Finding God Under the Hood of a Car

The last couple of days have really been a test of my patience. My car(s) have been having major difficulties as of late, my Blazer has a problem with the fuel line and my old Cavalier (which is as good as a lame horse) has been leaking antifreeze and overheats the engine. Therefore, I am reliant on others for my transportation to get to and from work. I hate being in this position. I hate dealing with car troubles. I hate working on cars. Even while I am in my home at this moment I feel stranded due to my lack of vehicular mobility. I hate that feeling. I didn't realize how uneasy I was until I was lying under my car trying to find where the leak was in the Cavy.

My father and I had been working on the car for a good three hours and I was tired. I was tired of trying to find that damn leak that would not show itself. And I never found it. Yet, in the middle of all of it, in the midst of my feelings of anxiety and being stranded, I felt a calm wash over me. Maybe it was just the cool wind that rushed under the car and over my head. It could have been the way my skin felt against the cool ground as I laid under the hood. But then I moved out from under the hood and laid down and watched the sky. I watched the clouds disperse and break to reveal the blue that was above them. In that moment today, I felt like a kid again. I was able to lay down and watch in awe and wonder. I was inhaling the creation. I was sensing the God of this creation. I felt the rest that I had been searching for, the longing of feeling at peace with God and myself.

 The thing about these moments is that they cannot be initiated. There is no five step program to creating these moments with God. The felt presence of God comes and goes whenever He pleases. It is God-revealed, God-centered, and God-timed. I think this is so frustrating for most of us to comprehend. Especially for us North Americans, who have come to understand everything as ready for the taking as long as you are motivated, we have a hard time reconciling ourselves to a God who will not bend to our assumptions and expectations. God will not make things comfortable, moving aside the material "stuff" in our lives so that we can have a completely spiritual moment. God moves and acts in our lives which are embedded in creation and history. The things that we often believe hinder our lives, our setting and experience, is often the very "stuff" that God uses to change our perspective and our outlook on reality.

At CITY Kids on Friday night, I walked the kids through the resurrection story found in John 20. Part of my retelling involved the children dressing up and acting out the characters in the story. What I emphasized the most was the interaction between Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus (who at this point she believes is the gardener). I let the kids know that no matter what they were dealing with in life, in the hardships and in their times of joy, God is in the midst of it all even when we do not recognize him. Funny that the lesson I teach is the one I learn two days after the fact. God is in the simple tasks we do, in the moments of frustration and weariness, in our joy and in our pain. Sometimes we don't feel Him there, but we must live with the knowledge that He is there and wants to be known.

Yet another simple lesson learned by this inept pilgrim. Be in peace.



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11 responses to “Finding God Under the Hood of a Car

  1. everytime I come to your new site, it looks different. 🙂 that’s not a bad thing. 🙂 missed seeing you this morning and am really glad to hear about the Friday night at CITY Kids. I’m really glad for simple moments like the one you had today and glad you found a moment of rest in the presence of God. I’ve said glad a lot in this comment. ??? what’s up with that? anyways, just wanted you to know you’ve not been far from my thoughts and I am praying for you to find more moments of peace in the midst of life right now. see you Wednesday, I hope.

  2. Thanks

    I will most likely be there Wednesday, might have to get a ride from someone but I will try to be there. Thanks for thinking about me and know that you are in my prayers as well. Take care and see you later.

  3. I appreciate what you’re writing here – God being present in ‘the simple tasks’.

    And bravo for your involvement with CITY kids. Amazing how God shows up in our life, right?

  4. Hey Kyle

    I often wonder if  the church just needs to emphasize the "ordinariness" of the Christian life. I don't know about you, but I have never experienced God in some "spiritual" way that some people believe happens. There were no angels in white robes, no audible voice of God from above, no dove that rested on my shoulder. Instead, on several occasions, God has stepped into my history and setting and moved me and changed my perspective in ways that are familiar to me: in conversations with friends, interactions with strangers, watching the nature around me, as I have watched animals roam in an outstretched land, as I listen to music or watch a great movie. Moreover, these have been simple things in simple settings and don't really look that odd from the outside. And yet I recognize them as incarnational movements of God. They have changed me permanently.

  5. Literature Lover

    I love this post. It’s so true about God being in those small moments. The ones where you don’t expect His presence to be. I like how you said that you learned the lesson two days after teaching it. How many times that same thing has occurred with me!

  6. Aaron

    Nance Rules! That was a great little story sharps. Sometime we need to just sit back and look up in the sky.

  7. Aaron!

    I knew you would comment! Well, I will see you tonight for a round of beers. Sweetness

  8. Right on bro. I sometimes think if God could just get a grasp on my methods for finding Him this thing would be a whole lot easier. You challenge my heart to stop, breathe, look and listen.

  9. BP

    I hear you. It is definately a struggle playing on God’s terms.

  10. I read your blog often, but don’t usually post a comment. Today, I had to. Funny you should write this as I am wrestling with “feeling” God’s presence these days. Looking for him to give me a good warm fuzzy and wondering why I’m not getting it. Thank you for articulating this so well.

  11. Supermom,  

    I can't explain to you how many seasons I have felt the "abscence" of God. In those times, I tried everything I could think of to conjure Him up: prayed fervantly, read the scriptures, and just pleaded my case before God. These attempts were basically my own desire to make God react to me. The thing I learn when I read in Job, Jonah, or in the Psalms is that God will not bow to my desires. God will come because He is good, but He will come on His own time and in His own way. For me on that day I was working on my car, God came in without a warning and amazed me in the simplest of ways… as I was gazing up towards the sky.

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