“With God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
A woman commuting to work to Chicago from Wisconsin began to experience car trouble smack dab in the middle of the express lanes during the morning rush hour. Her car would stop running and she’d pull off to the side of the road and pray, “Dear God, please let my car start again!” She sat quietly as the traffic whizzed by her idle car. She turned the key, and it began. She pulled back onto the freeway and within minutes found herself in the same exact situation. This happened a number of times, until eventually the car refused to start again.
As she sat in the middle of speeding cars trying to avoid her, a city tow truck came and rescued her, towing her car to an off-site accident report area. The city tow truck could take her no further, and she found herself abandoned. Lo and behold, a tow truck driver was conveniently lingering around, waiting for the kill. He offered to take her anywhere she needed to go. She contemplated taking the car back to Wisconsin, or to a repair shop. A nearby repair shop seemed most logical and economical.
For a mere three mile drive, the driver charged her $214. Ironically, she had the exact amount in her purse from her tips the previous day at work, which she usually always counted and put away after a long day of work on the boats. But that left her with nothing. No money to pay the mechanic, and no money to get the car home.
The mechanic came back and informed her that they could only temporarily fix the car, and it would probably get her back to Wisconsin. Since he saw that the tow truck driver took all her money, he didn’t charge her for the repair.
Her husband and eldest son drove down and picked her up at the repair shop. By this time it had began to rain, and I don’t mean just rain, I mean downpour summer storm! Only ten miles away from the shop, the car broke down again. They were able to get it started again, but only long enough to get it off the freeway and into a gas station parking lot. They had no choice but to leave it there. Her son went into the station and told the attendant the situation, in which he approved, and they left the car behind and headed back home.
In the meantime, her mother had called a local tow truck company that was willing to drive all the way to Chicago and back for only $85, which her mother paid. The woman was so steamed and angry. She began to raise her fist at God, feeling betrayed and ignored. She sobbed all the way home.
Later in the afternoon, after the tow truck had delivered her car, there was a knock on their front door. It was her mother-in-law, who she hadn’t talked to in several weeks due to a fallout between them, standing in the rainstorm with an envelope in her hand. She came in from the rain and began to tell her daughter-in-law: “I hope you won’t be offended by what I’m about to do, but I was just sitting at home and I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I had to go to the bank and give you this money. I questioned it and wondered if I had enough to give you. I hope that it’s enough for whatever you need, because it was all I had in my account. I don’t know if you really need it, but I felt God told me that not only did I have to give it to you, but I had to bring it to you NOW! ” Because it was at the very moment when the woman was on the verge of calling it quits with God. While it wasn’t just the car, it was everything that had happened leading up to the car breaking down. Life. Life in general breaking down. And she no longer felt God was listening or that He cared.
When the woman opened the envelope, there was $214. The exact amount the tow truck driver had charged her. I’d like to say that it was at that moment when she bowed down and humbled herself, realizing God was indeed answering her prayers, but it took several days for her to finally put all the pieces together: the city tow truck driver, her tip money in her purse, the free repair, her family coming to help her, her mother paying for the next tow truck, the gas station attendant allowing her to keep the car there, the money her mother-in-law had given her, and a few weeks later her insurance company reimbursed her for the $85 her mother paid for the other tow truck.
God did answer her prayers. It just wasn’t how she wanted them answered. She soon realized that cars break down, children get colic, and mothers get cancer. And ironically, while she was in a spiritual and literal storm, God was in her midst. God was taking care of her. And while days afterwards she had packed away all her Bibles and Christian CDs in distress, the experience was one that eventually strengthened her faith and her belief that God does answer prayers, but very rarely in the ways we want them answered.
Our prayers are usually answered in forms like these, so that God can show off His immense glory and love. So that stories will be told that miracles still happen. Had God fixed the car, no one would have believed it was merely God. But the exact amount of money in her purse and an envelope, and her mother-in-law’s testimony of being led by the Spirit, shows much more power and concern! Oh, how He loves us…
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