By Andy Wimberly

My wife Christy and I went to the Ole Miss vs. Florida basketball game in Oxford last month. It was our first time in over a year. We were excited! We spent the day with good friends, Linda and Dick Glaze, and then headed to the 5 p.m. game.

We found a great parking spot on Fraternity Row and headed to Tad Smith Coliseum. We were excited! Somehow we had the perfect seats, were close to the action, and enjoyed a very close and exciting game. Ole Miss won by one point in the final seconds! We were excited!

We took our time leaving the arena and getting back to the car to start our trip back to Madison. As we approached our car, I noticed the lights were on. As we got even closer, we thought we could hear something strange. We did hear something strange—I had left the car running! It was locked, but running—for nearly three hours!

I told of this adventure to several of my friends, and of course, they got their chance to chide and poke about getting older, senility, and on and on.

Hal Miller, Jr., is a close friend of mine and we talk several times each week, so of course I told him of my “car running” episode. Hal has been a bit under the weather the last couple of years, but no matter how much he hurts physically, his mind is still as sharp as ever.

Fast-forward to the following Wednesday. Christy and I are at home watching the Ole Miss vs. Miss State game. State is leading by 13 points pretty late in the game.

I get a voice mail message from Hal and this is what it said, word for word:

“Emergency! Ole Miss playing Miss State. We’re behind and it’s late in the game! Everyone go now and start your car engines and don’t turn them off until the end of the game! It worked against Florida and it will work against Mississippi State!” 

Some folks just have that inner strength, that little something extra; no matter how bad they are feeling, they muster up the energy to provide a lift to others. That is exactly what Hal Miller did that night for Christy and me. We are still laughing about his voicemail.

What about you and me? When we’ve had a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year, what is our attitude and outlook? Complaining? Or encouraging? Feeling sorry for ourselves? Or thinking about how to help a friend or neighbor?

In the Bible, Jesus said that we can expect some tough times in life, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Did you ever notice that Jesus never complained or felt sorry for Himself? He was constantly encouraging, teaching, and lifting people up. He gave us the perfect example of what to do when life gets tough—and I believe that my good friend, Hal Miller, Jr., got his message and is living that to the fullest. I wish I could do that like Hal does!

I need to close now so that I can go fill up my car with gas—I’ve got to keep my tank full for the next Ole Miss Basketball game!