On Monday night and Tuesday afternoon of last week I was reminded of God’s Providence in people’s lives, and of His sense of humor. I had an incident with my car (a 1998 Volvo), and the more I look back on it, the funnier it gets. On Monday night, while driving to get some food I could tell something was wrong with my gas pedal. It was sticking when I pushed down on it and it wasn’t popping back up very well. I got home all right, and just ignored it as an odd thing that 16 year old cars do.
The next day, I was driving home from class on Highway 114 and I pushed the gas pedal about half way down. As I let up on the gas though, the pedal didn’t come up with my foot. It was stuck, but this time it was really stuck. I tried putting my foot under it and yanking up really hard, but that didn’t work.
I had heard of this happening before, but to experience it is a whole different thing. It is pretty terrifying to be honest. At this point I had sped up to about 75 mph, but luckily I had a clear path to exit on Esters Blvd. I switched into neutral and just let my car coast. Of course, my RPMs shot up to 7000 and 8000, because my engine was still trying to accelerate. And let me say, it was LOUD.
I got to a stop sign and thankfully was able to turn off my engine. Within 10 minutes, a Boy Scout troop from Coppell, TX pulled up and offered to push my car into the parking lot of a nearby Hilton hotel. Being an Eagle Scout myself, I was glad I could help them fulfill their duty to “Do a good turn daily.”
This is where the story gets weirdly Providential.
A cheerful-looking middle aged man walked out from the hotel parking lot, staring at me and my car. I rolled down my window as he approached and he asked in his Swedish accent what I thought was wrong with my car. He said he knows Volvos really well (Volvo is a Swedish company), and is embarrassed that my car is malfunctioning because he is from Sweden. I popped the hood and, after inspecting the throttle cable, he said it was something inside the throttle body that he couldn’t fix then and there.
It turns out he was right – there was a problem with my air intake system, which contains the throttle body, which controls the throttle cable, which controls the gas pedal.
He then pointed to his own car, sitting in the parking lot about a hundred feet away. It was a 1997 Volvo 850, and it was white. My car is a 1998 S 70, which is Volvo’s updated version of the 850 that was introduced in ’98.
This mystery man knew within minutes what was wrong with my car, and he was cheerful, funny, and prompt. He made a joke about Murphy’s law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong) or as he said in his Swenglish, the “law of Murphy”.
I don’t believe all of this was mere coincidence, because the help came so quickly and was so effective. God in His Providence warned me the night before, but I ignored it. My Guardian Angel saw me through what was a terrifying and potentially dangerous situation, and made it into something hilarious. The funny Swedish guy with a white Volvo was my Guardian Angel just showing off. I pray this novena prayer sometimes to my Guardian Angel, and I would encourage everyone to pray to theirs as well. He can act as a powerful heavenly advocate, and I’m betting that if you simply ask him to, he will show you God’s work in your life in some pretty funny ways.
“O holy angel, whom God, by the effect of His goodness and His tender regard for my welfare, has charged with the care of my conduct, and who assists me in all my wants and comforts me in all my afflictions, who supports me when I am discouraged and continually obtains for me new favors, I return thee profound thanks, and I earnestly beseech thee, O most amiable protector, to continue thy charitable care and defense of me against the malignant attacks of all my enemies. Keep me away from all occasions of sin. Obtain for me the grace of listening attentively to thy holy inspirations and of faithfully putting them into practice. In particular, I implore thee to obtain for me the favor which I ask for by this novena. [Here mention your need(s).] Protect me in all the temptations and trials of this life, but more especially at the hour of my death, and do not leave me until thou hast conducted me into the presence of my Creator in the mansions of everlasting happiness. Amen.”