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Mar 24, 2009

It¢¬?¢s About Problem Ownership, and then Amazing Miracles, Because of Grace!

Category: Everyday News
Posted by: A

Tonight¢¬?¢s concert was held at a church called Pleasant Hill Baptist, and upon arriving they found the building to fit the exterior atmosphere. Rustic, captivating, old- surrounded by a graveyard. The graveyard itself told a story involving time. There were brand new burial headstones, and right next to them were old, rough stone grave markers. A new shelter identical to the old one had been erected not ten feet from the old structure, and the difference was striking. This place had a history, something that the modern lifestyle erased so quickly with all of its state of the art buildings and architecture. Something about the oldness of the country seemed to draw you in. It was if there was a magnet the grabbed a place inside of you that you¢¬?¢d forgotten was there into a realm of history, stories, tales, heritage and the very meaning of life. The people themselves, as they began arriving for the evening concert were a living relic of this life we were witnessing. I wouldn¢¬?¢t call it one to be envied, but perhaps one to be in awe of, and read as you might a great book. Appalachia has taken on a new and indepth meaning to us ...

... But that has nothing to do with my story ... :-)

As the van got loaded after the concert, and weary children and adults piled back into the cramped transportation, oldest son, and eighteen year old Jared climbed into the driver¢¬?¢s seat to drive. He revved the engine and then flipped it off just as quickly.

"Papa, this van¢¬?¢s on empty!" Papa groaned and hung his shoulders

"Ah, man, I forgot about that. I meant to fill up in Burkesville. We¢¬?¢ll have to see how far we can go, but you know the drive, it was a long way up here, and a nearby gas station is unheard of." The next few minutes were spent getting directions to the nearest station from a lady standing nearby, which ended up being on the way home anyway. "Phooey too, this van only gets thirteen miles to the gallon, and it was twenty miles into this place." said Papa shaking his head and grinning at his forgetfulness. The rest of the crew laughed and returned "ah, we know how to do this. Remember our miracle on I-90?" They were referring to the van (with the trailer hitched on) on the way to Ohio one year and running out of gas at the bottom of a hill in between Cleveland and Erie. There¢¬?¢s no better way to learn about faith than to put into practice, eh? So they had prayed that van into action and made it to the top of the hill, where it stopped and coasted down. Faith stoked, they prayed again, thanking the Lord for that awesomeness. The second hill felt even more powerful from the sheer force of what faith really was, and by the time they reached the gas station and coasted into the one open lane only to find out that it was out of order, they were ready to pray it into gear one more time.
Same thing here, right? The adults (worldly-wise old things they are, including Grandpa!) smiled and let it go, but those kids prayed anyway. Finally, the gas station came into sight (they weren¢¬?¢t technically out of gas because they hadn¢¬?¢t yet begun sputtering) and Papa, the ever resourceful and cheap man that he was, told Jared to drive by and see if they could make it to Burkesville. There was a resonance of disagreement and pushback that reverberated in the back of the vehicle, but who¢¬?¢s to argue with the dad?

"Do you think that might be pushing God's grace, Papa?" Elisabeth asked rather circumspectly.

"Oh, I¢¬?¢m not, I believe that if he can get us here, he can take us to Burkesville." Was the confident reply. Half a mile later the sputtering began, and the Papa (full of faith, remember?) Said to turn around and go back, which Jared did willingly, only to find when the gas station was in sight, and we were almost up the small grade leading to the entrance that pressing on the accelerator was doing nothing. There you have it. Out of gas, right next to the gas station entrance. What a pickle.

"I think we should pray for God to get us in" Elisabeth said, and was met by a chorus of "yeahs" and "of courses" and a "would you do it?"

"Jesus," she began, "we¢¬?¢re sorry for taking advantage of your miracle, and we just ask that you would grant a little more grace and get us into the station. Thank you Jesus."

Amen¢¬?¢s followed, and Jared turned the key, the engine rolled, but not for long before it died. Papa switched with Jared, saying something about having to do something a little tricky to see about getting it started. Rebekah and Elisabeth looked at one another with a look that said "I think we should rely on the miracle instead of tricks" and both simultaneously fell back into their seats with a frown and arms crossed. Papa took the wheel, looked for traffic and let the van roll backwards, and when it picked up enough speed he turned the wheel and flipped out into the lane enough to have the front of the van point down the hill "to get gas in the front of the tank" he said. Those strategies only worked for a moment, and certainly not long enough to get them into the station. Elisabeth¢¬?¢s blunt and somewhat reproachful voice popped up from the rear,

"I think someone needs to ask God¢¬?¢s forgiveness for taking advantage of his grace and his miracle." Her words were generalized, but they were obviously directional to one individual, though sweetly coated in humor. There was a laugh that circulated around, and then Papa put his head on his headrest and his hands gripped the steering wheel, and still humored he prayed, "I¢¬?¢m sorry God, I didn¢¬?¢t think I was taking advantage of you, but I¢¬?¢m sorry if I did. Please, please, please, just get us to that gas station. I¢¬?¢m really sorry." There was a satisfied grunt, and smirk of satisfaction and triumph on Elisabeth and Rebekah's countenances. It would work now. The two conspirator's crossed their arms and sat back, smiling confidently at each other.

Papa rolled the engine, and it...didn¢¬?¢t work.

Ah man! But when there¢¬?¢s believers stoked like they were, there was no backing down or getting discouraged. They were ready for a miracle!

"Do it again!" Came the chorus of laughing, excited voices from the back of the van.

Shaking his head, and Grandpa shaking his concurrently (though he was being strangely quiet with that ¢¬Ë?I¢¬?¢m wiser than you, and this is funny, but go ahead and have your childish fun¢¬?¢ look on his face), they rolled the engine again.

Like a hybrid electric car, it sprang to life, and with a holler that travelled through the van, Papa put it into gear and swung around. It pulled up the hill, up the entrance to the station, and was still humming almost noiselessly when they pulled into the pump and stopped.

Throughout this time Grandpa¢¬?¢s worldly-wise appearance had vanished, and a look of awed shock fell in its place. As we stopped, and there were shouts of joy and praise to the amazing God drifting outside of the van to curious onlookers, Grandpa¢¬?¢s hand fell from his face, and he looked at his son and voiced his timeless, trademark words:

"I¢¬?¢ve seen it all now."