Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Just a few months ago I bought my dream vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler. Anyone who knows me knows of the saga and the trials of the Dodge Nitro that preceded this blessing. The Nitro was broken… all. the. time. In a period of two and a half years, it needed both right and left head gaskets, a water pump, a thermostat, serpentine belt, a muffler, two catalytic converters (it only got one), and I could go on… no kidding… I could actually go on. As strange as it is to say, I actually really liked the Nitro. It went wherever I needed it to go (when it wasn’t in the shop), I was happy to have a four-wheel drive SUV, and I could haul a lot of stuff around in it—ask my former marching band students - it was like home-base for band camp (need a sweatshirt, no problem. Band-Aid, I got you. Granola bar, sure thing). Problem is, I was settling for what I thought I had to have… something unreliable that broke down on me all the time.
One day on the way to church volleyball, I saw this Jeep sitting there in the dealership’s lot, and it was like the heavens opened up and sang. Keep in mind that I passed Jeeps all the time and would just think, “one day.” What made this different… I couldn’t really say for sure, but I decided to jump. I bought that Jeep the next day. There was much rejoicing. I feel spoiled all the time now. I’ve had it for almost three months, and the check engine light hasn’t come on once. The freedom panels are off every chance I get. My nephew loves it, and my cousin’s son, Anthony, loves “driving” it up and down his drive way. In the meantime, I’m learning metaphorical lessons.
First, don’t settle. Obviously, I’m not saying run out and get in stupid debt, but what I am saying is that sometimes I find myself thinking that I don’t deserve better for whatever reason. Recently something really good happened to me, and I was in shock and disbelief. In that moment, I felt like God said to me, “I want to bless you,” and I had a little bit of a difficult time with that. Why? I’m His child. Don’t mistake what I’m saying here—life is hard and not all blessings are material objects, frequently they are not—but why would I have a tough time “buying” that God wants to give me good and perfect gifts that come down from the Father of the heavenly lights (James 1:17). I clearly need to rearrange my thinking in some ways. I’m learning that.
Second, just keep going. My sister and I took the Jeep out not long after I got it because why have a Jeep if you’re not going to take it four-wheeling? I was trying to go easy on it; it has to last me awhile. So, we were picking our way around the nasty stuff— until we accidently weren’t. It was a giant mud puddle that seemed to me roughly the square footage of my living room that I thought I was going around until I was right in front of it. At that point it was “go or get stuck.” So, I yelled “hold on,” and we plunged in. It was like Moses parting the Red Sea—if the Red Sea was muddy water that smelled like death. Praise God, the Jeep is no worse for the wear (cause it’s a Jeep! And God is FULL of grace), and I’m more careful now. I guess the point is that sometimes, you think you know what’s coming, but you just don’t see it until it’s in front of you. You’ve just got to keep going. We may plan our path, but the Lord determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9). I mean, none of us would have thought that 2020 would have looked like this when we were ringing in the New Year, but here we are. We just got to hold on to Jesus and keep going. He’s got our course all laid out and is way more trustworthy than my Wrangler to get us where we need to be.
Third, somewhere along the way I think I forgot that life is an adventure. I got weighed down by imagined responsibilities and cares that aren’t mine to be lifting and walking around with. I think the Jeep has helped me to remember that I used to be a bit more carefree and fearless. I wouldn’t trade the wisdom or lessons learned, but I could go back to being a little more of a wild card and trusting Jesus with the fall out. After all, perfect love drives out fear (I John 4:18).
Finally, God’s timing is something. I have wanted a Wrangler since I was in high school if not earlier. Like a lot of things, I prayed and waited. I don’t know why God chose to answer my prayer now and not before and not later, but I’m thankful. It gives me hope about other things in my life. This tangible answer to prayer gives me hope for the less tangible things for which I pray and wait, trusting God’s timing will be good even if I don’t understand it.
I’m not sure what you’re learning or how you’re learning it, but I seem to be about object lessons this month. I hope the Jeep and I will have a long and blessed road ahead of us. I hope that you will have a long and blessed road ahead of you as well! -Erin McDonald