Tony Campolo – a great preacher in the northeast - tells about something that happened to him when he was fourteen. His family was very poor, and his Dad couldn’t work because he had Hodgkin's disease. The insurance was running out, and the family didn’t know how they were going to eat.
Tony figured out that he could buy unsold loaves of bread from a bakery in Philadelphia. He could buy a loaf for a nickel, and sell it for a quarter. There was the promise of a hefty profit, but there were a couple of problems: he couldn’t pick the bread up until 9 at night - and the only way he had to deliver it was by piling it on a wagon that he pulled behind his bike.
One dark, cold, rainy night about a quarter of eleven, Tony was making a delivery. He rode his bike over a pothole, there was a huge bang– and his front tire blew out. He was soaked, shivering, and scared.
"God, you're mean,” he remembers crying out loud. “Everybody else thinks you're nice. But I know you're mean. If you were nice, you'd help me."
He sat for a few minutes more – then, for reasons he never figured out, he pushed his bike and his load of bread to a service station down the street. It was closed for the night – and yet the air pump was still running.
Needless to say, the air came out of the tire as quickly as he pumped it in. Like this morning for Jesus, Tony, it seemed, was faced with a hopeless task. Then the miracle happened!
All of a sudden, Tony says, he realized the tire was hard. Somehow - and in some way he could never explain - the tire was holding air! He remembers yelling out loud, "Oh, thank you! Oh, thank you!" He made two more deliveries that night, and rode his bike three miles back home.
When he got to the front door, he heard a hissing sound- and watched with amazement as the tire quickly deflated. The miracle was over. The air was gone.
Who knows how – or why – all that happened? All Tony Campolo knows is that, for the rest of his life, he looked back on that night, and the rain and the bicycle tire, and remembered that God is real! And, like that Light shining in the darkness, for Tony, nobody can take that away.