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Lessons learned from a crank sensor

September 2016 | by Barry Loeber

Trials are part and parcel of the Christian life. We may not like that, but it is a fact we have to face up to. Trials refine us and remove the dross. But, I never imagined in a million years that I would learn something about trials from a ‘crank sensor’!

What on earth is a crank sensor? Well, any car mechanic reading this article should know what it is, but for those ignorant like myself here is an explanation (if you can follow it! In the diagram of the sensor, 1 = coil, 2 = soft iron, 3 = magnet, 4 = electrical connector), courtesy of Wikipedia: ‘A crank sensor is an electronic device used in an internal combustion engine to monitor the position or rotational speed of the crankshaft.

‘This information is used by engine management systems to control ignition system timing and other engine parameters… This sensor is the most important sensor in modern day engines. When it fails, there is a chance the engine will not start, or cut out while running’.

I am far from being an expert on cars. In fact, I do not even drive, although I probably drive my wife up the wall at times. What I am is a Christian who seeks to learn from anything that comes my way.


In the past, my wife and I have been on car journeys when, from time to time, the car decides to go to sleep. Not the most considerate car, especially when you are very exhausted after a long day, with an unhappy little person in the child seat. So it is a case of trying to park safely, and, after a phone call, awaiting the services of emergency help.

Once we broke down on a busy road in Brighton, almost opposite the Brighton Pavilion. One chap who drove by shouted, ‘A nice place to park!’

We did not think so, although we detected the sarcasm in his voice mixed with a little anger. The car engine periodically cut out while running, or would not start at times. It was most frustrating and rather time-consuming.

Just like the crank sensor being the most important sensor in modern day engines, faith is the most important sensor to us Christians. Faith is not just vital for modern Christians, but has always been vital since the beginning.

We read that Abraham was ‘justified by faith’. Our Saviour had not even entered the world as a man, but it was faith in the promises of a future Saviour that saved this man, and caused him to think and act the way that he did.

The car was eventually fixed after much difficulty, and the crank sensor problem was finally discovered, although it first went through a few ‘experts’. Sadly, there are some Christians who when faced with a few trials seem to turn to 101 things rather than turn to God.

They go to so called ‘experts’ to help rid them of these various trials, but fail to turn to ‘the expert’, our sovereign and glorious God. The Bible is the manual of life, but how many are reading it in these spiritually shallow days? The throne room of prayer is open to all the people of God, but how many Christians are entering in and receiving the blessings that await?


Faithful men of God are delivering sound, biblical sermons, but how many Christians are availing themselves of this wonderful means of grace? Why are so many ‘churches’ cutting out the evening service on a Sunday? I suggest it is due to the fact that faith is diminishing and worldliness is increasing.

Faith is not being treated as the most important thing to many Christians in our day, especially here in Great Britain. Faith is not being looked after or cared for. Maintenance of our faith is becoming seriously neglected.         

I freely confess that I lacked the fruit of the Spirit (as found in Galatians 5:22-23) each time the car decided to doze off. I was not always loving and kind to the car. I sometimes wished it had never been made (we are back on loving terms again — just!). I was not always patient while awaiting help.Our forefathers would be pretty shocked if they could see the spiritual state of this nation, and indeed the spiritual condition of our hearts. Why are we so blind to all the spiritual folly that is going on in our nation? When will we repent and get ourselves right with God?


I did not always exercise self-control to those who hurled abuse at myself and my wife, even though it was beyond our control. Not that I retaliated; at least, not outwardly. But, inwardly I would become very angry at times, and patience and gentleness would go out the window.

It is incredible how we Christians can react, or indeed over-react in certain situations. It can be most scary and frightening. The basket of the fruit of the Spirit can be overturned, and a lack of faith take control.


I am so thankful that God is a faithful God. He is faithful to every single one of his promises.

He does not chop and change like the seasons. It is said that in this nation of ours we can have four seasons in one day. We are too often like that. We blow hot and cold, but our God remains constant in his love towards us. He is a patient and longsuffering God, who is kind and gentle with us.

I am also thankful that the imperfections that are manifestly apparent in me will one day be no more, and the perfection of Jesus Christ will cover me for all eternity. This body of mine will decay and rot, like the car that will one day no longer be roadworthy. But, I know that day is coming soon when I shall receive my new and resurrected body. (Not quite sure if I can afford a new car. Thankfully there will be no cars in heaven!).

There are so many lessons to be learned from practically anything in life. Too often the Lord is waiting to teach us, but we are not always open to receive these valuable, and what could be life-changing, lessons.

Maybe the dishwasher or leaking bathroom tap has something to teach us? Let’s be tuned into life’s circumstances and become better Christians for it.

Barry Loeber is a member of the world mission committee at Gateway Baptist Church, Burgess Hill