Southern California is known for its car culture, which is just a really nice way of saying the public transportation infrastructure is grossly underdeveloped. In short, if you are going to go anywhere, really, you need a car.
Unfortunately, few things in life frustrate me more than my car. I need to get places! And I need to do so without the fear of breaking down. Do you know what happens to people who end up on the side of the freeways in LA? Bad things, I tell you. And nothing makes me feel more vulnerable than having to get my car fixed–what keeps Bob Mechanic from telling me he needs to repair, well, everything? How would I know if he was lying to me? (I feel this way about Dentists, also. . .) And I don’t want to ask for help when the wheels are in the shop–I loath depending on the kindness of people and their schedules.
So this weekend, I was headed before dawn up the 14 Freeway to Lancaster to speak at a women’s conference. Ten miles from my destination, the car decided to resist acceleration and protested with a cacophony of screeching metal.
Did I mention that car problems frustrate me?
I wasn’t going to be late–I was going up early for a fun breakfast gathering before the conference. I wasn’t alone–my friend Carly was with me. My phone worked fine. No one hit or shot us while we waited. AAA was speedy, and CJ, my breakfast host was able to give us a ride as soon as the tow truck got there.
It was fine. Everything was fine! I was safe. I had my notes and Bible, breakfast, coffee and friends. Better than fine!
Except, of course, for my sin-laden response.
Just so we can establish the baseline of what I’m talking about here: this situation has pointed out to me, yet again, that I am impatient, distrustful, fearful, independent, and proud. Other sins are evident as well, but that is a reasonable summary.
So what do I do?
Fix the car, yes. I have made 35 phone calls to two dealerships, two roadside assistance organizations, and three tow truck drivers. Now I have to wait for the mechanic to order the parts and complete the repairs.
Fix my heart? Jesus is working on that one. Just like the car, there are helpful steps along the way for me, but in the end, I have to depend on Him:
Confess. I need to recognize where my sin still raises its head. Some days it is more obvious to me than other days. Most days it is really obvious to the people around me, so trying to pretend its not there is useless.
Thank the Lord! I am grateful for the opportunity to see and learn, and I think the Lord for that! I remember Paul David Tripp saying that he prays every morning, “Lord, I am a man in need of change.” I’m glad for growth, even in the midst of something as insignificant as car trouble. I am also grateful for the helpful friends He has put in my life. What a blessing it is to be so cared for!
Rest: In recognizing my sin and confessing it, I am resting in the merciful grace of the Father of all mercies who has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in and through the righteousness of Jesus.
This car and my sin point remind me of the Fall. But the fact that I can confess and grow points to the work of Jesus and the rest that will one day come when everything will be made right. Take a moment to watch the song below and listen for the lyric that rolls in my head: “All of our sadness here will come undone. . .” Some day, that sanctification will be complete!