57: Faith Happens

57: Faith Happens

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Faith Happens

Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer.

~Author Unknown

There was no mistaking the lopsided thump my husband, seven-year-old son and I felt as we traveled home from the mall one Saturday afternoon; we had a flat tire. This was the first long outing we had taken since recently acquiring the car from my father. My husband had wanted to stay home that day and watch sports, but I had convinced him that family time at the mall would be more entertaining.

After turning on the hazard lights, my husband guided our car safely to the side of the road. Since we were on the interstate, other vehicles seemed to zoom past us at record speeds, and I worried for my husband’s safety since he would be changing the tire so near those speeding vehicles. “What are you looking for?” I finally asked after watching him rifle frantically through the glove box.

“There is a special tool made for this particular car that I have to use for tire changing. I put it in the glove box in case we ever needed to use it,” he answered, still deeply engrossed in his search.

Should I tell him I had already seen the “special tool,” and had removed it thinking it was something my father had accidentally left behind? Wouldn’t it be better to allow him to believe that he had forgotten to place the tool in the glove box? After all, I was the one who had insisted we take this jaunt to the mall in the first place; he had wanted to stay home and watch the game. Finally I mustered enough courage to confess my crime. “Was it a little metal thingy shaped like an L?” I asked, innocently.

“Yeah, that’s it. Have you seen it?” he asked. Several alternate explanations raced through my mind as possible means of salvation. I was leaning toward the “mugger snatching it from me as I sat cleaning it in the grocery store parking lot” scenario when I finally blurted, “Oh . . . I thought Daddy had accidentally left that in the car, and I put it on top of the fridge so we could give it back to him.”

There it was. I had confessed my crime and waited for the consequences. I received a look of disgust and disbelief followed by the silent treatment.

With no tool to change the tire, we had only two options: call a wrecker and spend money we didn’t really have, or continue at a snail’s pace, with the hazard lights flashing, and chance ruining the wheel.

After what seemed to be hours (but was more like several minutes) of slowly thumping down the interstate, my seven-year-old, who had been unusually quiet this entire time, offered some advice. “Mom, Dad . . . we could pray,” he suggested.

The look of frustration and impatience on my husband’s face seemed to mirror my own feelings, and I noticed his jaw muscle jump ever so slightly beneath his skin. Of course we could pray, but this wasn’t the type of situation to pray about . . . not when there were far more dire situations in the world that needed God’s attention. Besides, how could prayer solve our problem? Would our tire miraculously heal itself and become plump with new air? “Okay, son,” I said. I sounded tired. “You sit back and pray.”

With each metallic crunch and thud, I felt myself tense against the sound and shift toward the “good side” of the car. Somehow it seemed there would be less weight on the tire if I held my breath. I didn’t really believe that, of course, but I found myself involuntarily wincing after each fatal clunk anyway.

A few motorists actually slowed down and offered their help, but none of them had the “special tool” necessary for changing tires on our particular car. It finally got to the point where we wished people would just stop asking. Our luck changed, however, when a large white pickup truck passed us and then stopped on the side of the road. It looked promising, so we eased our car over next to the truck as its doors swung open and five men—all wearing the same sort of T-shirt—bounded out. Our disgruntled attitudes were in stark contrast to their ear-to-ear smiles, and they all seemed overly anxious to help us. The part I found most peculiar was they just so happened to have the specific tool necessary to change a tire on our car. And boy, were they fast! They had the flat tire off and the spare on in a matter of seconds, it seemed. Their smiles never left their faces, even as they loaded our flat tire into our trunk, and told us to have a nice day.

Everything happened so quickly and in such a surreal way that my husband and I just sat dumbfounded watching the men, one by one, pile back into their truck and wave goodbye. Then we heard a small voice from the back seat: “I told you we should pray.” I glanced up just in time to see the truck’s bumper sticker before it disappeared in the distance. It read, “Faith Happens.”

~Cynthia Zayn

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