Dorothy sat scribbling at her kitchen table, trying hard to compose an appropriate slogan for a sign hanging over the self-service gas station. Dorothy and her husband Fred had started working in the gas station a week ago, pulling their trailer to Greenwood. The job seemed simple enough, just sitting at a drive-up window, taking money from customers.
With their children grown, Dorothy and Fred travelled to different places. Sometimes, they settled for a while and took jobs, and this was one of those times.
There were already a lighted advertising sign on top of the building, but Dorothy’s new boss had told her she could replace the message with anything she liked. “I had heard that this chain of gas stations was frequently robbed,” Dorothy said, “so I was thinking about a safety-related slogan.” She tried several ideas, then inspiration struck.
“What do you think of this?” she asked Fred.
Fred studied her scrawl: God is Our Security Guard – Always on the Job. “That says it pretty well,” he told her. The next day, they spelled it out on the lighted board.
The sign was impressive, but it seemed to have little or no effect on anyone. Few customers commented on it.
After five months, Dorothy and Fred moved on, they resigned and took off in a trailer.
Thirteen years later, they met a young couple Janet and Larry in a church in Gainesville. The four got along well, and when Dorothy and Fred had health problems, Janet and Larry proved to be a blessing: running errands, providing an occasional meal, and just being there. “I don’t know what we would have done without you,” Dorothy told Larry more than once. She was growing quite fond of this kind, clean-cut young man.
One evening Dorothy invited Janet and Larry over for dinner. The four sat around the table, talking leisurely. Dorothy and Fred were surprised to hear that Larry had grown up in Greenwood.
“Why, we worked there once,” Dorothy began. Had they ever met Larry? She started to ask him, but having begun to talk about himself, Larry couldn’t stop.
“I’ve had a pretty rough past,” Larry went on, pent-up words suddenly tumbling out. At 16, he’d become involved with the wrong crowd and had spent a year in reform school. After his release, he’d wanted to start over again, but because of his records, he couldn’t find a job.
“One night,” Larry continued, “I decided to rob a gas station for money to leave home.” There was a self-service station nearby, so he stole his father’s gun and car, and just before closing time, he drove up to rob the woman sitting at the window.
But before pulling his gun, he glanced at the roof of the building. There had always been a sign there, but someone just recently changed the words. “When I read the message,” Larry said, “I knew I couldn’t rob that place – or do anything else illegal.” He went home, prayed all night and begged God to help him straighten out his life.
Dorothy and Fred looked at each other. “What did the sign say, Larry?” Dorothy asked gently.
“I’ve never forgotten those words,” Larry assured her. “It said, ‘God is Our Security Guard – Always on the Job’. And He is, Dorothy. He guarded me from danger that night, and He has ever since.”
Dorothy’s heart lifted. Her small act of faith had brought a lost child safely back to God’s side.