I find that God is sometimes painfully obvious in my life. And I sometimes find myself behaving like a spoiled child towards Him, but I am getting better and luckily His patience for all of us is unending.
Last Friday I had to drive to Markham, a city near Toronto, to run an errand as the place I normally use was closed for the holidays. I was also to meet a seller on Kijiji who happened to be in Markham to buy a vintage remote control car chassis for $15. My 5 year old daughter and I have recently got ourselves some hobby grade remote control cars and our latest thing is to look for random baseball diamonds that we can go drive at. She got her car for her 5th birthday last month, and I bought mine second hand soon after. I was in the process of getting it working, I just needed a small part called a speed controller.
As I was driving to Markham, which is about a 45 minute drive from my house, I started to think about photography, this blog, and my YouTube videos. The weather was finally warming up, and my excuse of “it’s too cold outside” was quickly become invalid. However that day it was pouring rain outside and visibility on the highway was brutal. All of a sudden a rock flew up and hit my already badly cracked windshield. It was probably the biggest rock I’ve seen hit my windshield thus far, almost golf ball size, brown, looked like part of a red brick. I quickly switched lanes and assessed the damage. Luckily there were no additional cracks (after reviewing all the existing ones).
I looked up at the car in front of me and the license plate read “PHIL413”. Since I’m sill not super familiar with the bible, I thought hey, that really sounds like a bible verse. I tried to snap a picture but couldn’t get a clear shot through the mist coming up from behind the car. I repeated it a few times in my head so that I wouldn’t forget, and told myself I’d look it up when I got to Markham.
I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.
When I read the words I smiled, felt blessed, and felt driven to move forward with the things that I’ve been holding back from doing. There are times in our lives when God can feel distant and times when He feels close. I did my best to savor the moment and to save the feeling.
After I finished my errand I drove to meet the person from Kijiji. On the way there a guy in a white BMW was looking to cut in front of me. I slowed down and let him in, doing what I assumed Jesus would have wanted, and didn’t engage in my typical road rage that I’m prone to. I jokingly looked around to see if there were any more random bible verse license plates in front of me. There weren’t, but I was passing a street to the right of me called Christman Court.
I arrived at the Tim Horton’s to meet the seller. He came a few minutes after me and I bought the car from him for $15, which was a vintage RC car worth many times more than $15. I looked inside the box and there was the chassis, a body, extra wheels, an extra motor, and a speed control which was exactly what I needed. I almost couldn’t believe it, what a “gift.”
The next day my parents came to visit for the Easter. My parents and I have a strenuous relationship at times. And my dad and I had some recent ‘tension’ lets say. He came upstairs to watch my daughter and I as we put the finishing touches on my car and could finally go race together. I tested the speed control to make sure it worked prior to installing it into the car and had everything set up and ready to go. I installed it, put in the battery, and mounted the body. I showed my dad and with a smile on my face worthy of a 5 year old I went to turn it on. It had been a work in progress for a few weeks now and the anticipation of being finished had me as excited as getting out and spending time with my little girl driving our cars around. I flicked the power switch to on.
Nothing. The steering worked. But nothing else. I was confused having just tested everything prior to installing it. I glanced over the wiring and saw that a loose wire on the motor may have touched the metal frame of the car and might have short circuited the speed control. I had the standard “are you kidding me?” reaction in my mind and a miserable feeling in my stomach. But I stayed calm as I knew exactly what was going on. My dad is an electronics technician. God had set up an opportunity for me to spend time with my dad working on my car the same way my daughter and I had worked on it. And I told my dad exactly that. I told him about my drive, about Jesus, how he works all things for good. And how everything happens for a reason. He still told me that he has “his own theories” about God and religion, but that didn’t stop me from sharing what I know to be true.
In the end we couldn’t get the speed control to work. But I did give Jesus another opportunity to work on my dad. And that was the real gift.