I have these certain areas of my life that resemble my old faithful car too. Once, it was a vibrant functioning part of my heart and my mind right? I was actively maintaining it, doing things to keep it sharp, tuned up and functioning, and if not at peak performance at least all of the preventative maintenance was current and it was something I was consciously keeping aware of. But I got lazy. At a certain point I said to myself, “I’m not going to go out and start the old car this week because I get home late every day, and by the time I finally get home I don’t want to take the extra time to drive it down the block and back, it’s time for supper! Besides, one week isn’t really going to hurt anything and I’ll just make it up next week by driving it to town for groceries.” But then the second week comes and I have twelve different crises front and center on my plate and suddenly starting the old family car in the driveway never even registers as a blip on my radar screen. In fact, by the third week I had conveniently either forgotten or made yet another lame duck excuse to let it slide yet again because I was not prepared to address whatever freak problem I just knew was looming the minute I went out there to attempt to start the engine. You get the picture? I did that. I neglected my old faithful car that gave me 300 thousand good miles and kept my wife and children and me safe on the roads we had travelled up and down the coast from Johnson City Tennessee to Sarasota Florida, and back and forth across the state of South Carolina from Gaffney to Patriot’s Point. I have absolutely no one to blame but myself.
But now, out of necessity, I need to get the car cleaned up and running. We haven’t driven the car in almost a year and after talking it over with Debora we decided to take it off of our insurance policy because we don’t drive it; and if we can take it to auction and get some money for it then we can use that to help pay down some of our medical bills. And that’s when it happens in our personal lives. Out of necessity we find ourselves in a position where we have to address the mess of our own making. But now we’re out of our depth, in strange and unchartered waters we were never prepared to navigate. That’s when you realize you need someone greater than yourself. It’s time to go to The Father; which is exactly what I did. I called my father, 78 years young, who is the absolute antithesis of me in the sense that he was born with an inherent, almost eerie ability to walk into a situation cold, appraise the situation and formulate a solution with only a select few materials. For decades, time after time I’ve shared with him my challenges; something is out of kilter, something is broken, it won’t work. But he enters the situation and at the end I shake my head at how he cobbles, restoring, in a vivid and practical sense resurrecting common ordinary objects, restoring them to the service they were designed to fulfill. I don’t even think he realizes how much a picture He is of our Heavenly Father and the healing work He does in the souls of broken men and women.
He takes me to his garage, and standing in front of his work bench he reaches up and begins to pull a small array of tools almost randomly from the pegboard shelving hooks off the wall. A roll of duct tape, heavy duty wire cutters, two long handled socket rails, an extension and quarter-inch mini-ratchet, a flat needle file out of an old red vinyl pouch, and a green can of Prep-sol next to the deep sink. I carry what I can, and he carries the rest as I follow him out of the garage and back down to my house to the old car that sits now with the hood propped up. His hands move across the engine like familiar territory, he knows, because he’s invested years wrestling with the complexities of similar engines sorting the sordid problems they encounter with use and with age. He has never neglected a vehicle like I have, and for that I am embarrassed and a little ashamed. But, he’s not critical of me, because he loves me, and he knows I called on him for help, and that’s what fathers are called to do; that’s what fathers do.
If we invested our energy, our focus, and our time wrestling with these things that seek to become a stronghold in our lives, through calling upon our Heavenly Father, are we so lacking in faith to not believe that He will come to help us? Did the son of God not say “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13). I am in awe at how God desires to answer when we genuinely cry out to Him. We just have to be willing to step out in faith again, and sometimes it takes one miraculous experience. But for most of us including myself, it requires us to come continually, and it takes what it takes. I have to learn the lesson of Peter: “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. He was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper to ask, “Lord, who is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me!” I am at a loss of words because I have to pray, I see where I have been a liar, less than honest with myself and with God, and He has only shown me strong love. May we search our hearts and do the work on our heart it demands today. May we willingly abandon our pride and follow hard after God at all cost today, because that’s what He’s created us to do. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” - (Matthew 5:16)