Sunday, June 9, 2019
One morning in April our son-in-law Dirk called to say someone wanted to give us their deceased father’s car. We had prayed that God would give us a car, and once again he was moving beyond our wildest dreams to do precisely that. We were told we needed to wait, but the details were being worked out and the car would be ours soon. This was stunning news!
The man who had passed away was a dear friend in our church family whose daughter and her husband had asked Dirk and Jennifer over lunch if they knew of anyone they could bless with the car. Dirk said there was, and he mentioned us. Jennifer spoke of that as an exciting moment of recognition that God was once again moving to meet our needs.
This dear couple had decided to pay off a large amount still owing on the car from the estate, amplifying the magnitude of the gift. And with mileage under 17,000, the fully equipped 2016 Honda CRV is like new and still carries a large resale value.
When I was invited out to the country to see the car, I was so overwhelmed with God’s gift that the car seemed too sacred for me even to get into it. And once again two weeks later when we met up with our friend’s daughter at the DMV to finalize the transaction, the sense of awe at God’s amazing, gracious love expressed through this couple came over us as we sat in the car for the first time and drove it home.
We have named the car The Hug. It is a picture to us of how utterly trustworthy God is, and that he has determined to provide for us as we trust in him. This past Wednesday we returned from a long road trip to Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. What a tremendous blessing to be hugged all the way there and back!
When the Honda was promised we began to think about getting rid of the 2006 Kia Sedona van that has served us so well for these many years. With 220,000 miles on it, and increasing creaks and groans, it is no longer the car for a road trip like the one we just enjoyed in The Hug. But it does have miles left on it and we discovered that especially with our grandson Tobiah’s excellent detailing of the car, it is still worth approximately $1000-1,200. We wondered if we should try to sell the car, but then God began to impress on our hearts that we should simply give the car away if there was a need for it. Julia and I agreed that we could easily do that – especially considering The Hug.
What surprised me as we prayerfully considered giving the van away was how often stories from the Gospels came to me about showing mercy, especially the stories found in Matthew 18:21-35 and Luke 7:40-50. There Jesus spoke of a generous mercy prompted by both the greater mercy shown us personally, and the love for Him now filling our hearts. Recently a loving neighbor told me she could not think of anyone more deserving of that new car in our driveway than us. And our postman, who is a fellow believer, said a workman is worthy of his wages. I know they both meant well and out of love were affirming the kind of people God is helping us to become. Yet, deep in my soul I remain deeply humbled by this gift and feel so unworthy to have received such an amazing hug from God.
The story grows BIG in God’s grace…
Friday evening, we were privileged to have our grandsons for pizza and a movie. Afterward, we took them home to share some gifts we had collected on our vacation, traveling in The Hug through the Finger Lakes region. As we were leaving Dirk mentioned that we should think about Randy and Candice Strattman as a possibility for our van.
As Julia and I prayed about it, we were convinced that God was telling us to give the van to Randy and Candice, encouraging them to put any money they might give us into the van so that their family could be safe.Today, following the church service we met with the Strattmans in the church parking lot and were able to follow His voice. There it was our joy to pass on to them this van that has been such a wonderful vehicle for us over the years.
What a blessing to witness the same joy on their faces over the van that we have experienced over the last couple of months regarding the Honda. We drew great pleasure from watching their son Jackson romp around inside the van, and to hear how they could all go together as a family in one vehicle to the outdoor movie theater. Randy used the same words I had used regarding The Hug when he said, “I don’t know how to say thanks.” Candice added on Facebook: “Words can’t even begin to express how grateful and blessed we are. These amazing wonderful people, after being blessed themselves, decided to pay it forward and GAVE us a van!!!!! No more taking two cars everywhere when we have the girls!”
God is so very generous with us, and now we have had the joy of showing his generous love to others. God be praised!
We know that God’s heart is blessed in this, and so we too are greatly blessed.
I mentioned earlier that on the day Dirk took me out to our deceased friend’s home to see The Hug for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the sense of sacredness in the gift of the Honda. First, it was being given to us because our dear brother had gone home to the Lord – a sacred moment in itself. Second, it was such an amazing demonstration of God’s provision in answer to prayer!
I said to the three with me standing around The Hug, I felt like David when three mighty men brought him a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem, during a time when they were battling Philistines (2 Samuel 23:15-17). David was so overcome by the sacredness of the gift that he wouldn’t drink the water but poured it out as a sacrifice to the Lord. The response from the three with me was to laugh and say they hoped we would not pour out the gift on the ground. I smiled too, but now believe God has indeed allowed us to pour out that gift as an offering to him by freely giving our beloved van to others.