Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Desperate Prayer

"Where, on a July holiday weekend, on a late Sunday near dusk, on an almost deserted highway by a bridge in upper Michigan are we going to find a mechanic?" I asked my disappointed family.

Greg, our 10-year-old fisherman, kicking at some loose gravel, asked, "Does this mean we won't get to go fishing?"

"Of course not," my wife assured him.

Our family was approaching Mackinac Island Bridge on a vacation to Canada. Our 1968 Pontiac station wagon was loaded with tent, camping and fishing gear, luggage, and three young children. We had traveled for six hours, and we became excited about crossing the huge bridge. Well, the Pontiac got excited, too. Too excited, to be exact. We heard a rattling noise, so I pulled onto the shoulder. Now a mechanic, I ain't. But, with such reassuring confidence, I popped the hood (I'd seen other disabled motorists do that), and lost the car in bellows and bellows of steam.

My six-year-old said, "Look, Dad, the car's going to the bathroom."

"Well," I said, "it looks like we're losing water."

"Then let's ask God for a man to fix it, ok?" he said; then added, "We gotta pray. NOW."

We held hands, bowed our heads, asked for help, and thanked God in advance for his answer. We had barely lifted our heads when a motorist pulled up and asked if we needed help. (Did we need help or is Lake Michigan a big pool of water?) He looked it over and said the water pump was bad. I saw Greg's face drop.

But then he said some words that sounded like angels from heaven: "I know a mechanic who may pull himself away from a holiday barbecue to help you. Hop in."

My family said they'd continue to pray as I sped away with our good Samaritan. Within an hour the mechanic and I pulled up behind our wagon.

As he grabbed his toolbox, along with a water pump, he said some exciting words: "We'll have you rolling before dark."

As we sat around a campfire the next night, we read Isaiah 65:24:

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear."

And we all agreed that was exactly what God did. We discussed how a difficulty helps us to experience a specific promise from God.

Greg said he was more convinced now that God is a fisherman at heart because he got to fish all week for crappies and bass. Don shared that he wanted to help people as the motorist and mechanic had helped us. Our family knew that prayer was not a spare tire thing, for Jesus taught in Luke 18:1 that "We should always pray and not give up" in all circumstances, not just emergency ones.

And our little Brett was not to be outdone, so he wanted us to remember that God knows about everything, especially about cars that don't run right.

Later, my oldest son Don asked if all the things that had happened on that 95+degree day were a mere coincidence, or if God had really answered our "desperate prayer?"

I told him I never doubted that God heard our cry for help.

"Me neither," he said, "me, neither."

I went on to reassure him that "When we pray," but before I could finish, my youngest son inserted, "God jumps."

I thought for a while, and then replied, "Yeah, you're so right, God jumps."

Heavenly Father, keep that childlike faith alive and jumping in this father's heart. Amen.

Copyright © D. Leon Pippin Ph.D., used with permission.

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