When my car broke down in West Virginia, I had visions of myself hunting down a toothless backwoods mechanic. As I stood at a gas station counter, buying every quart of 5W-30 synthetic oil the station had, I told the lady, “My car hates West Virginia!”
“We all do,” she remarked dryly.
A man stood behind me, 12-pack of Coors Light in hand. He looked a bit like Gimli, the dwarf of The Lord of the Rings—a bit pudgier and balder, but not much taller. He caught my glance. “You’re looking pretty today,” he graveled.
Apparently, I was being appraised just as I had been appraising. Apparently, he hadn’t noticed my frumpy traveling clothes. “Thank you.” I turned away from him and slipped outside as soon as I had my change.
I ducked under the hood of the car, carefully re-checking the oil and wondering how I would ever make it to my destination. My dad was helplessly 10 hours away while my car reeked of hot oil.
A man walked past. “Problems?” He studied the car. “This is a new car! It should still be under warranty.” And then he walked away shaking his head.
Thanks. Even if it had been under warranty—which it wasn’t—how would that solve my immediate problems? I was stuck in the middle of the West Virginia mountains. He may as well have said, “Be warmed and filled” before going on his way.
But suddenly Gimli and his equally rough-looking companion were standing under the hood with me. “Problems?” Gimli set down the Coors Light. The men listened to my description of the symptoms, filled the engine with fresh oil, and looked around under the car. Last, they started the car and listened to the heartbeat of the engine. And just as dusk was approaching, they sent me on my way.
No, my car wasn’t miraculously healed, but I limped along with the mighty reassurance that God was looking out for me, even if it was through unexpected heroes.