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Consultants: Dr. Bob Perry
​and Dr. Marilyn Nelson

AN EXPERIENCE IN GRACE:
GOD PROVIDES

Dr. Robert L. Perry

It was a hot summer afternoon as I sped across the desert of northern Mexico with my wife and two preschool-age sons. We had lived in Mexico for some time and were fluent in Spanish, but the cardinal rule by which we lived was, "Do not be out on the highway after dark." The dangers were many. Often cattle, wild burros or other animals would come onto the roadway after dark to lie on the warm pavement as the desert night grew cold. Rounding a curve after dark could mean colliding with an animal. There were also roving highway bandits who looked for stranded tourists to rob - and worse.

But we had planned our schedule to reach out destination city of Torreon by nightfall. Then it happened. I heard a bang from the engine compartment, and the red light on the dash came on indicating the engine was getting hot. Steam rose when I opened the hood, and it was obvious that the fan belt had broken. It was about 6:00 pm, and we were still two hours out from Torreon. We were a family of foreigners alone in the desert with night falling. There was practically no traffic on the highway, and certainly no one inclined to stop and help.
Then, the Lord provided. A trucker pulled his rig to a stop behind us. He tried to rig a makeshift fan belt for us with a piece of rope and bailing wire, but it wouldn't work. We could only start the engine and go a few yards before the rope would be thrown off the pulley. We repeated that process several times over the next couple of hours, but got the car no more than one mile down the road. The trucker indicated that there was an all-night service station about 50 miles ahead if we could get there. It was pitch dark by this time, and I was fearful that our Good Samaritan would decide to go on a leave us. But every time I doubted his intention to see this through, he would assure me that he was not going to leave a family alone on the road.

Then God provided again. My wife remembered an emergency roadside course she had taken in which the mechanic had said that the best makeshift fanbelt for a car is a ladies' nylon hose. She discreetly removed her pantyhose, we cut off one leg and installed it. The nylon is elastic enough that you can stretch it around the pulleys, and it will tie a small enough knot that the knot will pass inside the pulley channel without coming off. With that improvisation, we drove about 25 miles. Then the other leg of her pantyhose took us the last 25 miles to the all-night station.

We called friends in Torreon who said they would get the new fanbelt and come to rescue us the next morning. We slept the night in the car. Not the most comfortable night we ever spent, but we were safe. Thanks to a good-hearted Mexican truck driver, a smart mechanic who knew what to teach in an emergency car repair course, a wife who had a good memory of what she had been taught, and a pair of pantyhose, we were safe. But most of all, thanks to a faithful God who provides.

In Matthew 6:8, in the last phrase Jesus spoke before he recited the Model Prayer (the Lord's Prayer), he said, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (NRSV) How good it is that our God knows all that we need, has all resources at hand, and is faithful to provide for God's children in full measure. May we all be more aware of that provision, more thankful for it, and more confident in its eternal nature. God will provide.

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