“Please Jesus! Can we have a new car, or fix this one – or whatever!”
This was my desperate prayer as I drove down the road. I’d just spent 15 minutes telling my friend why I hated the car. “Just wait until I drive off, then you’ll really hear it,” I’d said.
Sure enough, I start heading down the road and the squealing starts. My friend nods his understanding.
We’d attempted 4 times to get the problem fixed. You know what it’s like – you’ve got to drop your car off at the mechanic for a day. Figure out how to still get the kids to and from school, and get yourself where you need to be. A day without your car is hard work.
So you can imagine my reluctance to “try again” after 4 times of this inconvenience, 4 times of forking out money – and 4 times no improvement to the issue.
The car was embarrassing to drive. You could hear us coming a mile away and people always stared.
To be honest, I’d never loved the car. It was a practical choice. We needed 7 seats, 4wd, tow bar and roof racks. Anything else was secondary, and with a limited budget, we didn’t have a lot of choices.
So after more than a year of dealing with this issue, I was at my wit’s end. And thus the desperate prayer.
That afternoon I got in the car again to go to the shops. It was noisier than ever! As I got further down the road I realised something else was wrong besides the squealing belt.
I barely made it to the shops and back. I’d even considered abandoning the car down the shops and calling for someone to pick me up, the sound was that bad.
When I got home, hubby took the car for a spin and listened to the noise. “It’s got a hole somewhere, I think.” He looked a little worried. Later he told me that whatever was wrong might cost us a few thousand dollars to fix.
The car had to be towed to the dealer mechanic in the next town. That alone cost us a few hundred dollars.
I was stressed. We had no car. But I was also excited. I remembered my prayer and I figured that God MUST be up to something.
God provided in the interim. My dear friend didn’t need her car for a while and so she leant us hers.
It took more than a week before we got any sort of answer about the car. It wasn’t looking good, and my husband concluded that the car was not worth fixing.
Now, I’d been hoping to hold out on replacing our car for about another year. We had so much going on financially and didn’t exactly have the money right now for another car. Particularly not a car that ticked all the practical boxes and be one that I’d actually like driving.
Additionally, we were hoping to eventually get a second car to supplement the “practical family car” because if I go away, my husband can’t transport the kids in his work vehicle (no back seats). My hope was that it would be the “nicer” car that I actually liked driving.
So what were we supposed to do right now? Get the practical car? Or the nicer car? Certainly having both had become unrealistic for the foreseeable future.
A friend asked me at this time, “What do you want, Helen?” I honestly didn’t know because I didn’t know what the best answer was here. So I left it up to God.
The reality was, we still needed the 4WD, tow bar and roof racks – it was essential for how we function as a family. And while 7 seats wasn’t as essential, it certainly was convenient and made life easier in numerous circumstances.
Our budget was small – in fact, we had to do a little bit of robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul. Money that was assigned for something else had to be reallocated. We’ll trust God for the restoration of those funds when it comes time for that something else (it’s quite an important something else).
We started looking for the practical choice. Actually, I’d already been looking at a car before we knew for sure we had to buy one. So I inquired about it.
Within 2 days, I’d seen it, purchased it and driven it home.
Here’s a message I sent to my friends about the car:
It is 11 years old, and has 220000km on the clock. But it’s a Toyota, looks really nice, is great to drive and has the things we needed (7 seats, tow bar, 4wd, roof racks)And it has the nice things that I like too – leather seats, lots of cup holders, Bluetooth, steering wheel controls, and POWER.And it has nice things I didn’t even think of, like heated seats and separate climate control for the back seats. The aircon at the back is the best I’ve ever seen. No more kids sweltering in the back!I feel respectable driving around now. And my love of driving is returning!God is good!
Helen, did you get your functional and lovely car all in one?
That stopped me in my tracks.
Yes, yes I had! I hadn’t realised at first, but God had answered our practical needs and my “desires”.
Our lives had turned upside down after my desperate prayer for a new car. It threw us into turmoil for a couple of weeks. A lot of stress, a lot of unknown. But on the other side of it all, God answered our prayers exceedingly more than we imagined.
Are you ready for the turmoil and inconvenient “middle” between your prayer and the answer? It’ll be worth it, that’s for sure!