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God and Winston: a lesson in patience

My wife Cheryl’s old (1997) Suzuki Sidekick has more miles on it that the average Canadian goose flies in a lifetime. It has been a pain to drive for several years. It’s major problem is not idling well and dying when she slows down significantly or stops at a red light or stop sign. It got to the point that it was dying 5 to 10 times each day.

She loves that old vehicle (named it Winston) and does not want to part with it. However, I have prayed often for the means to get her another vehicle. I was really discouraged when there was no solution after several weeks of praying. This Saturday morning when I was praying I had the thought that I should try to repair it.

Now I have tried before, but that Japanese motor is an anomaly. It is not anything like the old American cars I grew up working on. I took it to a mechanic a couple of times. Although he regularly works on imports, he could not figure out how to make Winston run smoothly and idle properly. An online search of forums revealed that I might need to replace an expensive module.

But this Saturday I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to tackle the project again. So I bought some new spark plugs and went to work. First, I removed some plates and tubes so that I could reach what I thought were spark plugs. They were on the side of the block, but when I had removed all the bolts and screws and pulled on the wires, they turned out to be tubes for the fuel injection system.

I eventually discovered that the spark plugs were deep under the valve cover on top of the engine. I had to go buy a special locking extension to reach them and get the socket off after replacing each one.

However when I started to put all the tubes and plates back on, I noticed a idle screw. What a surprise! The mechanic and I had looked in vain for that adjustment, but it was hidden under a plate.

The good news is when I got finished and we took Winston for a test drive, he did not die one time. Furthermore, his tiny 1.6 engine had more pep (think relevance here, turtle to turtle) than before.

So what’s the lesson here? What did I learn from not having my prayers answered with a different, newer and more efficient vehicle? The truth is that I’m still mulling over the situation to glean all that I can from it. However, I am certain of one thing.

The answer to our praying does not always come as a supernatural explosion in our lives. Sometimes we get the net so full of fish that it breaks. That is being overwhelmed by a blessing. However, other times we get a little cake under a broom tree. That is being subtly imbued with a blessing. The point is that not all answers to our prayers manifest as miracles, but as maintenance. We wish for a new car and get the old one repaired.

It is a principle that applies to our spiritual lives as well. Sometimes we pray for new beginnings, a new revelation, new direction, a new position, et cetera. But what we get is a refreshing and everything else remains the same. God knows what we need and does not always give us what we want.

That means that sometime our praying is prying. We are subliminally attempting to pry open God’s storehouse as a child trying to pry the lid off the cookie jar. We want that cookie when we need something more healthy.

How can repairing rather than replacing old Winston be more healthy? Well, that is what I am still mulling over. One possibility is that Winston may need to last us long enough for the right time and opportunity to arrive to get us the right replacement. We could have pushed the issue, went in debt to get something better, and suffered the consequences. But when God does something and we surrender to His timing and wait on His provision, it has no suffering attached.

It is a lesson we may have to learn repeatedly before we graduate from this life. The benefits spill over into other applications of the lesson. I’m grateful for that answer and accept it as God’s will. I’m also grateful for a reinvigorated Winston.

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. – Proverbs 10:22 

1 Comment

  1. Thinking of my mother who drives an ’86 around town, I believe getting the old comfortable car working well *is* the asked-for miracle from your wife’s perspective.

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