Fly in the Appointment

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“Good grief! When it rains, it pours.”

It was my sister's seventy-third birthday and she was celebrating with out-patient surgery.

Four weeks prior, Kay had toppled off her front porch with a simple misstep. Although Kay had visited her local clinic, the first X-ray showed no sign of break. When the “bad sprain” seemed to get no better, a persistent friend insisted on a second opinion. And now, almost a month later, Kay was in a hospital gown awaiting stabilization of a broken arm.

When she and her husband Ray arrived at the surgical center that morning, the tire light was signaling a malfunction. They knew they had picked up a nail the day before and had already taken the car to get the tire repaired. Yet after the fifty-mile trek to the regional medical center, the indicator light had come back on.

While Kay and I waited for the staff to wheel her into surgery, our husbands bought two new tires for her car.

As the car rolled off the lot with new Michelins, the engine light on their Mercury Grand Marquis came on. Sputtering and puffing, the car barely managed across town to limp back to the hospital.

“Something’s wrong with the car,” my husband Mark told me as he came into the waiting area. “And it needs to be taken care of before they can head back home.”

With my very shallow understanding of mechanics, I prayed a simple prayer. “Lord, let it be something little,” I said aloud.

While the orthopedic surgeon operated on Kay, the mechanic treated her car. Within an hour, the service technician called to give us his conclusion.

“After a basic diagnostic engine test, I found something highly unusual,” he began. “The problem was in your oxygen sensor that measures the flow of oxygen. In turn gasoline is mixed to burn the engine. A faulty oxygen sensor results in fuel constriction causing the engine to cut out.”

Seeing dollar signs, Mark took a deep breath. “Does it need to be replaced?” he queried.

“Uh…well, that’s the deal,” the mechanic continued. “There was a common house fly laying on the sensor. That insect was keeping the sensor from working properly. Once we removed the fly, the sensor kicked back in and now the car is running fine.”

As Mark turned to tell us the good news, I began to laugh. “It was something little!” I exclaimed. “God sure has a sense of humor.”

Ray chuckled, “About the only thing that could have been smaller would have been a gnat.”

I’m not sure what a gnat would do to an oxygen sensor. But I’m more convinced than ever that God hears prayer  -- even about "the least of these."