Car troubles and the providence of God - Jason Smith

It's strange how things work out sometimes.

As I write this, I am about 18 hours removed from my latest car snafu. Something told me I would be tested when I woke up that morning, but, honestly, I didn't expect it to have anything to do with my automobile.

I was wrong.

I was on my way home from work, around 6 p.m. I had a slightly shorter day than normal, and I was on the home stretch, so I figured I was in the clear to relax in my recliner for the evening.

That's when it happened. I began to hear an unsettling, rattling sound in my car, and saw my "check engine" light was on. I then realized my temperature gauge was registering squarely on the "H," as in "hot."

My car died at a flashing red light in front of me. My house was less than five miles away, but I wasn't going to make it there.

Fortunately, the intersection I was approaching had gas stations on both sides. When the driver behind me discovered my plight, he asked if I needed him to push my car into one of the gas stations, which I gladly accepted.

I didn't even get to thank him after I pulled into a parking space, as he was already gone.

I don't even know what he looks like.

I then called my wife to let her know, yet again, that I was having car issues. She and her best friend bought some automobile coolant, and a couple of other car-care items, and met me at the gas station.

A few minutes later, I saw an old, familiar face -- a long-time friend who happens to be a mechanic. He was filling up his truck at the gas station, and saw we were having trouble, so he came over to my vehicle to take a look.

It was then that he told me the news I was dreading to hear. The car wasn't going anywhere. We would have to get it towed to our regular mechanic.

I talked with my friend a little while longer before calling for a tow truck. It was great to see him, despite the circumstances. I even learned he knows our mechanic, and used to work with him.

At any rate, my wife waited for the tow truck to arrive, and her friend gave me a ride to my house.

As car troubles go, my latest episode could have been much worse. I could have left work much later, or been stranded nowhere near a gas station, and I would not have run into my long-time friend.

My wife and her friend -- who were preparing for a night out when I called them -- could have been on the other side of town, unable to get to me quickly.

I still don't know how much it will cost to fix my car, but I suspect it will be expensive. While I am not overjoyed about the idea, I cannot help being thankful.

I am grateful for the kindness of a faceless stranger, for the actions of a giving and loving wife and for my knowledgeable mechanic friend.

Most of all, I am thankful for the providence of God, for placing these people in my life.

I don't know if God was truly testing me or not, and I don't know if I passed the test. All I know for sure is, I left my episode more convinced of His presence, than before.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.