It could’ve been a really, really lousy day, but instead, it was a reminder of God’s ability to provide for us and change our attitudes.
Last Wednesday (on our first morning back from the missions conference), Tracy rushed out the door to start her day and discovered that the car wouldn’t start. She notified me and left in the van, leaving me to get the kids to school and fix the car. It was another time to be grateful for the unusual blessing of a third vehicle, and yet, two days ago, I joyfully let go of that blessing. What gives?
As part of moving to South Africa in about 14 months, our vehicles are among the things we need to purge, but the truck has always been a special case. With 238,978 miles on it, it has been showing a few signs of wear for a while, say, since before we bought it four years ago at 232,875 miles. It was, I assure you, quite the bargain: a full-size, 4×4 truck with an extended cab and enough age to be nearly worthless. It was a perfect solution for the amount of use we needed from a truck (occasional mulch or compost runs, taking brush to the dump, grabbing lumber for the kids’ beds, and so on). It was a rusty, worn-out gas hog that would’ve never worked for us as a daily driver (long commutes in opposite directions), but we had full access to a truck for very little money.
However, rust tends to accelerate, and there was less and less of the truck over the years. This spring, I noticed the tailgate was falling apart and no longer had enough metal on the hinges to connect with the bed. As summer progressed, the metal mounts that held up the bed dissolved into rust and either crumbled under the bed’s weight or poked through it, denting the plastic bed liner and dropping the bed onto the frame itself. We wondered and prayed about whether to junk it, sell it, or try to make it work for the jobs we’ll have as we downsize for moving. I was leaning toward building a simple wooden bed, since its engine still ran well.
Last Wednesday, though, convinced me to let it go. The details were a day-long comedy of errors, but the gist is that while waiting for the auto parts store to test the car’s battery, the truck’s transmission – apparently already leaking – dumped the rest of its fluid in the parking lot. I can’t say that my first words were prayers, but the next ones were (I’m still working on that first response).
Lord, please let the truck last long enough to get home, let me be there before the kids are, and let the battery be the only problem.
I bought a new battery, filled the truck with transmission fluid, called my folks to go wait for the kids, and drove home cautiously. I was pretty sure I’d never make another drive in the truck, if it even got home. It did, and it made one more trip Monday to the junkyard, where it blessed us with a little income instead of a disposal fee.
Through it all, I’d noticed something different about myself. Joy. It really could’ve been a lousy day, but I just kept thinking how blessed we were. We had a car to break down, and a truck to go fix it. The car had only one problem, easily solved with a new battery (and the old one had lasted eight years). The cost of the battery was easy for us to pay. The truck broke down at a great location, and the transmission leak settled any debates about what to do with it. I got home safely in a dying vehicle, and I was in time for the kids. Even if I hadn’t been, my parents had been able to get there for them on basically no notice. Because the battery fixed the car, the kids and I were still able to go have fun at the pumpkin patch, where I met a really nice couple. The kids and I took a pizza to the hospital and ate supper with Tracy.
It was a really great day.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12