Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Father the Car???

In the mid 1960's there was a television show called "My Mother the Car".  The premise of the show was of a man who's dead mother was reincarnated in his family's car.  She would speak to him through the car radio.

God, my Father speaks to me through my car.  No, I don't hear His voice coming from the radio, the glove compartment, or any other part. But He routinely has used my car to remind me of His constant presence in and care for my life.

First, there was the manner in which I got this car in the first place, back in 2008.  Then there were a number of incidents during my New England vacation of 2013. There was the breakdown that happened the day before my birthday in June.  And then there was last Thursday.

About six weeks ago, I took my car in to the shop because of a strange vibration I felt in the brakes.  I was a bit anxious that it would be a large expense, but as had happened in June, the repair costs were half what I anticipated.  A good thing, too since I knew that when I would have the car inspected in December I was going to probably need two new tires.

When I picked up the car my mechanics informed me that they recommended all four tires be replaced and that two of them needed replaced immediately, they were worn down to the metal replacement indicators and dangerous to drive.  SomeDivinehow, I was able to buy four new tires. Two times the planned expense, two months earlier than I expected.

Later I looked at the mechanic's work order and noticed another strongly recommended repair. Apparently, the protective covering around all four of my brake hoses had cracked and crumbled off, exposing the vulnerable soft hoses to damage.  If they ruptured, I would be without brakes. Understand that my daily commute is 47 miles each way, primarily over interstate highways. I drive at high speeds over all sorts of road debris and roadkill.  I don't know how long I'd been driving with exposed brake hoses, but I've always been able to stop when I wanted.

I made the appointment to have the hoses replaced, along with the annual inspection, for Wednesday and someDivinehow, I was able to pay for it all.

On Thursday morning a coworker messaged me to let me know road conditions were bad, so I left twenty minutes early.  His assessment of the roads was actually an understatement! My normal fifty minute commute took ninety minutes.

That morning's commute ranks in the top five of Worst Trips Ever.  The first third of the trip the roads were icy.  The second third, the visibility was poor with high winds and blowing, drifting snow. The final third portion of the trip, it was both! Frequently I could feel the car slip and right itself.  Ice was building up on the wipers, rendering them practically useless  I frequently adjusted the wiper speeds, like playing the gears on a bike, trying to get the most effectiveness from variable speeds and hoping to dislodge the ice.

I thought of stopping and pulling over to manually clear the wipers but because of plowed snow and drifts I couldn't see the shoulder of the road and could possibly get stuck.  There was more traffic out than usual as well, so I thought it best to stay in the car and just keep moving forward, continually shifting my attentions through small clearances that would appear in different spots on the windshield.  At times, I had to lean far over to the passenger side for the only available view.

My shoulders and neck were aching from hunching over. My back was hurting from the strain of my ever shifting positions.  Stretch up, crouch down.  Lean left, lean right.  I was starting to feel real pain, not mere discomfort.

I prayed the entire trip.  Honest, white knuckle prayers, to be sure!  Like the man in the gospel of Mark -"I believe. Help my unbelief!" (and while You're at it, please keep that FedEx semi from running me off the road).  Yet, throughout the entire trip I was amazingly calm - or at least calmer than usual. I knew I had four brand new tires with sure tread, dependable brakes and only the day before, mechanics whom I trust had deemed my car safe to drive.

My faith, though was not in the reliability of my Cooper Discoverer H/Ts or in Ford Engineering.  It was in God, who'd taken care of all these things for me, before I needed them. Cooper and Ford don't know me; my needs or desires, the hairs on my head or even my hair color, for that matter.  God does, because He made me, gave me all of those needs, desires, etc.  He planned them.

Thursday's commute was frightening, I will admit.  Despite my faith, it is an imperfect faith, being perfected daily by circumstances in which God places me. And I have no desire to find myself shivering in a snow-filled ditch on I86.  But I found that trip encouraging.  I saw evidence that some of the faith exercises God has put me through have produced some muscle.

Certainly God has spoken to people from burning bushes and clouds in the sky, but for most of us he speaks through cars, stacks of laundry, full calendars, joblessness, family disputes and the like.  He speaks through our everyday lives - lives He lovingly plotted.  And what Jesus frequently says is "Will you trust Me now?"

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