This is a story to encourage anyone out there who needs a reminder that God really IS in control, He wants only the very best for you, AND He seldom does things the way we expect.
Ready? Okay!! (If you didn't say that in your head like a cheerleader, please go back and re-read it properly.)
A couple of weeks ago, our family was preparing to travel to Southern California for a week's vacation. The day before leaving, my plan was to run 2-3 errands then spend the rest of the day packing at a leisurely pace.
Before heading out, my husband told me that I should add the errand of "Oil Change" to my list. NOT what I had in mind, but I knew he was right.
I asked him if we had any oil change coupons for a particular place. He found one so I headed over there. After dropping the car off, I walked across the parking lot to a bookstore, only to have the mechanic call me not 10 minutes later to advise that he couldn't perform the oil change after all. He said it was because the last place that had changed the oil, must have stripped the threads on the oil pan hole and replaced the original plug with a larger one. He said that he was afraid of stripping it even more, and since he didn't have a larger plug to replace the current one, he'd be forced to replace the whole oil pan if that happened.
No problem. How much could an oil pan be, right?
I walked back over to the garage and drove away in my car with the unchanged oil.
I needed to know what to do next, so I parked and called my husband, but only AFTER letting God know how disappointed I was in Him for letting this happen to us the day before we were to leave town on vacation. Side Note: We already had a $600 car repair bill 2 months prior, which I felt should put us in the good-to-go-for-the-next-several-months category. WRONG.
Anyway, I believe the words I said aloud to God were, "Really, Lord? REALLY?! The DAY BEFORE VACATION, You're gonna' drop a $500 car repair bill in our laps?! REALLY?!?!?!?!??!?!?!"
Yeah. Not my best moment. It's amazing how God is the first to receive praise AND BLAME for anything that goes right or wrong in my life. Why He hasn't zapped me with a death-ray-laser-thing already is a miracle in and of itself.
So I call my husband, somewhat perturbed. He suggested going to the facility where I'd taken it last time, because they would obviously know what to do with the large plug that they put in.
I drove over there, and after a quick check, was told that in addition to having our oil changed, they could also replace our front right blinker bulb that wasn't working, for an additional $10.00. I told them that would be great, since my husband had researched online how to replace the bulb months ago, and only found a series of complaints from people who said it was almost impossible to get TO the bulb to replace it. I was assured that THEY could do it - NO PROBLEM.
2 minutes later, I was sitting in the waiting room, watching 3 men in their late 20's gather around that right front blinker, completely baffled. They came in after about 20 minutes, all having very vocal opinions about how there was NO WAY to get to that bulb without completely removing the front bumper.
I thanked them for trying, and waited for the gentleman at the register to process my payment. I'm guessing he was in his early 60's. I didn't catch his name, but I'm going to refer to him as "Gabe", which is short for Gabriel. Just go with it.
After ringing me up, sans the $10 bulb fee, Gabe walked me out to my car to give me a run down on what had been done.
Gabe: I don't like being told 'no'.
Me: What do you mean?
Gabe: The bulb. There's got to be a way to get to it. Do you have a few minutes?
Gabe: Do me a favor and turn the wheels to the left ... okay, great. Go ahead back inside and I'll let you know when I'm done.
About 7 minutes later, Gabe came to get me.
Gabe: Okay, you're ready to go.
Gabe held up a burned out bulb, with a big grin on his face.
Me: NO. WAY.
Gabe: I told you, I don't like being told 'no'.
Me: How did you do it?!
He showed me how he got in behind the bumper. No big deal.
Me: This is AWESOME. I need to pay for it.
Gabe: Nah. No need.
Me: Well I have to pay for it. Can I pay you?
Gabe: Really, you don't need to.
Me: I want to do something. You have no idea what a big deal this is to me.
Gabe: Well, I do like Mocha Frappuccinos.
Me: Done. What size?
Me: Whipped cream?
Me: I'll be right back.
I hopped in my car and made a bee line for the nearest Starbucks where I ordered Gabe a Venti Mocha Frappuccino, because a Grande really didn't seem large enough for how grateful I was feeling. Needless to say, the other mechanics were dumbstruck when I walked in and handed Gabe his sweet reward.
As I drove away I started in on my long apology to God for accusing Him of not having our best interests at heart. See, not only did He want our oil changed, but He wanted us to have a working right blinker to use while driving in L.A. traffic!! OH!! AND the bulb didn't cost us a lick, because I had a Starbucks gift card to cover the cost of Gabe's Frappuccino!! What?!