The Dodge Dart – Oh What a Car
The Dodge Dart or, as I liked to affectionately call it, the Darge Dot was my mode of transportation in high school. She was a red, 1976, four-door with a white vinyl top; and in her early years of Smith ownership, a respectable, almost attractive car. I was the third teenage driver to use her; so by my turn, she was just shabby.
As far as heaps of junk go, the Dodge Dart was a fairly reliable ride. She had this one irksome and somewhat random issue though. If she didn’t turn over with the first try, one was obligated to get out of the car, lift the hood, and tug on the belt that turned the fan blade. Dad tried to explain to me why this happened – something about missing teeth and the fan coming to rest in just the wrong spot.
As luck would have it, you might go five or six times without the teeth ending up in the wrong place, but then you’d hit a bad streak where you might go through this embarrassing process several days in a row.
Worst of all was when a group of boys were standing around watching. With my head held high, I would be forced to get out of the car, lift the hood, delicately tug on the fan belt, and as I dusted my hands off climb back into the driver’s seat. I didn’t bother closing the hood in case she needed a second turn. Silent but fervent prayers would go up as I turned the key, Please let it start, God; please let it start; and usually it did. Then I would jump out of the car, slam the hood, and drive off. I could almost imagine words of admiration for this savvy girl who knew her way around the engine of a car.
Then one day, as I was leaving my afterschool dental clinic job, I noticed a group of five men standing several feet in front of the car. As I walked passed them, I was acutely self-conscious of the clicking sound my heels made on the pavement and the gentle swooshing of my skirt as I walked in front of them. Oh I hope this thing starts, I worried in my head. Nervously I inserted the key into the ignition and turned it. Nothing!
“Of course,” I muttered to myself as I climbed out of the car and lifted the hood. I tried not to notice that the men had stopped talking and were staring in my direction. Back in the car, I turned the key. I was greeted with silence. Back out to the hood, tug on the belt, back in the car – nothing. By the fifth try my face, neck, and arms were crimson. I could see out of the corner of one eye that the men were trying to decide if they should step in and help. I didn’t want to “try” and explain the whole missing teeth situation and that the theory of probable odds meant at some point it would almost certainly start; so I tried not to look in their direction.
Never before had it taken so many tries, and at last I felt that drastic measures were needed. I stared into the oily, dirty mess of the engine and then at my equally messy hands, and I prayed. Please make this car start, God. I’m going to have faith that this car will start. As I slammed the hood, I said, Look at my faith God. I closed the hood. I climbed into the car for the sixth time in the last five minutes, and then I locked the door. Did you see that God, I even locked my door? I do not intend to get out of this car again. On went my seatbelt. Ok God, I’m serious about trusting you to make this car run, and I turned the key. The car started, and I backed out of the parking spot and drove away.
How many times do we tell God we trust Him to work things out, but at the same time we continue to behave as if it is all up to us? We never step out in faith but instead hang on to all of our man made resources. We leave all of our doors open in case God doesn’t come through for us. Do you really trust your own means more than the creator of the universe?
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8