Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, June 05, 2006

1960 Pontiac
(A well-preserved model, not the original mentioned in the story)
(Part 3)
God used camp to demonstrate his miraculous power. We were returning from camp in cars: one driven by the Pastor, one by the youth leader, and one by a responsible high school senior. I rode in this last car -- a 1960 Pontiac, and a gas guzzler if ever there was one. At 9 PM we became separated from the others in traffic leaving camp and didn't have a map because we expected to follow the Pastor's car home.
Traveling to our home town from camp required a three-hour journey with many twists and turns, all on unmarked secondary roads through the hills of northern Missouri. At midnight, I realized we were nowhere close to home. In fact, we were nowhere that I recognized at all. Quietly, from the back seat, I asked the driver if he knew where we were, hoping not to wake the three other girls in the car.
"No," he replied. "I keep thinking I'll find a station or a store that's open, but so far, nothing. Do you recognize anything?"
"I think we may be driving in circles. I'm pretty sure I've seen that house before," I replied, nodding toward a farmhouse set back off the road.
About then a couple of other girls awakened, "Are we lost?"
"What will we do," one girl began to cry.
Buddy and I tried to reassure them. Eventually, the car was calm again.
This was the 1960's and we were teenagers. There would have been no warm welcome if we had awakened some hill farmer who probably had no phone anyway, and most assuredly had a loaded shotgun in working order. We kept driving hoping eventually to arrive at some spot we recognized: a town with a name, or a police station, a lake, a state park, anything that would give a point of reference.
About 2 AM, I noticed another problem brewing. Buddy's gas gauge was sitting firmly on "E". Over the next three hours, I watched the needle as it lay solidly past the empty indicator moving not at all. Silently I prayed, "Oh, God. Get us home safely before we run out of gas."
Soon a warm glow of light on the Eastern horizon served as a compass to guide us home. With the dawning light on our left, we were able to head South. A couple of hours later, the old Pontiac topped the hill above our hometown. Never was the panorama of that little town so beautiful to my eyes.
With a well-lit gas station in sight, I asked Buddy, "How accurate is your gas gauge?"
"Right on," he replied. "When it says empty, it stops running."
"Did you know the needle has been on "E" for the last three hours?" I asked.
"Sure did," he answered, "Were you praying as hard as I was?"
"Fervently," I responded. "But I didn't want to scare the other girls so I kept quiet, hoping they wouldn't notice."
"We must have had an angel pushing us along," he responded. "This car won't move an inch once the needle hits "E"."
With that miracle God clearly showed me he has my well-being in mind. What dangers lurked in those dark hills and deserted roads that night, I'll never know. I have learned that I can't always discern God's motives. Whether he simply wanted to demonstrate His miraculous power, wanted to spare us from some situation, or had another motive entirely is irrelevant. I learned that God is able. He is powerful. His miracles are not reserved for those with fancy robes, fabulous oratorical abilities, learned titles, or world-wide ministries. He sometimes chooses to demonstrate his power to the weak and helpless, even a lost carload of teenagers.

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