[ Miracles ]
The Little Engine That Could
(with God's Help)
The little engine that could (with God's help)
My wife, Colleen, our youngest daughter, Rachel, and I were going on holiday. A couple of days before we were due to go, I felt uneasy about the car, so I laid hands on the bonnet (hood) and prayed for it - that it would take us safely on our holiday, no accidents, etc.
The next day Colleen found water on the garage floor. "God, how could you..." I started to complain. Then I thought, "Wait. No. God has shown us the problem so that we can get it fixed before we go."
We took the car to the Garage for repair. No inconvenience to us. And we were not stranded somewhere. Praise God.
We set out on our holiday. We were on the motorway, climbing the Bombay Hills South of Auckland, when suddenly there was an awful sound from the front of the car and steam coming out from under the bonnet.
We could see that there just 'happened' to be an A.A. (Automobile Association) station a few hundred yards further along.
I got out to walk to the station. Did I give God an earful! "God, I am not complaining...yes, I am. I'm hopping mad. You know I am. How could you..., etc."
The A.A. man told me the engine head was probably warped with the heat. He gave me a supply of water to top up the radiator and suggested I try driving slowly home. So that is what I did.
Colleen suggested we go by the garage that fixed the car. I argued that it would be closed, as it was Sunday, but we tried it just in case. They were there!
The mechanics tested the car and said there was nothing wrong! They decided it must have been an air block. I told them we were on our way to Taupo, about 180 miles away. Would that be safe?
Why not, they said. There is nothing wrong with the car.
At that moment a voice spoke within me. "I have far more ways than you will ever dream of." Feeling very relieved, but very sheepish and much chastened, we set off again.
We began to ascend the Bombay Hills, relaxing now and looking forward to our holiday. Suddenly there was a loud continuous horn sound and there was steam coming out from the edges of the bonnet.
I noticed that the temperature gauge needle was in the red. I pulled over and stopped. We could go nowhere until the motor cooled down. I just "knew" after my earlier outburst that we could not turn back. I would have faith.
"How can we go on?" Colleen asked.
"I don't know" I replied. "Don't ask. I just know we cannot turn back."
When the motor had cooled down and we had topped up the radiator (we had brought along a supply of water, just in case), we recommenced. The same thing happened again. The wisdom of going on was again questioned and it became pretty tense in the car.
Suddenly Colleen said, "A song has just come into my mind. Do you know that song, 'The Lord Thy God in the midst of thee is mighty?'"
"Yes" I said. (It comes from Zephaniah 3:17) "Let's sing it." It seems a very strange thing to do under such circumstances, but it seemed right at the time.
We began to sing and, to our utter amazement, the temperature gauge went down to normal! Immediately.
We stopped singing in surprise and the needle went straight back up. We hastily started singing again and the needle went back down to normal. Not only that, but the temperature was normal.
We continued our journey. Eventually growing tired of that song, we sang every other song of praise we could think of. The motor behaved.
We got to Hamilton, nearly halfway to our destination, where we were picking up Colleen's cousin to come on holiday with us. Since Pat was not a Christian, we thought it might be too difficult to explain that we were using songs of praise to keep our engine from overheating (although in hindsight we ought to have).
So I said to Colleen and Rachel, "You just talk to Pat as usual and I'll take care of the 'rest'. She is used to my singing and carrying on." So I sang through our entire journey. Whistling worked, too.
After dropping Pat off on the way home a week later, we got a few miles further when suddenly the overheating occurred again. I said, "I understand, Lord. You have carried us in your strength when we had none of our own. I promise that I will not presume on your faithfulness. Please just get us home and I promise I will get the car fixed."
A cooling down period, a top-up of water and we continued safely until we reached home. What a lesson. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty indeed!"
Auckland, New Zealand