The story you are about to read is true. Only the names of certain individuals have been withheld in order to protect their dignity, pride, identities, and all that stuff.
Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I am the most mechanically inept person that God ever created. It’s not something I’m proud of. In fact, if I could shed that identity I’d like to. I want my boys to be able to learn how to fix a lawnmower, repair their own bikes, work on the car, build cabinets, and remodel a home.
So, today, I took a step. It wasn’t a huge step, but it was a step. My wife’s brakes had been squeeking, and a friend told her that he could show me how to replace the brake pads in our van. Excited about this opportunity to replace my ineptitude with competence, I took my friend up on his offer. I stopped by Checker Auto Parts yesterday, picked up some brake pads, and this morning at 9:10 arrived at the door of my friend’s home, ready to take on the challenge of replacing our brake pads.
The job started out well. A hub cap was removed, then a tire, then the housing for our brakes, then the brake pads. I opened my box of brand spankin’ new brake pads and handed my friend two of the pads. He quickly and skillfully put one of them on, showing me how it was done, and then I put on the next. Within a few minutes the tire was back on and we were replacing the brake pads on the other side.
It was then that what was our only real mistake was revealed. Brake pads have an idicator that tells you when your pads are wearing too thin and that you should replace them. Every set of two should have one pad with an indicator and one without. This side had two with, which meant that the other side didn’t have any. After a couple minutes of trying to convince ourselves that it really wasn’t that important, we did the prudent thing and went back to the side that we had already changed. My friend removed the hubcap, removed the tire, removed the housing, and then we took off one of the brake pads, replacing it with the correct brake pad.
Now with the correct brake pads on both sides of the van, our job was nearly complete. We put the tires back on, and I was ready to roll.
Something about this job seemed wrong to me. It had been too easy. We had only made one mistake. I should have known that it couldn’t be this easy. I had jokingly told my two youngest kids, before we arrived at my friends home that, “If Daddy and (NAME WITHHELD FOR HIS PROTECTION) didn’t do this job correctly we’d all die.” I know. Not the best thing to tell a six-year-old and a four-year-old, but hey, I like the dramatic.
It was now time to drive away. Husband, Father, Pastort, Car Mechanic. I was ready to add a new title to my repetoire. As I put my boys in the car, Jeremy said, “Zachary, we’re all going to die if Daddy didn’t do this job right.”
“Jeremy, Daddy and (NAME WITHHELD) did it just fine. We’re not going to die.”
Engine roars to life.
Shift into reverse.
This is where the story gets a little bit scary. If your stomach gets queezy, stop reading now.
My friends driveway is a little bit like the streets of San Francisco. It’s steep. And that is an understatement.
We begin our descent. My foot covers the brake pad. My foot pushes the brake pad. My foot goes down to the floor. My van does not slow down. I PANICK!!!!
Praise God there were no children or cars coming.
My van was not stopping. What had we done wrong? What was I going to do.
My van is now moving at a good clip, and I can’t stop it. I try to steer to avoid trees as the van now begins to descend the hill of the home opposite of my friends home. I was halfway up their hill, with no signs up stopping, predicting that my van was about to become a pendulum swinging back and forth between my friends driveway and his neighbor’s yard. Finally I remembered the emergency brake. I hit it. And our van stopped. I then put the van in neutral, coasted back into the street and walked straight to my friend’s door.
(NAME WITHHELD)! It didn’t work!
With soothing calmness he remembered what we had not done. We needed to pump the brake a few times to make sure that the pressure was back into the brakes.
No big deal. No one hurt. And, a great story.
Isn’t it great to know that we never have to worry about our Heavenly Father ever screwing up a job? He is infallible. I know, it’s one of those traits that sometimes bothers us about God. It makes Him tough to relate to. But, maybe that’s part of the point. I wouldn’t really want a God who makes mistakes. And, I don’t want a God who I can totally relate to like I would one of my best friends. There has to be some mystery about the Holy One! It’s what makes Him God.
God, thanks for Your protection today. You didn’t have to grant that. Thanks for good friends who are willing to help keep repair bills low. Thanks for your unfailing love. And thanks for reminding me that You are perfect and I am not. And, I don’t have to be. Thanks for loving me just the way that I am, but not be content to leave me this way. You just might make a mechanic out of me yet.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.