My parents-in-law came to visit this past weekend … It isn’t an unusual event, and normally, they bring their motor home so their visits aren’t an imposition on our already crowded little 3 bedroom house. But this time, they said they weren’t bringing the motor home, and as they drove into our driveway in their brand new 2016 sparkling red Cadillac SUV, I realized why. My father-in-law wanted to take his latest acquisition on a road trip … and who could blame him. It is a fancy, powerful vehicle – a lot of fun for a former state trooper who is used to fast vehicles and precision handling.
The funny thing is this … Many years ago, I loved brand new cars – how they smelled and how they looked and all the fancy things they did. Even as a young adult, I used to take pictures of BMWs and Porsches and Mercedes when I visited Germany. I knew their names and their model numbers … which isn’t really something anyone knew about me because – let’s face it – it isn’t the “godly, young lady” thing to like or want. That is more for the men – the guns, the cars, the gadgets and gizmos.
I have been privileged to own 2 brand new cars … modest Saturns, made in Tennessee, built in the mid 1990s and early 2000s. They weren’t the fanciest – but they were fancy enough for me – and I, not my husband, was the driving (no pun intended!) force of getting both those cars. Thankfully, both of those vehicles served us very well, and I traded the first one for the second … and now, most recently, after 13 years of hard driving and adventures, we laid the second one to rest with a worn-out transmission.
I write this because I am amazed at where I am now … Another sign of my lack of interest in this material world. While I do not begrudge my father-in-law his newest toy, I lack any interest in it. Sure, I had a ride, and it smelled new and it had so many features of convenience that I never knew possible! Bluetooth and self-closing trunk and push starter and heated seats and mirrors that adjust themselves …. But here’s the thing:
If you asked me if I wanted a new vehicle, I’d tell you YES, OH YES!! How I long for a nicer vehicle … but you know which one I want? Not the 2016 Cadillac SUV with a fancy paint job and seats that adjust themselves according to who is driving. I want one that can accommodate my kids and their friends and their stuff – and safely get me to work, to school, to church, to run all my errands – with well-treaded tires and a motor that won’t stall out and a battery that won’t die. Stow-and-go seating would be a bonus and dual climate control is something I’d love … but most of all, I just want a vehicle that I don’t have to worry about my kids eating their French fries in or climbing into with muddy shoes because we’ve been playing at the park … and I can stuff a bicycle into it and not worry about scuffing its fancy leather seats. That’s my dream vehicle!
The car I’m proudest of right now already sits in my driveway anyway … It is a little 2006 Honda Civic that is licensed in my son’s name because he paid for ¾ of it by working at his part-time job. THAT is a car to admire – It has a cute little sun roof that Miriam thinks is just the best thing ever …and just for fun, there’s a spoiler on the back … just for looks, just what a teen boy might think is “cool”. The perfect little car for a 17 year old boy – to get him to work, to take his sisters to school, and in the fall, to his college classes. It has some issues even yet as it was rebuilt after being bought at auction, so even though it rumbles a little louder than a fancy Cadillac, that sound is as beautiful as any humming engine on the road today.
I begrudge no one a brand new car … I’d be a hypocrite if I did because I’ve had 2 myself … but it is funny how God changes your perspective when He brings you low … when He shows you enough is enough – that having needs provided each day is something to be incredibly grateful for – that material possessions are nice (believe me, I want MORE!!!) but they are worth nothing in comparison to your life, your health, your family, your closest of friends, and best of all, eternal life!
Recently, I’ve just been so “world weary” in this political season, now because of yet another tragic world event in Belgium. The Germans have a word that describes what I feel: Weltschmerz = world pain. This world contains so much evil – and yet, thankfully, we do not fear because we know WHO has the ultimate control. But still, to be an observer of the pain, the insanity, to see our Christian values so – well – devalued … it hurts. To just be living the daily grind – for what? To get a new car?? To live in a fancy house?? Is that all there is?
Thankfully, in Christ, there is SO MUCH MORE. More purpose. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the luxuries of this world, as we work hard and frugally to obtain them … but there is more – so much more – ETERNITY. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.