The story of how I freaked out and received a car anyway.

It was 9:32pm at the end of a long Tuesday. Work was still in crazy mode from the move, laundry sat in forlorn piles in our bedroom, and the empty fridge could not be ignored another day. My calendar was ballooning out of control with unexpected social engagements, and my head ached.

I called hubby on my way to the grocery store, hoping for a pep talk. Instead I heard:
“So, the car place called. They said it’s the engine. The guy said they could probably sell our car for parts.”

I gripped the steering wheel of our one working car. How could they offer so little for my faithful little Camry with the awesome gas mileage? And we’d just replaced the air conditioning that summer.

Suddenly, out of my mouth were coming fearful, panicky words that flung accusation on my man and fuel on my fear. It wasn’t pretty.

Fear leaves little room for trust, especially when I speak it out loud. 

The next night I was still tense. I drove to the gym, popped in my earbuds, and clicked on a podcast by one of my favorite Bible teachers.

My legs and arms began to move in rhythm, and she started to tell a story of a whole nation who panicked. They looked into a new land, and instead of feeling excited that God had finally brought them to this beautiful place, they freaked out because the current residents made them feel small. They worried that they and their kids would be squashed like grasshoppers if they so much as stepped over the border.

The fear fostered amnesia. They forgot how God had rescued them out of slavery. They forgot how He’d fed them for 40 years. They forgot how He had already destroyed two nations for them.

I stepped off the machine and walked to the mats, feeling like the story was mine.

Those Jews looked at their smallness instead of God’s bigness, and they shrunk back. Then she said something that made my pounding heart pause: “Their fear was rebellion.”

After wiping away the tears that threatened to spill all over the exercise mat, I had an internal dialogue with God.

God, I’m sorry for not trusting you. I’m sorry for panicking instead of remembering how faithful you’ve ALWAYS been. You will always give me just what I need, even if it’s not what I want. I don’t want to forget your goodness. I don’t want to rebel. 

There in the sweat and clang of the gym, I heard him say, Daughter, I forgive you. And I will always be your shepherd. Trust me. Stay close to me. Don’t let your circumstances make you freak out. I am bigger than your circumstances.

A few days after my realization in the gym, hubby and I were actually feeling pretty excited about the one-car thing. After all, it was something we had seriously considered before. It meant less insurance to pay, less gas to buy, and less money to spend on up-keep. And it wasn’t like we would be stranded. We have a bike, and we live a mere five minute walk from the University bus route.

We had just about decided that having only one car was the coolest move we ever made when my dad called. He said they had a car they weren’t using, and wanted to know when they could drive it down to us.

Aww, thanks, Dad! You’re so sweet to let us borrow it for a while!”

He started laughing on the other end. “Oh, no sweetheart. We want to give you this car.”

My jaw dropped, and I almost dropped the phone with the weight of what was being offered. After all my freaking out, my clenching and grasping at control, he was giving us a car.

So unexpected. So extravagant. So undeserved. And I thought to myself, this is what grace looks like.

Ok, I have to add this disclaimer–I don’t share this story to say that God is good BECAUSE He gave us a car. Even if we had lost both cars at once, with no replacement, God would still be good because that is who He is. He is good, and He has already shown that goodness and mercy with crazy extravagance on a cross where He died in my place. 

I share this story because I want to remind myself to trust my Shepherd, and I hope that it can encourage someone else too. 

This month as the Christmas lights go up and the stores vie for our attention, I want to hope in Jesus, and not my circumstances. I want to cling to Him, the rock-solid constant, so that finances, social engagements, lack of sleep, or messy kitchens don’t throw me for another crazy loop. 

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