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The Jeep and the Jailer

My vehicle locked me out of my work Monday morning. True story. The blame lies squarely on my Jeep.

It all started Sunday evening, July 17th.

I had spent Saturday night at my aunt and uncle’s place in Myrtle Creek and was headed home Sunday evening. As I accelerated onto the freeway, my Jeep quit running. The a/c was still blowing. The radio was still playing, but I had nothing in the gas pedal.

I made my way over to the shoulder of the freeway and, with semi’s and other vehicles racing by, I called my uncle to tell him what was going on. I tried starting it and it started right up. I made it home.

The next day, (forgetting what had happened the evening before) as I was coming home from work, I was accelerating onto the freeway when my Jeep died again. Same scenario. Wrangled it to the shoulder; put it in park; started it again and drove home.

I called my mechanic who could not even look at it until August 8th.

By Wednesday, I was using back roads and staying off the freeway as the slightest nudge on the gas pedal would cause it to die.

I searched online for what might be wrong. One of the things I saw several times, was the air filter could be clogged.

Friday, I drove to the place where I typically get my oil changed and they checked the air filter. It was clean, having just been replaced 3 or 4 months ago. The nice technician checked several other possibilities but came up with nothing. After a oil change (why not, I’m already there) my Jeep would not start.

They pushed me out of the bay and into the parking lot. Long story short, something had been unplugged under the hood in their search for the problem and had not been reconnected. Once that was done, my Jeep started right up.

I drove back to work.

I am having issues with my foot. Doc says it’s an Achilles Tendon injury, and I had a follow-up appointment with him on Friday afternoon. My Jeep would not start.

Long story short…my boss Charlie drove me to my doctor’s office and dropped me off. The plan was then to walk to my son’s apartment, where I could borrow his rig, or he could give me a ride home, after he got off work.

A few minutes later my phone rang. Charlie had locked himself out of the building; could he come get my key?

After my appointment, I asked the receptionist if Charlie had returned the key. She said, “No, but he asked that you call him when you are done.”

I gave Charlie a call and he apologetically explained that he had called his mechanic. If we could get the Jeep started and get it up to him, he would look at it right away. Thanks Charlie!!

So, he picked me up and we drove back to the station. My Jeep started right up, and we drove to AB Auto in Grants Pass.

After leaving my key with Alex, Charlie dropped me off at my son’s where I was able to borrow his rig for the weekend.

Monday morning, I drove back to my son’s. He hopped in and drove me to work. As soon as we pulled up, I realized I did not have my work key. It made me chuckle. Why not?

I got my stuff out of my son’s SUV and he went on his way to work.

I was the first person there, but I knew if there was an issue, I could always call somebody.

Call somebody…wait just a minute. I left my phone at the house. Yes, of course I did.

And that is how my Jeep locked me out of my work on Monday.

Life can sure throw us a curve ball. Those unexpected, unpleasant surprises that disrupt our life’s routine and perhaps take a chunk of our budget. I don’t like those kinds of surprises. I don’t know anyone who does.

We are told we have no idea what tomorrow holds. You would think we would get that by now. Be ready for routines to be broken. Be prepared for bad news.

There is that saying, “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best”. I think that is a good way to approach the day.

When each second becomes past-tense. When the morning is already history to the afternoon. When we often have no clue what we will fix for dinner, why do we charge through life like we have some sort of control over what happens?

We are living on a blue/green globe, hung in the vastness of time and space, spinning at 1,000 miles per hour. We are not in control.

James really put it in perspective when he wrote, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring….” James 4:13-14 ESV


He went on to ask, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14-15 ESV

The Bible Study Guide at church for this quarter is titled, “In the Crucible with Christ” and one of the weeks looks at a chapter in the life of Paul and Silas.

Talk about unexpected events! These guys had no idea what the day would bring, but they got up every day, preaching, recruiting, and traveling from town to town.

It was on one such day that a slave girl ran into them. She was a psychic, and she made a lot of money for the people who owned her.

She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to them by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.

When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.

The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.

Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.

Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”

The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”

They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family.

There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration. - The Message Translation

I would venture a guess…that day did not end the way anyone thought. But because of Paul and Silas being put in jail; because they stayed when they could have run; because they witnessed to the jailer, he and his entire family were baptized! Just incredible to think about.

We never know what one small random act will do for someone else. Be ready for the unexpected. Be ready for disappointment. Be ready to rise above it all and be a witness through it.

“Disappointment has no place in a heart full of gratitude.” – Anonymous

By the way, I got my Jeep back on Tuesday. Alex did a great job. It was the Crankshaft Position Sensor.

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