Of God and Jalopys

After a grueling 1-month plus search, I just bought my daughter her first car today.

The truth be told, it was a kind of cooperative purchase. My daughter has had a savings account since she was a baby that all of her extra loose change went into. She used that money to pitch in a little. My wife and I contributed more, along with a gift from her grandfather. Together she was able to get her a pretty nice little Scion with some very high mileage. However, I think it’s a good little car and will service her well for a while.

As I stated earlier, the search for this car lasted for over a month. I went into this whole “first car” search totally unprepared. I guess because of the economy and the gas prices, the price of small, cheap, fuel-efficient cars has gone through the roof. More than that, though, is the fact that there just aren’t that many to choose from at any price.

We live in a metropolitan area with an excess of 5 million people. You would think there would be an abundance of good, cheap, small cars, especially since this is Texas. We do love our pickup trucks, you know. But during this last month, I spent an excess of $300 in fuel searching for a car that was just deemed “acceptable”. I wasn’t picky, honest. I merely wanted a car that didn’t look like it had been through a night of joy riding by a bunch of drunk teenage boys. I guess that was going to prove to be far more difficult than I realized.

My father has a sort of philosophy. He says you can learn something from every single person, if you’re just willing to pay attention. you may not learn the right way to do things, but you can learn what nor to do. Either way, it’s learning from others. See, this isn’t my first go-around with buying a car. At all. I’ve bought many, from all kinds of people for all kinds of prices, with all kinds of mileage. But I guess I what I learned during this experience tops all others I’ve ever had.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Since 1998 there apparently hasn’t been a car manufactured in any colors other than silver and black.
  • Appearantly, every car has been totaled and has a “salvaged” title.
  • Apparently the term “never been in an accident” doesn’t apply to wrinkled fenders and caved in doors.
  • Additionally, the term “good, clean, straight car” doesn’t apply to cars that have been beaten so badly with hail that they look like a large golf ball.
  • The length of the list of after market speed parts installed by the previous owner is directly proportionate the amount of underwear showing over the young male owner’s baggy pants.

Nevertheless, although it was a long experience, it all turned out well in the end. She got a good car and though we paid higher than we originally intended for a car, it’s still a lower price than what most are selling for currently.

Like everything else in our lives, especially so in tough times, this experience of finding a car for my daughter was another lesson I needed in God’s sovereign timing and grace.

When we started looking for a car we prayed that we would find her a good car we could afford. As time went on, the whole ‘afford’ thing was beginning to look a little hopeless. Again, this is a metro area of 5 million plus and although it seems unbelievable, we really weren’t that picky. Nevertheless, we prayed….several times.

Finally we found a good car but it was too expensive. We had just finally concluded we were going to have to break down and spend even more and we committed to buy the car.

In God’s timing and grace, though, the owner of the car went out of town for over a week and we couldn’t complete the sale. While waiting, impatiently I might add, another car just like the one we had settled on popped up for sale. Same car, same condition, same high mileage. The biggest difference was that it was over $2000 cheaper……well, and silver, of course.

During this entire car search God knew just what we needed and I have to believe that in spite of our impatience, everything worked out according to God’s timing. After all, didn’t we ask him to help us find one we could afford?

As a believer, God is involved in every detail of our lives. He’s making straight our way and leveling our paths before us. We only have to ask and believe. And of course, be willing to accept His will.

Too many Christians want to hear an audible voice, or even a sign from God. I’m the worst. However, in the day-to-day life of a believer God is unfolding their life before them, according to His will. Through prayer and patience, God carries those that are His along through life.

When something like this car deal works out the way it does in my life, I’m always left feeling a little ashamed before God. I guess shame isn’t really the word. More like humbled. Oh, sure, I pray and claim to have faith, but I’m always trying to push forward rather than accepting His timing and His will. Then in the end, after it’s over, I can always look back and see even the smallest details that God was orchestrating in the matter.

I guess that’s what faith in God is. It’s not convincing yourself He’s going to heal you or fill your checking account. It’s praying, waiting, and trusting that He will work it all out for the best, according to His will, because He loves us.

Faith, after all, is actually coming to believe the promises God has already given us, not pressing Him for more.

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