From June 3-7, I went to a Christian writer’s conference up north in Redding. The first day of the conference, in the parking lot, I was backing out and turned to see another car slowly rolling towards me. I stopped, but they kept coming. I honked my horn a couple times, but smash, they rammed me and put a big dent in my door. Her bumper was undamaged. I was with David Loftin and a Sweedish friend we met at our hotel, and after exchanging insurance info, we prayed for the lady, who seemed very distraught. Her name was Sheri, and she was around my parents’ age.
Here’s a picture of the dent:
The next day, I sat down in the prayer room of the church to spend some time alone with God, and who should come up to me but Sheri? Due to some difficult circumstances in her life and some conflict with the person she’d come with, she was really stressed out. Since she was from out of town, she didn’t know anyone but this friend and us, so I prayed for her.
After the last session of the night, David and I were talking in the back of the room. Sheri (again troubled) came up to us and said, “I can’t believe I’m asking you guys for help, but my friend skipped this evening’s conference. She has my car at the place where we’re staying, and she won’t come pick me up. I can’t believe I’m asking for help after I hit your car, but could you give me a ride?” Happily, we did so. It seems that in addition to whatever else God was doing through our accident, he sent help to a daughter who really needed it that weekend.
The next day
The next day, in the sweltering 112 degree Redding heat, the check engine light lit up on my dashboard. When we pulled the dipstick out of the engine to check the oil level, we saw steam come out. I didn’t even know that could happen. I felt the stress of the trip weigh on me: here I was, in a town I didn’t know, late on a Friday, preparing to drive over half the length of California the next day. We prayed over my car, but the light stayed on.
That night, I had a dream that coolant was shooting out of my car, and I decided that I’d better take it to a mechanic the next day before driving home. Getting stuck in the middle of the Central Valley didn’t sound like fun. I went out and sat on the concrete sidewalk in the shade behind the hotel, staring at a chain link fence, some beleaguered trees, and the I-5. This little spot, away from anyone’s prying eyes, and next to a few lines of marching ants, had become the morning refuge during the conference. After a short quiet time, I sat in my car, said a final prayer, and turned the ignition. No check engine light! It never tuned back on.
We dropped our friendly Swede at the church before beginning our trek back to San Luis Obispo, and when I looked at my car door in the parking lot, the damage had vanished. Two small dents around the door remained, but that big one in the center was no more. Look for yourself:
And that is the story of how God healed my car.