“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
This scripture recently came to mind while I was replacing the alternator on our Honda Odyssey minivan, strange as that may sound. I really enjoy working on our cars, and it (usually) makes me feel good to make a repair, save money and have a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. Here’s the story…
It was a Saturday afternoon, and all was going pretty well when I got to the part of reattaching the wires to the back side of alternator as it’s sitting in place on the engine. It was a bit of a tight fit and I was using my fingers to get a small nut and washer tightened down that holds the wires in place. As I was trying to turn the nut with my finger, the nut and washer both fell down either onto the motor, or into the radiator, or onto the inside of the front bumper. I couldn’t tell where they fell and couldn’t see them at all. I looked with a flashlight, fished for them with a magnet and felt in every crevice and crease I could fit my hands into… no luck. They were nowhere to be found.
Of course the car won’t run without these wires hooked up to the alternator. It was getting late and I was getting tired and frustrated. I knew it was time to stop for the night, but I needed to get the van fixed so I could drive it to work on Monday. Tomorrow was Sunday, and as I was going to sleep I was trying to figure out how I was going to find that stupid little nut and washer! I didn’t want to miss church, but I might need to if I wanted to make sure I got the car repair done.
So… I prayed and made a deal with God (I know, I shouldn’t be making deals with God… He will hold you to it!). The deal was if He helped me find the nut and washer in the morning before church, I would go. If I couldn’t find it, I’d have to go try and chase down another nut and washer so I could finish fixing the van.
Next morning, I went back out in the garage, crawled under the van (again) to look (again!) for the missing nut and washer. The flashlight was no help, I couldn’t see them. I reached around and felt for them everywhere that I thought they might be and found nothing. As I was lying there on my back under the van looking up at the motor, I felt the Lord say to me, “put your hand up on top of the air conditioning compressor and feel for them”. I thought this was kind of silly since I’d already looked there from above and even used the magnet to try and locate them the day before. So with an attitude of “Nevertheless Lord, at thy word…”(Luke 5:5), I reached up and blindly began feeling around and sure enough, I felt something, and with a little push and pull with my fingers, down fell the missing washer, then the nut!
I was obviously very happy… and a bit humbled, but felt the Lord clearly say to my heart at that point, “Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there”. Wow, that struck me and made me think about faith (and Hebrews 11:1). God’s at work all the time, even though we don’t necessarily see it. We just have to have hope in Him, even though we don’t see things happening, often times, especially when we don’t see things happening. God can even use a car repair to get the message through to me! (And yes I went to church, and yes I got the car fixed that afternoon J ).