“Where on a July weekend, on Sunday near dusk, on an almost deserted highway in upper Michigan are we going to find a mechanic?” I asked my disappointed family.”
My 10-year-old fisherman Greg asked, “Does that mean we won’t get to go fishing?” “Of course not,” my wife assured him.
We were approaching Mackinac Bridge on a family vacation to Canada. Our 1968 Pontiac station wagon, loaded with camping and fishing gear, had developed a rattling noise. I pulled onto the shoulder and 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 son 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,” Greg said and 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. He said the water pump was bad. 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. Hop in.”
My family continued to pray as I sped away with our Good Samaritan. Within an hour, the mechanic and I pulled up behind our wagon. He grabbed his toolbox and a water pump. “We’ll have you rolling before dark.”
As we sat around the campfire that 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. Greg said he was more convinced now than ever that God was a fisherman by heart because he got to fish all week. Don shared that he wanted to help people as the motorist and mechanic 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, not to be outdone, wanted us to remember that “God knows about everything, ’especially about cars that don’t run.”
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.
I went on to reassure him that “when we pray,” but before I could finish, Brett inserted, “God jumps!”
I thought for awhile. “Yeah, you’re so right, son. God jumps!”
Heavenly Father, keep that childish faith alive and jumping in this father’s heart. Amen.