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Sunday, August 7, 2011

God is even the God of Timing Belts

     Last year, when I was doing some work for the government.  I was assigned some rural areas of our region, where I was to follow up on previous contacts made by other people in the Department.  One of these days, I drove to an area about 70 miles away.  It was accessible via the freeway first, and then a short 3 mile drive down a small country road.
     The day was very normal, and the drive both scenic and pleasant.  I got to my location, did what I had to do, and then went back to my vehicle to head on home before the sun had fully set.  There was nothing else on my mind at the time, but what we might do when I got home being that I wouldn't be out as late as I had previously thought.
     I got in the car, put my keys in the ignition, and that's when I heard a most unwelcome sound.  Located off a country road,downhill about 500 yards, on a hidden driveway, the car simply whined and wouldn't start.  My heart sank.
     I tried several times, yet to no avail, something was wrong.  I prayed several times, as I would continue to turn the key.  I even took the route of talking to God, telling Him how based upon my nearly hidden location in an ever darkening valley, this "wasn't funny,it was serious!".  I was kind of wanting Him to wave some kind of magic wand, and instantly solve my predicament.  It never came.  So I resorted to calling my insurance company to have them tow my vehicle to our local automotive dealership 70 miles way.  I knew that the mechanics there had both specific experience with my car, and the overall general experience to diagnose and solve the problem.
     The young tow truck driver arrived about an hour later.  I had to literally, verbally guide he and the telephone dispatcher to my location; given that street signs were few,it was now completely dark, and the landmarks once being the best way of finding me here were now obscured.  I was quietly praying in the Spirit the whole time in this most unusual situation.  The dark ride home in the tow truck was not pleasant, as I mentally tried to calculate just how much this might cost?  I knew from the sound of the whine that it was going to be expensive.  After we left the car overnight at the Service Dept of the auto dealership, I had to simply go home and wait for the call the next day to see just what we were up against.
     When we got up that morning we put out the word on our Church's prayer chain to ask others to intervene with prayer for help in our car problem.  I got an early call from Bobby the head mechanic at the dealership.  I explained in detail what had happened the night before, and he said that they would check it out.  It wasn't until late that day that I got a call back.  Bobby then went on to explain to me the not so good news.  He said that the timing belt had come off in pieces.  That my particular vehicle had a low threshold of tolerance, simply meaning that it wouldn't take much to cause major problems to the engine.  The timing belt being a big key in that equation, meant there was the possibility that on the extreme end based on the car's mileage I would be needing a new vehicle.
     My heart literally sank.  It was hard enough to save for repairs on an very aging vehicle, let alone go out and get a new one in our current economic times.  I flat up told him, " I can't get a new vehicle, Bobby.  Can you try to see what it would take to repair it?"  He said " Yes sir, whatever you want.  It would initially cost $ 500 to do the diagnosis, etc., because he had to examine the engine.  That would be the starting point   "He went on to tell me that IF everything looks OK, that would be it.  BUT, in his experience that is the exception and not the rule.  He said, " the belt would have had to literally come off the moment that you turned the car on, for that to happen", any other scenario would add additional engine damage. He was straight forward, and honest.  I told him, "Bobby, I have my church praying because I only have so much set aside to repair this car, can you do the $ 500 deal, and we see what happens".  He again advised me that IF it was a bigger problem that he would have to add the 500 to the total cost, of any additional repairs. It would be a gamble that I could lose.   Yet,  I  told him that I had no other options, and that I had my Church praying for me.   I could hear it in his voice, I was sounding to him like some sort of a loon.  But, he did know me from other times, when we had to use his services.   So, he acquiesced, even though his voice said that I was wrong.
     It would be two days later when I got a call back from Bobby.  I picked up the phone.  Seeing from caller ID who it was, my heart was in panting mode.  " Mr. Scott, you must have a praying church behind you" came the booming voice.   " Why?" I asked.   He went on to state, " when we opened up the engine, everything was perfect, looked as if nothing was wrong, we can only think that the belt must have broke the moment you started the engine or just prior to you coming to a stop."  I let out a huge sigh of relief, and obviously a not so silent, "Praise the Lord", to which Bobby, a non believer then chimed, "yes, praise the Lord".   It's already to be picked up.  We cleaned the engine for you too,  and with a discount it will be just under  the $500 I had quoted you a couple of days ago.
       I got a quick ride down to the Dealership to pick up the car.  Words cannot describe the look that was on both Bobby and his chief mechanics face when I walked in the door to get the keys and pay the bill.  He had a grin a mile wide.  It looked as if it was his car that had gotten saved by God.  I will never forget it as long as I live.  I guess it was simply that they had both gotten to share in some of God's amazing grace , and had been able to see the power of prayer at work.  As I took the keys from his hand, I half jokingly said to him, " I told you that I had people praying for me", to which he replied, "Amen".  There was nothing else to be said.  He put his hand on my shoulder and walked me out to the car.  All the time, shaking his head, smiling, and happily saying," You know I have really never seen a situation turn out this way".  He shook my hand, and walked back to his office still shaking his head.
     That day I was reminded of how God provided for the Hebrew children during their journey in the Wilderness.  The Bible says that their shoes, clothes, etc didn't wear out, for get this, forty years.   He was the God of renewing their resources.  I believe that the Word also reassures us that he never changes.  So with that being said, I know that He is able to be my provider, and ...the God of renewing engines and timing belts.


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