CLANK, WHIR, RATTLE, SCREECH. The noises came from the right front side of the car as I braked slowly behind a turning vehicle. We looked at each other. “That didn’t sound good,” Katie said.
“No, it did not,” I replied.
We were on a country road heading home, which was approximately thirty-five miles away, when the noises occurred. We were out in the middle of nowhere and not sure what to do. After the vehicle ahead of us turned, I gradually accelerated till I was traveling at a moderate pace. The noises faded and then disappeared as we continued to drive toward home. I turned the flashers on for good measure. Then……THUNK.
We looked at each other, again. Katie spoke first, “It sounded like you just hit something.”
“I know,” I said, glancing in my rear view mirror, “but I don’t see anything.”
No sooner had the words left my lips when the dashboard lit up red. VOLT. CHECK CHARGE SYSTEM. I pulled off the road and came to a stop. If left the car idling; I was afraid to turn off. Removing the manual from the glove compartment, I flipped through the pages looking for the meaning of the warning lights. After finding them, I discovered they were not much help.
Since the temperature light was still in the middle of the gauge when we stopped, I decided to drive on toward the little town five miles ahead. Within seconds after pulling back onto the road, the temperature light flung to the right registering ‘Hot’. Flashers blinking and driving slow, we inched forward. As I guided the car along the road, the steering wheel turned hard. I realized that the power steering was gone. If only we could make it to the town ahead, there was a car garage on the corner of the intersection. Hopefully it would be open, and someone would be able to help us figure out what was happening.
After a few tense minutes of driving – thankfully the road was not curvy, but a straight shot – we made it safely to the car garage. We were discouraged, however, to find it closed. After making a few phone calls, Katie’s father-in-law told us to check under the hood. From our description of what happened, he suspected the culprit was the serpentine belt. Peering under the hood, we found what looked like a black snake curled up laying in the bottom of the motor carriage. The belt had melted into and came to rest wedged between some parts. Katie confirmed to her father-in-law that his suspicion was correct. Realizing we would not be able to drive any further, Katie asked if someone could come pick us up.
It was a bright sunny afternoon; a warm spring day. It felt wonderful to be outside. While we waited, we decided to walk to the police station to inform them we would be leaving the car at the service garage. We crossed the street, opened the door to the police station, and stepped into a small waiting area. A couple of chairs set next to a large plate glass window that overlooked the sidewalk on the outside. At the far left, on the opposite wall, was a light brown door which we suspected led to the back of the station. The door looked to be locked. A red phone hung on the wall next to the door. A sticker on the phone read, “Pick up the receiver, and you will immediately be connected.”
I lifted the receiver. “Hello? Hello?” No one answered.
I rapped loudly on the wooden door that separated the waiting area from the back. Knock, knock, knock. No one came. “Ok,” I thought, “What do we do now?”
Next door to the police station was a liquor store. We walked next door and went inside. The kind elderly gentleman behind the counter informed us that the police station was not always manned. I explained our dilemma, and he told us if he saw an officer, he would pass on the information.
We left the liquor store and headed back to the car. Just as we reached the street corner where we would cross, a police car pulled up to a stop. I waved to the officer. He rolled down his window, and I told him about the car. He recommended that we turn off the flashers before we headed home. This would save the battery. We thanked him and crossed the street walking toward the car.
“Do you think he heard us?” Katie asked. “What are the chances he would pull up at this exact moment?”
“No, Katie, that was God! I think He was watching over for us,” I exclaimed. I started listing the blessings. “It did not happen when Mom was with us. It did not happen when we were in the city having lunch. It did not happen while we were on the busy highway driving back to Mom’s. After the belt broke, we were able to drive to the next town and pull into a car garage. Even though the garage wasn’t open, it was a perfect place to leave the car. The policeman pulled up at just the right time. And, we were able to get a ride home. If we were going to have car trouble, everything fell into place just right. We couldn’t have asked for things to go any more perfectly.”
We reached the car and waited for our ride. Passing the time, we chatted about the events. I sat in awe at God’s timing and how He guided the situation. Within ten minutes our ride had arrived, and we were safely on our way home. Since then, I have thanked God several times for the blessings He sent our way.
“The Lord will guide you always;” (Isaiah 58:11, NIV)