"I don't envy you." the mechanic said, shaking his head. My car's engine had stopped completely while I was waiting at a red light. I'd been able to restart the car and drive it directly to a service station. But nothing unusual appeared when it was hooked up to a diagnostic machine. The car was functioning normally.
"When it quits again, you probably won't be able to restart it," he added, scrawling the number of a wrecker service for me on a card.
Maybe this wasn't a major crisis compared to what a lot of people face. Nevertheless, it's probably typical of many circumstances that seem beyond the scope of human help. Then it's comforting to be acquainted with God. For several years I've been praying and studying - daily - to know God better. And it has really helped.
It is one thing for us to have faith. Faith that God exists. Faith that God is Love. Faith that God will help in times of trouble. Faith is wonderful! But a faith that is living, grows. So beyond faith, I've been praying to understand more of the nature of God, of His presence and active power right now on earth.
The Bible has been so helpful in this study. I've learned that "with God all things are possible" - even when they seem impossible to men and women (see Matt. 19:26). And that "there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets" (Dan. 2:28). God does not hide Himself from His creation. He does reveal Himself, through inspired writings like those of the Bible and through the direct inspiration that comes to everyone willing to listen with spiritual sense.
Although the Bible doesn't have much to say about cars, I felt assured that I was living under the law of God, not chance. God is good. God's law is the law of good. God is a just God, and injustice or chance doesn't have divine power or authority. I didn't have to wait for fate to decide when my car would quit. God's law reveals mistakes so truth can be seen. God, who is Truth, exposes whatever is unlike His nature or is mistaken, in much the same way that our knowing the correct spelling of a word reveals a misspelled one. So I felt assured that Truth would reveal the malfunction in my car, for the purpose of correcting it.
Before driving to work the next morning, I prayed to know what I should do. A calm assurance that all would be well came over me, and I drove to work without incident. On the way home, the "check engine" light came on intermittently. Immediately, I began to pray with the Bible verse "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known" (Matt. 10:26).
I also prayed to know that any sort of malfunction had no power to harm. I recalled a passage from the textbook of Christian Science: "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 514). While a car is not one of God's creatures, I felt that I moved under the law of harmony. It was instantly clear that God would render a mechanical malfunction harmless just as He made all His creatures harmless. Uncovering a mistake didn't have to be harmful. I prayed "without ceasing" as I drove.
Well, I made it to the service station. Just as I pulled in front of the service bay, the car quit - completely. It would not start. But this time the mechanic found the problem, and within minutes it was fixed. The error had been uncovered completely, without harm to me or anyone else.
"The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way" (Ps. 25:9). Having faith in God's presence and power starts us in the right direction. Growing in our understanding of His laws of good, through prayer and study of the Bible, opens a whole new approach to handling problems. We discover how even the minutiae of daily life are governed by God.
The Christian Science Sentinel is published weekly. In it you'll find other articles about prayer.