Thursday, July 12, 2012

Car Troubles and Answered Prayer

I'm not someone who has had lots of moments when I can say "That was an answered prayer." Maybe I'm just not very observant, or maybe I just don't pray for big things that only God can do. But last week, I totally had a prayer answered in a big way.

Tuesday night I was scheduled to run the lighting for Deeper, our Tuesday night service at church. It was insanely hot, so I was ready to sweat it out on the drive there and then sit in air conditioning for a few hours. As I was driving, my radio started to turn on and off, and I thought maybe it was so hot that it was affecting the electronics. Then I realized that my turn signals weren't working, and that's kind of a problem. I made it to the stop light that's one block from our building, and my car died. Nothing happened when I tried to turn the key.

I immediately called my friend Mia. I thought she might already be at the OC, but even if she wasn't, she's told me in the past that if I ever break down she has a big network of people. Mia and her dad Bob pulled up to my car, and we managed to use jumper cables to get my car going long enough to pull into the church parking lot. My car died again as I was coasting into the parking space.

When Mia asked me what I wanted to do next, I just said "I don't know." After an hour of sitting outside stuck with my car, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I went inside to see if Andrea had been able to find someone else to run lighting. They had it covered, and Andrea and Josh said they'd help any way they could. Andrea suggested that she take me home and I get some sleep, waiting to deal with the problem until the next morning. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea, so she drove me home.

After I got home, I let myself cry. I was super focused and fairly calm while everything was happening because I knew that getting upset in that moment wouldn't do any good. I knew that as long as I let my emotions out later that night that it was OK to stuff them down temporarily. I spent some time reading the passage in Matthew where Jesus talks about God providing for even the birds, and how much more valuable we are than the birds. I did my best to stay calm and just trust that God would provice, and then I posted on my church's Facebook group wall asking if anyone was able to help me get my car fixed. A few hours later, a guy I'd never met posted his contact info saying he might be able to help.

Wednesday afternoon I called Cory, and he seemed pretty confident that he'd be able to help. He's not a mechanic, but he knows a fair amount about cars. He said he could look at my car while I was at work on Thursday since he didn't have to work until Friday, and he even offered to come to my office to pick up the keys. I was able to leave a key for him Wednesday night, and Thursday I waited with anticipation to hear if he thought he'd be able to fix it. At about 4pm, I got a phone call saying my car was fixed and I was all set. Cory and his brother even drove my car to my office and dropped it off for me. My car had a new alternator and a new battery, and Cory didn't want me to pay for anything other than the cost of the parts.

I was so blessed that a stranger would go to such lengths to help me out. It made me a little sad thinking of all the people who are without a community like the one I have at Substance. I was pretty excited to tell everyone what an answer to prayer my fixed car was. I thought about how God answered my prayer by using a person with a skill who was willing to be used. I think sometimes people have the idea that you have to have an amazing spiritual gift to really bless someone, but I think sometimes it's the practical skills that can bless someone the most. Yes, I loved the friends who prayed for me, but it was a guy with some tools who came through in the end.

I wanted to write this post to share about my excitement for this blessing, but also to remind myself that God is faithful. Just last night I was on my way somewhere and the pipe to my muffler broke. After I walked to Target to buy a coat hanger to rig it so the pipe wouldn't drag on the group, I was on the ground getting dirty in the parking lot of Caribou when the other end of the pipe broke off. In that moment I was so frustrated, so stressed out, but I wanted to trust that God would take care of my needs. Once again I did my best to stay calm and deal with the situation at hand. I got in touch with an uncle of mine who's a mechanic, and I got the go-ahead to drive (it wouldn't damage my car, just be insanely loud). I'm thankful that I was able to drive to and from work today, and that I'll be able to drive to my apartment showings tomorrow. Yes, it's a little embarrassing to have such a ghetto-sounding car, but I just try to remember that it is OK that I don't have a plan. It's OK that I don't know when I'll be able to afford to fix the pipe or get a new, more reliable car. If God never changes, and his promises are true, then the promise he made to take care of me still applies.