My cousin was driving, so I took our hotel in Las Cruces, NM off the GPS and quickly plugged in Toyota dealership in El Paso. There it was. Twelve miles up the road, first exit, and then less than a mile and right on the frontage road. That was the good part, but would anyone be able to help us? It was three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.
We pulled in, went inside, and asked for help. When I told Fernando (I later learned his name) about the check engine light, his eyes grew wide. “That’s not good,” he said from behind his mask. I already knew that, but he wasn’t helping. He disappeared to get a sensor.
The issue was with the timing, but we hadn’t had any timing issues. The car was running fine. He told us sometimes something can just get on the timing mechanism and can cause the light to come on. Was that what was happening here? He didn’t know and there was no one in the department to run a diagnostic. We had two options: We could stay in El Paso until Monday and they could look at it, or he could reset it and we could just see if the light came on again. If it did, and no little shudders or reduction in speed occurred, we could just keep on driving. If timing issues did occur, we had options up the road: Limp into Tucson or Phoenix. After that there was nothing until we passed through the California deserts.
Three women with no car knowledge. Hmmm. But we did know we needed to get home, and so anything closer to California was good. We opted for the reset and prayed. We made it home with no issues. Sorry if you were looking for a more dramatic ending.
But God’s intervention was dramatic.
I have absolutely no idea why He allowed that engine light to come on, especially since there still doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the car. But He did, and he waited until after 500 miles of desolation and until we were twelve miles from civilization to alert us, and then He provided a dealership right on the highway, thereby lessening the panic.
Was there something up ahead He wanted us to avoid? Did He want us to slow down after hours of an 85 mile-an-hour speed limit? (We never went 85 but we certainly did now slow down out of caution.) Had he wanted us to meet real people in El Paso since all of our knowledge of that city had to do with border issues? Did He want us to meet Fernando specifically?
Again, I have absolutely no idea and probably won’t this side of heaven. BUT, I will tell you what I do know. That little incident refocused all three of us our very real and a very personal God, who takes you through desolate times and then places what you need right when and where you need it--even if you don't know why.