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"I need Dad's help," our eighteen-year-old son, Ben, said when he called. "My truck broke down, and I can't figure out why it won't start. I'm stranded at the mall."
Loren, a mechanic by trade, could have fixed the truck with no trouble. However, Ben had taken a job working a leather booth during the Christmas season in a mall five hours from home and a state away.
Loren drilled Ben on the noises the truck made before it broke down, but no way could he diagnose the problem over the phone. Loren didn't have time to drive to Oregon and rescue Ben before he had to be to work Monday morning. Like any normal parents whose son is working away from home for the first time, we panicked.
We imagined what the problem could be. "If he's blown a head gasket, that would explain the steam," Loren said. "What if he needs an engine?" I added. "We don't have money for that and neither does he." We fueled each others fears until we convinced ourselves Ben didn't just need an engine but a whole new truck.
Like an out-of-control semi careening down a mountain road, our imaginations raced. That is, until finally, one of us caught hold of a rational thought and brought a screeching halt to our worry.
"Why don't we pray?"
We stopped our self-inflicted chaos. Loren took my hand and together we prayed, "Lord, our son's in trouble. Please bring someone to help him fix his truck."
As we prayed, God's peace calmed our churning thoughts. In the quiet the Lord whispered to my heart, "He's my son too." I paused when God revealed this truth to me. Ben did belong to the Lord. The Father knew exactly where Ben was and the situation he faced. He knew Ben hadn't received a pay check yet and how many dollars he had tucked in his thin wallet.
Before Ben even called, before we got all tangled up with worry, before we prayed, God had already arranged the solution. "Why didn't we pray first?" I said to Loren.
Two hours later Ben called, "Guess what?" he said. "This guy came out of the mall and when he saw the hood up on my truck, he stopped to ask if I needed any help. He's a mechanic and knew exactly what was wrong. He drove me to the auto parts store and I bought a water pump. Then he drove us back to the mall, installed the pump, and had me run the engine to make sure it worked before he left. He wouldn't even take any money for his labor."
After Ben hung up I remembered Matthew 6:8 (NKJV) which says, "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
That holiday season when Ben found himself stranded proved to be one of many situations where he needed help and due to circumstances or distance his problem too big for his dad and me. But that Christmas we learned, Ben is not alone, for he's God's son too.
© 2011 Kathleen Kohler