It was really just a piece of junk… but it was my piece of junk. I knew it needed care and would require some work (understatement!) down the road, (pun intended…) but it wasn’t as far down the road as I’d hoped. A few short weeks after I got it the engine blew, or gave out I should say.
The two toned short bed Ford four-wheel drive was jacked up with big tires, toolbox, and, of course, the definition of cool in those days; a gun rack. It wasn’t so cool sitting broken down, but there’s nothing like having your back against the wall to find motivation and a good deal on a used engine.
Sure the other old engine had over one hundred thousand miles on it, but it still ran and if I pulled it out of the old motor home myself the guy would sell it to me even cheaper! Things were looking up… Of course there were problems, there always are… The engine came out of an older year motor home and the motor mounts didn’t work… You know you’re in trouble when the holes don’t line up…
After tickets for pulling a trailer in the fast lane, a hard way to learn the difference between California laws and Arizona laws, a speeding ticket in my uncle’s borrowed Jeep, a couple of homemade hillbilly makeshift motor mounts, some cut and spliced wires that didn’t match, and some more makeshift linkage extensions and I was a travelin’ man.
Although lighter in my already light wallet, I was King of the Road… at least that’s how I felt. Road jester is probably closer to reality. We make do with what we have. It’s amazing what we can get by with when forced to.
A hope and a prayer isn’t just an adage and folklore. In those days, even lacking real wisdom and understanding of God, I definitely sent up a prayer for my old makeshift truck with severely worn tires as me and my sole mechanical pal headed for Texas in search of work, which in those days was quite scarce.
I sent up another prayer toward the heavens when I headed back to the Arizona/California border empty-handed and close to empty pockets with Houston in my rearview mirror. I still remember vividly the sinking feeling in my stomach watching the sun begin its retreat as I veered toward the off-ramp coasting to a stop… Broken down somewhere around the Texas/New Mexico border.
Funny I didn’t even yell, cuss, or hit the big ole steering wheel, which would have all been acceptable to me at the time. The blessings sometimes are being as prepared as possible for the event and equipped enough to have even a little confidence in a required skill… even if not intended… Years of driving cars and trucks that needed to be worked on and no money to have someone else do it, goes a long way in that type of scenario.
I had enough knowledge to know the engine wasn’t blown and one possibility could be the firing – or lack thereof… Without gauges to reset the old points inside the distributor cap, I used an old matchbook cover to guess… Sure enough, after a half an hour I was a successful shade tree mechanic again, with dirty hands on the ole wheel and back on the road chasing the burnt whiskey sky westward toward Arizona.
I’ve come to believe God does more than just miracles… He prepares His people for specific purposes and sometimes that means less than desirable circumstances for us to live through in order to be prepared for difficult times, but more importantly to face those times with little fear of the world and a big time trust in Him and His sovereignty.
When we’re having difficult times, there is a purpose… Whatever it is, we can be assured we’ll be ready…