When I was a kid I went to church regularly, 3 to 4 times a week. It was a consistent pattern in our lives, infused with mostly familiar rituals and routines. However, there was one church event that caused a fair bit of stress, and it would happen whenever my dad announced, “We’re going across the bay for church tonight!”
Back then, “across the bay” meant a trip that could take as long as 8 hours or more to complete, that is, if all went well. The dirt roads were unpredictable, and we had to be careful for bumps, because our vehicle was usually packed to the brim with people. Also adding to the length of the trip, was the fact that the drive to and from the other side of the bay was often interlaced with visits to people’s houses that I did not know very well. “Everyone in the car”. “Everyone out of the car”. “Everyone in the car”. “Everyone out of the car”, and so on, as the adults on the trip made time to see old friends.
As kids thankfully, we got to explore, and one of my best finds was Billy’s fishing shed. It was perched on the edge of a cliff behind a knitted cluster of bent-in-the-wind tamarack trees that must have guarded it from many a stormy gale. It was dry and clean, and it had a swing in it, and thousands of fascinating gadgets that lined the walls and tables. I didn’t know Billy back then or why my parents visited him. His house was just downhill from the church and it was his land that the church was built upon. He was a tall handsome man who fished salmon, and like many people of that day who equated Jesus with a more reserved rural way of life, he once said about sports, “The Master didn’t play hockey!” For the good that he accomplished, he also had many difficulties in his life, and the last time I saw him, he was in RCMP custody, in a straight jacket. I was on a summer job at the RCMP station and I saw them bring him in, and with all my heart, I wished that I could have stepped in and set him free, and healed him, and taken him back home where he belonged by the sea.
The church on Billy’s property was a small, white lime-washed clapboard building that rested on stilts on the crest of a hay field, that lay on an incline on the side of the ocean. The steps going up to the church were steep and they and the floor inside were made of large wooden planks that made hollow clunk sounds under our feet. We sang all the old hymns to the rhythm of a pump organ and strained our voices thin on the high notes. The pastor’s sermons were sincere, and I’ll never forget the evening that he taught us Psalm 103:12. He quoted: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” The pastor opened and closed his arms for visual effect, and moved from one side of the room to the other, so that we could better understand.
“How clever,” I thought, as the pastor explained to our small gathering on the side of the bay, that the East and the West could not be in same place at the same time! If something resides in the East, then its in the East, and if something else resides in the West, well then its in the West, and the two shall never meet, no matter how close or how far apart they are! Their origins are linked together, but they have become distinct entities. We did not know much about the science behind it, but we understood what the pastor meant, and it was comforting to know that God had a law on the books so to speak, a Quantum Caveat, built into the forgiveness of sin, that put an immeasurable yet permanent distance between us and our forgiven sins, and the East and the West, so that neither could ever share the same space again.
The length of the trip across the bay was not the only thing that struck fear in the heart of a 6 year old. The church had no bathroom … but in some sort of favourable irony, maybe that was what kept the services from going on too long. Then, on the drive home, by the time we visited other houses and said our “Goodnights”, which was sometimes after midnight, the task of the final drive was just getting started. We had to be especially attentive and watch out for moose and cows on the road, and we drove in all sorts of weather, bad and good, inching our way through dense fog, or on clear nights, being guided by the reflection of the full moon on the water that seemed to follow us all the way home.
On one of our return trips from the church across the bay, we neared a place named Irishtown, and our four wheel drive jeep, which had a history of troubles, broke down. Smoke came out of the dash! My dad stopped the vehicle and ordered everyone out. There were 11 of us: me, mom and dad, my younger sister and two older brothers, an elderly friend and her nephew and son, and two elderly ladies who were guests, staying at our home. We were packed in there pretty tight, which was a time well before the use of seat belts.
One of the passengers was Velma, who was a widow and best known for her compassion for the homeless. When the RCMP had nowhere else to take the down and out stray people who came to our city, they took them to her place. Many years earlier, her husband Sid delivered the mail around the bay in his boat.
The other two women in the jeep were equally messengers of God. One of them had been a missionary in China and had spent time in a Japanese concentration camp. She had witnessed people being put to death and had herself experienced terrible persecution. She had nearly starved to death and as a result developed a serious heart problem, so much so, that she travelled with a nurse, who was the other person with her that night.
The smoke from the jeep’s broken engine swirled around my father’s face as he stood in the headlights. It had just turned to dusk and getting everyone out of the car was his first concern, because there was the very practical possibility that the jeep could catch on fire. We desperately needed a mechanic and a place for all of us to get out of the elements, all that is, except for the “missionary lady”. Her name was Anne Robertson and she would not budge. The adults wondered if she was OK. Was she tired or ill? Whatever the case, what happened next has played over and over in my mind for decades.
