“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
n Africa I was outside preparing wood for a shelf. Several village men walked past me and shook their heads. “It’s amazing that you, a white lady can do the work of a carpenter and do it with your left hand.”
After hammering several nails, I grabbed two pieces of wood to put together. They kept slipping apart.
One of the men walked to my table. “I will hold the sections while you hammer.”
I looked into his eyes.
He looked back into mine. “I trust you won’t hit my hand.”
How did he know that? I could have whacked his fingers. He held the wood, and I pounded the nail without injuries.
A few days ago here in the States my car wouldn’t start. The elderly gentlemen whom I care for kept asking, “Is someone coming to help you with your car?”
After two days, no one came.
He grinned. “I have a battery charger.”
Together we dug out the heavy container.
He said, “The electrical cord is out in the shed.”
The poor man is forbidden from going to the shed because there are too many obstacles there that could hurt him. I reminded him of this.
He frowned. “I can’t do anything. And I want to do something.”
Seeing his disappointment, I sighed. “Let’s go outside and study the problem.”
He had been a handyman, and I hoped my car problem would distract him from going to the shed. I cranked the engine, but there was no sign of life.
He said, “Let’s get the jumper cables from my truck.”
My car was parked about thirty feet behind his on a narrow driveway on top of a hill. He suggested I back up his car and angle it next to mine to attach the cables.
The bushes on the side of the driveway made me think it might support the weight. Trying to direct, he stood behind me. Seeing his constant hand and arm tremors, I wanted to cry. He was trying so hard, but with all the shaking and waving, I couldn’t tell if he wanted me to go forward, backward or sideways.
I leaped out of his car. “I can’t do this. It’s just too hard for me.” I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because I couldn’t make out his hand movements.
He suggested, “You can turn my car around on the widest part of the driveway to face your car.”
Turning a giant Buick all the way around on a narrow drive on top of hill would be difficult, but I’m used to his car. So I backed into a slightly thicker section of the driveway and turned the wheel toward the hill.
Suddenly, he stood right in front of me on the edge of the rise. I wanted to scream, “Please, get out of the way.” But he was trying so hard to help me. I turned the wheel all the way to the left and backed up a few inches. He kept standing in front of the car with his hand on the hood, as if that would stop the vehicle from going off the crest. If I’d have gone over the hill, I’d have run him over first.
I managed to back up a few inches, then turn the wheel to the left and go forward several inches. But I could have put it in “drive,” instead of “reverse” and knocked him down on my way to the bottom of the hill.
All the time he kept smiling as he stood in front of me. Then I thought. He trusted me to drive properly and not hit him. He trusted me to get that car turned around without injury or damage. So I kept putting it in “reverse,” backing up a few inches, and then turning to the left and driving forward just a little bit. I followed this procedure over and over and got the car turned all the way around until his hood faced my engine.
He was so happy, grinning from ear to ear. And I was thankful he hadn’t lost his precarious balance or fallen.
With Parkinson’s his movements are slow and cumbersome. His tremors made it hard for him to attach the jumper cables, but together we got it and the car started. The whole job took two hours. As he wound up the cords to put them away, I smiled and said. “Thank you. We did it.”
He looked happier than I’d seen him in a long time. “You’re welcome.”
I kept wondering why he trusted me, and what makes us trust God. Maybe over the last year and a half of caring for him he had learned to trust me, but some people find it difficult to trust because of how they were raised. Perhaps they didn’t grow up with adults they could trust. I believe when we are surrounded by those we can depend on we learn to trust.
Most important of all, is that we must trust God. But how do we trust God and what makes us trust Him?
I’m looking forward to your comments.