A Prayer for My Car
My car’s name is Spencer, but those who know him well just call him Spence. Spence entered my life shortly before my 16th birthday, and in our almost ten years together we’ve had a great relationship. I give him gas, oil, and an occasional wash and wax, and he happily gets me where I need to go.
But, recently, when I took Spence in for a $20 oil change the mechanic called to inform me he had over $800 worth of repairs that needed to be done. First priority: replacing two of his tie rod ends that were about to snap.
Now, before this phone call, I had no idea what a tie rod end was. But apparently they round out the connection between the steering column and the wheels – so, basically, a pretty important element.
I told the mechanic I’d get back to him.
I made a few phone calls to determine that the price I had been quoted was fair. It was, so I decided to go ahead and make an appointment to have the repairs done.
But then I started thinking.
I know Spence. I know how he drives; I know his sounds, his noises, his quirks. Why didn’t I notice if something this major was wrong?
In my skepticism, I turned to Google. What I found was a series of forums that repeatedly said cars like Spence should not need new tie rod ends until at least 200,000 miles, a benchmark Spence is far from reaching.
So I started to fret. Was I getting ripped off? Did he really need new tie rod ends? Everyone I talked to said there should be some noise or wobbling associated with the problem, but I hadn’t noticed anything. Did the mechanic just see an uniformed girl he could make some money off of? Hadn’t I seen 20/20 specials about this kind of thing? Should I get a second opinion? When would I have time to get a second opinion, my weekly schedule is already packed? But, then again, my weekly schedule wouldn’t matter much if I didn’t have reliable transportation to get me around.
On and on my paranoia went until I was convinced I needed to sell Spence and buy a new car – and, obviously, this somehow all had to be done in the next 24 hours. Somewhere deep down I’m sure I knew I was being irrational, but at that moment I was on the brink of a breakdown over these pesky tie rod ends.
As I drove down the highway in a state of despair over my impending loss, I finally made a rational decision. I decided to pray. I didn’t know how much God cared about my car troubles, but I thought I’d give it a shot. “Lord,” I prayed, “this might seem like a little thing, but I’m pretty upset. I don’t want to get ripped off, but I also don’t want to have my tie rod end snap while I’m driving – I’ve heard that doesn’t usually bode so well for the car or its occupants. Any suggestions?”
A few minutes later I reached my destination and aligned myself for a tight squeeze into a parallel parking spot. But as I cranked Spence’s steering wheel to the right he let out the most horrendous clutching, grinding, I-don’t-even-know-how-to-describe-it-it-was-so-awful noise I’ve ever heard him make. I had seriously never heard anything like it before. I turned the wheel the other way and the same dreadful sound echoed through my ears. It sounded like he was dying.
At 8am the next morning Spence got new tie rod ends. He hasn’t made the noise sense, and I have an overwhelming sense of peace that I did not get ripped off.
Like I said, this might not seem like a big deal, but at the time it mattered to me a lot since my sanity was dangling by a thread. And if I’ve learned anything throughout the Prayer-No Worries! theme, it's that God really does want us to pray all the time, about anything (even tie rod ends!), because He does care. He cares about the little things as well as the big things because he cares about us.
So what about you? What have you learned from this theme? How has it impacted your life? How have you seen Him show up in your life in the past few months?