Those two vehicles – a minivan and an economy car – were wonderment and irritants to my friends who give loving care to their horseless carriages. Tens of thousands of miles came between oil changes, the tires never saw a rotation and the checking of fluids only happened when a light on the dashboard popped on.
Yes, once in a great while, something needed fixed or replaced, but never anything significant. The lack of simple maintenance, combined with those vehicles ability just to keep going and going and going upset the car enthusiast friends of mine. “With the way you treat that car you should be on the side of the road every week or two waiting for a tow truck!” was told to me more than once.
Once the combined total hit 700,000 miles, I began to think that something had to go wrong eventually. We had been lucky for too long. The truth is we were not lucky; we were blessed. When the car passed 360,000 miles, we had a $250 repair bill. It had been so long since the car needed fixing I could not remember the last time we put money into it; nevertheless, this repair bill accelerated my thinking that we needed to replace both vehicles before they bit the dust.
We decided to go with a newer but used van. The salvage yard retrieved our 700,000-mile miracles, the newer van purchased, and our vehicle transformation was complete.
Now it is time for confessions of the preacher. I decided to junk our faithful modes of transportation and to swap them out without any prayer. The decision, based on logic – after all any van or car approaching 400,000 miles should not have many miles left in it.
I bought a lemon. This statement is not an exaggeration – we spent more on our new van in the first six months than we did on the other two combined the entire time we owned them. By the way; our two wonder vehicles – the car was purchased new, and the van had about 50,000 miles when it was acquired.
After two months, I was determined to get rid of it. We needed to pay off the loan first, but my goal became to get rid of the thing as soon as possible.
In the meanwhile, the repair costs continued to grow in proportion to my hatred of the four-wheeled monster. Somewhere in this time frame is when I realized my lack of prayer concerning my transportation situation.
I had thanked the Lord on many occasion for the blessing of the two long-running, low-maintenance vehicles. I did appreciate how He kept them going with so little care on my part. However, when I started thinking about getting rid of them, I did not consult the Lord, and the same was true with the purchase of our newer van.
We should pray for everything. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Everything does include the well being of the car. Everything consists of the purchase of a vehicle. I did not pray about the purchase of the new van. I did not pray about getting rid of the wonder vehicles. Before you start thinking God was breaking down our new van, because I was not praying about it, please think again. By not praying about buying the van, I probably bought one God knew was going to have problems, but if I had prayed, He would have led me in another direction. God did not bring my difficulties; I brought them on myself.
As soon as possible I put a for sale sign in the window. In the end, my mailman purchased the lemon. I told him of all the problems, and he bought it regardless. He has had it for two years, using it for his rural mail route six days a week. He has not had one problem with it. Maybe God was breaking down my van, perhaps not, but either way, I am praying more.
Prayer is essential for using the armor of God effectively (Ephesians 6:11-18).
We have not because we ask not or we ask amiss (James 4:2-3).
We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
There are several reasons God does not answer prayer – indifference (Proverbs 1:28-29), secret sin (Psalms 66:18), stubbornness (Zechariah 7:13) and self-indulgence (James 4:3), just to name a few, but when a prayer is never prayed, God does not answer.
Did I buy a lemon or a lesson? Maybe the van was a little bit of both, but in my case, it was more of a lesson.
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.