Ever been dead in your tracks?

Unable to move forward in your own power?

When you’re on a trip the last thing you need is a dead engine or one that won’t start or one that won’t keep going. Driving from Fayetteville NC to Atlanta one night in 1981, in a large Ford Chateau van with the most powerful engine they made, my head lights suddenly went dim. A few minutes later, completely out! Seeing signs for a large service station (that’s what a gas station was called when they had real mechanics to inspect and fix your car) a few miles down the highway, I ducked behind a truck to allow his lights the guide me. Once safely off the road, I asked the service manage what he thought the problem was and if he could fix it that night. He thought the battery just needed to be charged, so 30 minutes later, I was on my way. In South Carolina two hours later, the same thing happened: the battery was dead again. This time I had to walk to the nearest gas station to call AAA for a “jump.”

That’s when the AAA repairman said it was not the battery but the alternator that needed to be replaced. But at midnight, he couldn’t fix it, only offer me another jump start.

So off I headed for Georgia and sure enough, two hours later and no gas station anywhere in sight, the van slowed to a crawl and died.
What did I do next in the good ole days before cell phones?

I called upon the Lord for help….and while waiting, I fell asleep. As the sun rose, a truck stopped to offer help. Actually–not the truck, the person inside offered help. Turns out he was a pastor taking the same route and would be speaking at a church on the other side of Atlanta. Then he offered a solution I had not though about: he took the perfectly charged battery out of his truck and replaced it with my died battery because he reasoned that his perfectly good alternator would recharge my dead battery while we drove to Atlanta — which meant the broken alternator on my Ford van would discharge his good battery.

Off we went. By the time we arrived in Atlanta, he simply replace my recharged battery with his discharged battery–which by the way meant I then had to give his truck a “jump” to get it going. What an incredible blessing–completely free–from a stranger, who “didn’t know me from Adam” as an American idiom says.

That story reminds me of how powerless we are to save ourselves from our worst problem: a dead heart. Like the battery that gives power to a car, so our heart gives us power to run by faith. But when our heart is dead because of sin, where do we turn for help? The bible tells us that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be our Master Mechanic to provide the perfect solution: not to recharge our old battery/old heart, but instead He offers us a brand new heart–His very own! What a trade. And it doesn’t cost any of us a penny. It’s free! That’s how God’s love is: He gives it away to whoever asks. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old (heart) has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17