Yesterday I came across a story I’m sure I’ll use soon in a sermon, for it illustrates how the Lord orchestrates even the smallest matters of life, like flat tires or broken carriages, to accomplish His purposes.
In the early 1600s, several ladies of high rank were traveling in Scotland. These women were grieved over the fact that Gospel preachers were being excluded from Scottish pulpits. As they traveled through the town of Shotts, their carriage broke down. The local minister, a Mr. Hance, saw what was happening and helped the women. He made sure a repairman was doing the needed work and he let the women stay in his manse until the repairs were finished.
It was all from the Lord. The women were sad over the dilapidated state of the house, which was in far worse shape than their carriage, and they later returned the minister’s kindness by seeing to it that the manse was replaced with a new one.
Mr. Hance made a trip to thank them for their kindness and he asked if there was anything he could do to express his gratitude.
Yes, they said. He could let one of the evangelical preachers—the powerful John Livingstone—preach in his church. Hance agreed, and the date was set for June 20, 1630. Great crowds attended and there was such excitement they decided to extend the meeting another day. Many formed themselves into little groups that prayed all night. A large crowd showed up the next day, June 21, and services were moved to the churchyard. Livingstone preached with great power for an hour and a half from Ezekiel 36:25-26 on the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin. The result: “Five hundred men and women, some from the high ranks of society, some poor wastrels and beggars, were converted where they stood, and lived from that day as those who had received a new heart and a new spirit.” The incident sparked a revival that swept over Scotland.
All because of a broken carriage and a bit of hospitality.
PS – This account is given by John Shearer in his book Old Time Revivals: How the Fire of God Spread in Days Not Past and Gone, a 1927 book republished by Christian Heritage Publishing.