Did you ever pray for the "healing" of your car? Well, I did, and I confess it was to my surprise that God wonderfully answered that prayer. I had to be at youth camp. I think I was "the man" in charge. The water pump in my car had sprung a leak, so I would be delayed. I asked God to help me know what to do. But when I started the car again, the leak had stopped.
The weekend ministry was accomplished. Kids are always challenging, but such great fun. As far as I recall we were all blessed with the word of God and good fellowship (and, of course, a certain amount of silliness).
After this was over, and I had returned home, the water pump began leaking again. I'm not going to say that mechanical problems are best solved by prayer. But the facts are that I prayed for help, and that's exactly what I got. God "healed" my car for just long enough to give me a successful weekend of ministry with young people.
Being a poverty case preacher, of course I set out to fix it myself. I removed the old water pump, took it to Pep Boys and laid it on the counter. My father's expert mechanic friend taught me to take the part to the store and compare every screw hole and flange with the new one. Often the paper work identifies the "right part" that has an extra protrusion or slightly different screw holes that can only be identified by eyeballing the two.
I put the car back together, and what's this? The water pump was squirting like a baster. I'm no crack mechanic. I must have done something wrong. Maybe I forgot a gasket. So I took it all apart again. If you've done this yourself, you know that it always seems to require the removal of other things like the air conditioner pulley or some other housing just to access the part. So when I finally pull out the water pump, it looks perfect. Gaskets are intact and bolts had been tight. Well, I put it together again, only to find the leak is still there!
This time I pulled the part and took it back to Pep Boys to have them tell me what I was doing wrong. The guy at the counter says, "Just a minute." When he returns to the counter, he tells me that they tested the part in the back and found that it was defective. He gave me another one, and this time it worked.
So the sum and substance is this: the worn, defective part--the part that was prayed over--worked for the needed time. And the newly refurbished part--the part that just came out of the box--did not work. God likes to work the ironic. Little is much when God is in it. A man's skill or wisdom is a fearful thing to trust. Proverbs 3:5, 6 comes to mind.