Cars & Faith

What could cars and faith possibly have in common? A lot, as it turns out!

Recently, we experienced a dire transportation crisis in which both of our vehicles were disabled. Our everyday, dependable 2011 Expedition was flashing warning lights at us, and it was finally determined that the brake module had failed. Turned out, we were number 900 on the wait list for a part that hadn’t even been manufactured yet. Then there was our back-up, a 2008 Toyota in need of so many expensive fixes that we only drove it for short, local errands. In general, while everything we need is within a one-to-five-mile radius from home, there was no way it would have been safe to drive either vehicle on the freeway. But – a big BUT – we had a couple  of important places we were scheduled to go, each of which would require about a 200-mile round trip. What to do?

Perhaps the least expensive option would be to have the Toyota repaired, so my husband consulted with our auto repair shop, only to discover that there were even more issues than we thought. It just wasn’t worth the money required to fix such an old vehicle, no matter that the body looked almost new and the interior was still in very good shape. Again, what to do? Prayer had been on our agenda all along, but thus far there had been no clear answers. Isn’t that the way life’s challenges often seem? Difficult problems without obvious solutions routinely persist in spite of prayer; and that’s where faith comes in. Whether the issue is a relatively minor need like ours for reliable transportation, more serious issues such as relationships, schools, jobs, etc.; or the desperate needs brought about through loss or infirmity; the solutions always rest in waiting on the Lord and holding onto faith in Him.

Ultimately for us, the Lord provided someone who wanted to buy the Toyota for more than we ever thought we could get, and then intervened to provide a new-to-us used car that looks and runs like new. It is a gift from Him, one that we couldn’t have dreamed of; and it came about through prayer and faith that He would supply our need. But the point of our story isn’t so much to talk about what happened with our transportation problem, but to introduce an analogy between cars and faith using our new car as an example. They have much in common.

We see our car as a gift from God; as is faith:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. [i]

It’s very comforting and to know that we have reliable transportation, secure in the knowledge that we can safely drive to our destinations. Faith is the very basis of security with God, and through faith we can proclaim with the psalmists:

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.[ii]

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.[iii]

Our car allows us to travel, to seek out new destinations and enjoy the ride. By faith, we also travel into the unseen realms of the Lord:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.[iv]

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.[v]

Our car comes with unexpected upgrades that we’ve not had in other cars. Faith enables us to experience upgrades in our lives, which we could never have anticipated before we knew Jesus:

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.[vi]

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.[vii]

A good car is both highly desired and a tremendous blessing. It’s easy to forget that many people in the world are so poor they must still walk, ride a bicycle or depend on other people or animals to get from place to place. Faith is also highly desired, and it is a much greater blessing than any car:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.[viii]

When one has a reliable car, it can be used for good to help others. How much greater is the good that arises out of faith:

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.[ix]

Car ownership comes with tremendous responsibilities; one must understand and follow the rules of the road in order to remain safe. So it is with faith, a powerful weapon of righteousness when placed in God; but misplaced faith is very dangerous:

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things… And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.[x]

Both cars and faith  may appear miraculous, perhaps impossible, to those who haven’t experienced them. Imagine the awestruck wonder of people who watched Model Ts chugging down the road. While some were awestruck, others wanted nothing to do with those new-fangled machines. Sadly, many people today doubt the reality of God and His promises; wanting nothing to do with Him, but the scriptures speak for themselves regarding the necessity of faith:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.[xi]

Both cars and faith are useless without fuel. Clearly, there has to be a source of power for a car, which began with steam, transitioned to gasoline, and now has been expanded to include electricity. The source of faith, as well as other spiritual gifts, is the Holy Spirit:

For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.[xii]

Faith is not something that just happens automatically; it comes packaged as small as a mustard seed, but Jesus said that mustard seed faith would move mountains. How is that even possible? By exercising our tiny faith, it grows through trial and error, again and again. But remember, with just a few words from the Lord, the heavens and the earth were created; imagine what what just one of His words, encompassed in a mustard seed, can do when we respond by faith.

The results of my faith don’t rest in me; for within myself there is no ability to move mountains. Rather, it’s faith in the One who gave me the faith in the first place; it’s faith in what He can do.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.[xiii]

[i] Ephesian 2:8

[ii] Psalm 16:8

[iii] Psalm 71:20-21

[iv] Ephesians 2:5-7

[v] Colossians 3:1-4

[vi] 1 Peter 1:8-9

[vii] 1 John 5:4

[viii] Hebrews 11:1-3

[ix] Galatians 5:22-23 TPT

[x] Romans 1: 22-23, 28031

[xi] Hebrews 11:6

[xii] ! Corinthians 12:8-11

[xiii] Philippians 3:12-14

Phony Fear

Kev & Sheba

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.  Proverbs 29:25

Funny thing about Sheba; she’s always been afraid of other pugs.  Either that, or else she just doesn’t want anything to do with them.  But put her up against a Doberman or a Rottweiler and she’ll most likely wag her tail and want to play.

The first time we noticed this we had taken her to a large gathering of pugs in a local park—a pug convention.  It was funny to watch as she pulled on her leash, desperately trying to get away from every other pug that we encountered.

Later we noticed that she would even shy away from her own reflection in a mirror, apparently thinking it was another pug.

On another occasion, we were camping and a couple came by with a pug puppy, only 6 weeks old and cuter than cute!  Sheba was not a happy camper; all she wanted to do was get away from that puppy who, held securely in its master’s arms, didn’t even resemble a threat.  She barked and whined and pulled on her leash, trying to get us to walk away.  But maybe she wasn’t afraid; maybe she was just jealous; maybe she thought we’d like some other pug better than her; maybe she wasn’t secure in the love we had for her.  Perhaps she didn’t know that she is priceless and that no other pug could ever replace her in our hearts—that we could never trade her for another.

Am I ever like that?  So insecure in my relationship with God that I’m threatened by others who are similar to me?  Am I afraid a co-worker is going to do a better job, or jealous of another Christian who has a bigger ministry?  Am I threatened because I think another person is better looking, or smarter, or more talented?  Do I try to escape the presence of those who make me uncomfortable?  Am I plagued by phony fears?

Perhaps what I really need to do is learn to accept who I am, the person God made me to be.  Perhaps I need to accept his love and the assurances in his word that I am special and unique.  Perhaps…just perhaps.