So a couple of years ago when I was in need of a car, a dear couple from my home church actually GAVE me a car for a dollar. Her name was Wilma (the car) and here is our first picture together!
The car was a blessing to me in so many ways. I was committed to making it a “ministry machine” which means almost any time someone needed to borrow a car, or to be driven to the airport, or the train station, or whatever-Wilma was game. Unfortunately, as she approached her 20th birthday and 175,000 miles, this dear car had seen better days. When she failed inspection and needed an additional $1,500 worth of work- I decided to let her go.
It was just a few months ago when this happened and I decided to be “car-less”. I don’t have the financial means right now to get a car, so I am going to be saving my pennies until the fall when I finally go shopping for Wilma 2.0 (Side note-that will not actually be my new car’s name). In the meantime, I am borrowing a co-worker’s bicycle (here’s another pic!) and pretty much relying on my awesome friends to get me to places.
Now, wouldn’t it have been nice if God, in all his gracious kindness, would have miraculously provided a car for me months ago? Yes, I would have loved that! Imagine my joy if my mom were to call me up and say “Sweet, sweet favorite middle child! Your father and I have decided that we don’t actually need my new, red, Volkswagen bug-you can have it!” Or a different phone call from church, “We were just about the sell this old mustang convertible when we thought-Betty sure would take good care of this car”. Would I have praised God? You betcha! Would I have bragged on his awesome ability to provide for me? Everyday!
But, you know He didn’t provide me a car like that. And that’s okay! In fact, that is more than okay! He provided me a good job and a good home where I am able to save my money to buy a good car for myself. He also has given me so much more than that. He provided generous people in my life who pick me up and take me to church, who let me borrow their bike, or their car, or their Land Rover (watch out!). And in all of those different things he is providing, He plants a lesson into each circumstance. Here is an example of just that happening a few months back:
I can’t thank you enough for your generosity in letting me borrow the Lexus while you were away! The Lord used the car to minister both in my life, and the lives of people around me, in many ways during the past three weeks. It was such a joy to be able to go visit loved ones, babysit on a whim, and go grocery shopping on my own!
One of the ways your car ministered to my life was teaching me about prayer. Before I was “car-less” I had the habit of jumping into my vehicle, putting on my seatbelt, and immediately turning on the radio. My mind would quickly be ushered into thinking about “what’s new” in the secular music world, or sinfully critiquing Christian music or radio stations. What God taught me through the Lexus was to not waste my driving time. I consistently kept the radio off and instead thanked the Lord for whatever upcoming opportunity I was driving too. The same thing would happen as I drove back home; I didn’t want to listen to music as much as I wanted to pray for what had just happened or what was to happen next. Even during the two hour drive home to Hagerstown, I was blessed by not flipping the off-switch to my mind, but by flipping the on-switch to the Holy Spirit who interceded for me as I intently prayed for each of my family members. I most definitely want to continue this habit whenever the Lord does provide a vehicle! Thank you for your generosity which allowed the Lord to teach me this lesson!
Another lesson your Lexus taught me, was simply a lesson of gratitude. In Daniel 2, Daniel hears of the King’s decree to execute all the wise men of Babylon (including Daniel and his dear friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) so he prays for mercy and that God would spare their lives. During the night, God revealed the King’s dream and meaning to Daniel in the form of a vision and immediately, for four verses, Daniel praises God! What struck me about this as I read it this morning, is that technically, God had not yet answered Daniel’s prayer! The King has not yet revoked the sentence, or even believed Daniel’s interpretation. For all Daniel knew-he could reveal the dream to the King and still be sent to the gallows! But, Daniel had faith in what God was going to do, and he had joy in what God had already done through providing a vision. In that same manner, when it is tempting for me to not trust that the Lord will take care of his daughter-I can remember what he has already done and rejoice! I can absolutely praise the Lord for my four verses about providing so many different ways of transportation already! Seeing that brings me joy; I know that I can have faith that he will continue to provide!
Thank you again for loving me well even while we were thousands of miles apart (12,125 miles according to Google Maps!). I am grateful to have you both in my life and look forward to following your examples of generosity in all things.
You see, when God provides in different ways, wrapped up in each provision is a lesson on His goodness. Sometimes it’s in the form of a car title for a dollar, and sometimes it’s in the form of a borrowed Lexus. But no matter what the format is-it still moves us to gratitude and should inspire us to learn from each experience. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!