and settled in for the wait. About 20 minutes in, they announced that the “system was down” and it could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 6 hours.

They offered to hand out some slips whereby we could go to breakfast and come back, assuring our place in line but we opted to stay for the long haul and I began praying that the system would come up sooner rather than later. Well, I should say most of the time I was praying, some of the time I was commiserating along with everyone else. We got a little ticket that said we were number 25. The little display screen that showed the number being served was miserably dead. We waited for a flicker of life.

Meanwhile the poor lady that was behind the counter (I wouldn’t have wanted that job for all the tea in China) was displaying an enormous amount of fortitude and goodwill. Not to mention patience. We sat and played Trivia and Words with Friends back and forth and I in turn observed, as I always do, the people around me. It never fails. There’s always one in the room who isn’t clear and doesn’t listen to the announcements. And there is always at least one who constantly questions the whole entire system.

As I looked around, I thought, these are working people who just want to do their jobs. None of them were being paid to be there and probably most of them couldn’t afford to be off work for the day. But there we all were in earthly purgatory, helpless and at the mercy of the SYSTEM. The guy sitting in front of us was alternately looking at scantily clad women on his phone. The other guy, mister “stand up and sit back down” was reading a book called, “I hope they have beer in Hell.” I wanted to tell him I was almost positive they didn’t and that he most assuredly didn’t want to go there even if they did.

As I looked around, I found myself thinking, each life here is precious to God. None of us looked like anything close to miraculous but as we live and breathe we are. I wanted to stand up and tell them all that Jesus loved them. From the one speaking in broken English, to the one who looked like he just crawled out of bed, and the one wearing the T-shirt that said, “Beer is proof that God loves us.” And everyone in between, even me.

Then, to make things even more bizarre, they made another announcement that it had started to rain and that, “Due to the rain, there will be no road driving tests.” What?? Don’t people drive in the rain? We all looked at each other with a sense of bewilderment. If that were the case in other states, such as Oregon or Washington, then nobody would ever be granted a driving license.

I leaned toward Elaine and whispered, “At least this time there is no pesticide guy.” No joke, last time we went to the Apache Junction DMV a guy came in with one of those pesticide tanks on his back and proceeded to spray the entire room, including and around people’s feet where they were standing at booths taking the written driving tests! The bizarre thing was, no one paid much attention as the smell wafted around us.”

After about an hour, a miracle occurred and the system blinked to life. They made the announcement and the display screen flickered to life. It said now serving “1.” Number one went back into another room and we didn’t hear anything else for an hour. Then they started calling more numbers. They skipped a bunch, and finally they called Elaine up, gave her a gold stamp of approval and said three magic words, “You’re all set.” Apparently, once the system came back up it found her in it. And no payment was needed to have it reinstated. (Miracle number two.)

We thanked the lady profusely for how she handled the customers, and the situation at hand and she beamed in gratitude.

Everyone waiting seemed to be happy for us, all those nylon short clad, dirty Levi, greasy haired clan of men collectively clapped and cheered when Elaine announced, “Since we are all friends now I guess I can leave.” I gave the victory sign, smiled and said, “Good luck.”

And peace be with you……….

What’s your sign?


I had not planned on getting any cash back at the store until the Holy Spirit insisted on not letting me pass by this one. He was standing in a place where it’s not surprising to see someone holding up a sign, there are many homeless who hang out at this particular store. He stood on the corner, on the road where everyone exits and enters the shopping center.

His sign said, “A little goes a long way.” Something about it shook me and wouldn’t let me go. The Holy Spirit nudged me all the way into the store and as I ticked things off my list, He was there. And so was he. I separated a five dollar bill from the rest and as I drove out I motioned him over and handed it to him. I felt a spark of human connection as I smiled into his eyes and said, “God bless you.” Which really meant that I didn’t know what else to say.

It meant, “I’m sorry you are in this predicament whatever the cause.”

It meant, “I’m sorry it had to come to this.”

It meant, “I can’t imagine how it would be to have to stand out here with a sign.”

It meant, “Where is your mother?”

Both of us part of the human race, both of us struggling in different ways.

“Semper Fi! He said with a gap-toothed smile as I waved and drove off. And today in prayer, he was still making me cry, because really, there but for the Grace of God go any of us. I don’t know how he spent my measly five dollars and I don’t care. What matters is that I didn’t ignore the Holy Spirit when he whispered, albeit insistently.

The truth is we’re all carrying signs. The difference is most of us carry them on the inside. I wonder what would happen if we all got out and stood by that man in solidarity, each with our own signs held up right alongside his.

“Scarred by life”

“Desperate to be loved”

“Deeply in debt”


“Angry and hurting”

“Lost and alone”

Some of us have signs others have put on us that couldn’t be further than the truth. Jesus had one of those. The sign over the cross said, “The King of the Jews.” That ticked the religious people off, they wanted it to say, “He said I am King of the Jews.” What it should have said was, “Savior of the World.”

It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” John 19:19-22

What’s your sign?

Until our hearts break at what breaks God’s we might as well be acting in a play. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.

Most of the time I suck at it.

I don’t think it means we all quit our jobs and head to Africa or India, but it does mean we have to keep our hearts soft and be open to the Spirit. It’s so easy to be cynical. This world gives us plenty of reasons, and so do people. But the wonderful thing about God is that despite our failings to love each other, God still loves us enormously. He remembers we are dust.

Today, I read this through tears……..receive it with me today:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

So great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear (respect) Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

Psalm 103:1-5, 8-14

photo credit: creative commons