While we stood on the side of the road in the cool of the evening, with our thoughts racing about what would happen next, the “missionary lady” remained firmly in the back of the jeep. She had absolutely no intention of getting out of that vehicle. Instead, she sat there in silence … and prayed.
We were a family who believed in prayer and we had each seen our own set of miracles, and we knew that God would help us out somehow, but on this night, it was the “missionary lady” who had “bathed her faith in heaven”. When she finished praying, she called out to my dad and announced, “Maynard. You can get back in now. I just had a talk with my Heavenly Father and He made everything all right.” To her it was as simple as that. Not only did we all pile back in the jeep, but the smoke disappeared, the engine started perfectly, and it never had a problem again.
I later learned that the “missionary lady” had a very long history with fixing broken mechanical things. Each morning she asked God “How can I serve you today?”, and nearly everyday something broke, which gave her and her nurse the opportunity to pray and minister to someone’s faith in God. When our jeep broke down that evening, on a less travelled road, on the side of a bay, far from home, it was out of the ordinary for us, but for her it was business as usual. It wasn’t about the breaking down of the jeep, it was about the building up of our faith, and that was the business she was in. She had developed hers a long time ago, in order to keep herself alive in impossible odds, and she had used that same faith over and over again to teach others about how the world really worked. As she sat there in the smoke, she knew exactly what she was doing. “This is how you fix things!” she was saying. “This is God in action!”
So why then could a woman use her faith to fix cars but not fix her own health? That is a mystery! All I know is that I have seen this concept before and on many different levels. People have both strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t mean that the concept of faith is broken, but it definitely implies that as fallible beings, we need a community of faith to cover a multitude of needs.
What happened under the hood of that jeep? We may never know exactly, but whatever needed to be fixed was fixed. The corroded or broken bits of metal, rubber, clips, ties, wires, hoses, or lubes were somehow re-fashioned and re-arranged and put back together that night better than new. Who did it? Was it an angel? Was it the Spirit of God? Who or what was the Quantum Mechanic that rearranged the molecules of matter in that jeep? We can understand the concept of taking a car to a garage to have it fixed, in which new parts are installed over a period of time; but this was different. That night, the new parts were re-engineered within the old ones, from the inside out, and the transformation transcended a requirement for time, and happened instantaneously. That is the very definition of Quantum Mechanics, and it is happening all around us on a level that most of us are not aware of.
When our jeep filled with smoke, there were many possible outcomes, the most likely of which was to have the jeep towed and to ask someone to give us a ride home. That jeep was working very hard and pulling its weight, and no one would have thought it odd, especially back then, for a vehicle to break down. It was commonplace for fan belts to snap apart and for radiators to overheat so that you had to get fresh water from a nearby stream, and no one blamed man or God for such common occurrences. However, I can’t imagine a more fitting outcome, for a vehicle that was filled to the brim with so many believers in faith, than to have it restored by a prayer from someone who refused to be defeated by their natural circumstances. The missionary lady showed us what could be accomplished when we are open to the possibilities that God has to offer. It is the calling of people who have faith, to use it in this way.
The kind of faith that fixes broken motors is supposed to be a part of an established way of life. However, we rarely think of it as a tool that we can use at will. We mistakenly think that, 1. we have to have a large quantity of it, 2. that it isn’t powerful enough for big problems, 3. that it is too hard to use, and 4. that faith is used to bring God's attention to the problem. However, none of that is true. In contrast, Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
The very definition of Faith says:
It comes in small packages,
It is extremely powerful for its size,
It is as easy to use as speaking a word, and
It is designed to remove the thing that blocks our path.
In a Quantum sense, when Faith is used as a tool, it can fix anything or anyone. It has no limitations. Like all forms of energy, Faith can create bonds or break them, but Faith has the unique ability to create bonds with heaven, and break bonds with sin.
If Faith had a label it would say ...
”CAUTION: The contents of this package is under extreme pressure from heaven and it is voice activated. Therefore be VERY careful what you say!”
Even though our day to day lives may feel like we are governed by the events around us, the truth is, we are completely and wholly governed by our relationship with God, and even though we live in a world that sells an answer for almost everything, we are going to need a Quantum Mechanic at some point in time, and there, in the thick of the smoke, is God, who transcends the brokenness and fear, and brings His own Quantum Rules to the table.