May 22, 2004


My van broke down.

Just at the worst possible time. Just when I am at my busiest. Just when we are getting ready to move. Just when we need the extra money. Just when we need everything to be working right. Just when a broken-down-van could be the straw that broke the camel's back. My van broke down.

It was a gripe. It was a complaint. It definitely didn't fit into my schedule! But there it was, nothing to do about it except get to work on it.

My dad came over the next day and we dug in. After some fiddling and tinkering with a couple of other things, we began to accept the fact that it was the fuel pump.

Now, I don't want to go into any great detail on the mechanics of fuel pumps, but this time I think it is important. The fuel pump on a Chevy Astro, like the one that we have, is inside of the fuel tank. (Now I don't know the genius that decided to put the fuel pump in the tank, but one day I would like to give him a big pat on the back, and say, "Thanks a bundle!") The pump itself is connected to its hoses and the power through the top of the tank.

When we took the pump out, I noticed that the electrical connector was completely fried. The wires coming out of it were melted through. My first thought was, "well there's the problem!" My next thought was, "whoa, wait a minute." I mean, here I was looking at this charcoaled electrical connector, that I found inside of my gas tank. So badly burned that the wires were melted,

Why didn't it ignite? Why didn't it explode? By all accounts it should have... It should have been like a bomb. There were a couple of other guys with us at the time, and we all just stood there for a couple of seconds until one of them said, "God must be looking out for you, brother."

He was.

I was pretty shaken up by it. For me I was thinking about that fuel tank... it is located right under where the boys usually sit. I am thinking about how I kept trying to start the van before the tow-truck came, with those burned, exposed wires. I am thinking about how this could have happened next week while my wife was driving on our way to South Carolina. There are a hundred other scenarios that could have been a lot worse.

And I was griping.

Usually when things don't go my way, that is how I react. With griping and complaining. I usually get a little angry and frustrated. And most of the time I never know why those things happen.

This time God showed me the why.

Like I said before, I was very shaken up by this. Life is fragile. Every moment is precious. And I will think twice before I complain about car problems again.

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