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BLACK CLOUD AHEAD

By Jack Applebaum

Three of us were returning from another one of Waugh’s major bike show events. 

I had led the ride down to Waugh’s Harley Davidson Dealership in Orange, Va.  We hung out, and I can’t say anything particularly notable happened.  Yes, we had our back patches on, and, yes, we were prepared to minister to those in need.  No opportunities seemed to occur.

After a few hours, Karl was ready to head back as was I and another CMA’er.  Since I had led the ride down, I was more than happy to let Karl serve as Road Captain for the trip back.  The sky was clear, and it seemed to be another one of those good days for riding.  We had no worries, minimal traffic, and clear “sailing”, until one particular bend in the highway that turned us northward.

As the tree line cleared out of the way and as we could see farther ahead, two things were directly before us – a red stoplight and a huge black cloud.  Both were just hanging there.  We stopped, and, while waiting at the light, Karl looked over to me and asked if we’d like to pull over and put on some rain gear.  “Follow me” I said as I quickly took a right at the light to get off of Route 29 and head down a side road to a safe place to park. 

Only after executing the right turn did I suddenly realize where I was (my people got lost in a desert some time ago…), and we rode about a quarter mile to a quaint country store.  I figured we could get something to drink, some munchies, and, if necessary, find shelter should that black cloud decide to hit us with a deluge.

As we approached the small parking lot for the store, we saw another bike already parked which, given the impending conditions, made sense to me.  God had other plans, of course.

After we dismounted, a man exited the store with a case of beer, looked at us, and said something to the effect of “CMA, huh?  It figures God would find me.”  As he dumped the cans of beer into his side saddle (the shape of the case wouldn’t fit), he began to open up to us about his current situation.  He had hit a crisis in his marriage, and his “plan” was something to the effect of going home, drinking beer, and trying to figure out what he would do next.

Over the next several minutes – fifteen at most – we encouraged him, prayed with him, and suggested that he go to his pastor to seek help and counseling.  He thanked the three of us, said that we made sense, and acknowledged that God must have sent us to him.

We had our rain gear on and were content – no sodas and no munchies.  We decided to head out and power through that black cloud, if necessary.  There was no wind, maybe a slight breeze at best.  As we left the back road and entered on to Route 29, we cleared the trees and looked north.  No cloud.  No cloud in any direction.  No cloud near any horizon.  No cloud at all.

God had given us a stop light backed up with something more substantial than the force of human law.  God had us take a “right on red” and go where He wanted us.  For all bikers out there at any Rally, Festival, Poker Run, or general meeting, the CMA has a saying – “We’re here if you need us.” 

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him… and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:6

IHS,  Jack

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