My car is 18 years old. It’s the best, most dependable car I’ve ever had. (I’ve only owned four; I tend to keep them forever.) This week, I thought I’d have to put it out to pasture. I expected to write a R.I.P. post. Without any warning, as we drove home from church, my dear old Nissan Altima died.
When I returned to the States fourteen years ago, I had to replace almost everything. I budgeted $10,000 for a reliable used car. My friends scoffed at me. “That’s impossible. You just don’t know the prices in America anymore,” they said.
But God provided a wonderful man with a unique ministry. He found good used cars at auctions for single missionary women. The car he delivered to me had less than 12,000 miles and only cost $9,000. In the years since then, I haven’t had to replace anything more than a battery. This man whose name I no longer remember used his skills to bless my life and undoubtedly many other lives as well.
Back to the present. Naturally, with the mileage climbing, we’ve been aware that soon my car will need to be replaced. But we’d planned to do that in 2015. Old clunkers are easy to find. Dealers are always ready to offer exorbitant finance charges for brand-new cars that depreciate once they’re driven off the lot. But to search for just the right previously-loved car, that takes time and effort.
In the Bay Area, I walked to work, but here my commute is too far – an hour a day – and this part of the world is devoid of public transportation. How would I get to work while waiting for the perfect car? Besides, we’d already scrambled to replace one vehicle this year after Steve’s accident. Wasn’t that enough?
It turns out I don’t have to worry about any of that. Not yet. My old car still has some life left in her!
We coaxed the car to the mechanic with the instructions that if the repairs cost over $500, it wasn’t worth it. He just called with the problem diagnosed and the price well under our limit. All week, I’ve been car-less, either working from home or having my husband chauffeur me. And now my car is fixed!
The missing warning sign I’d been waiting for, signaling the end is near? I guess that just happened. It’s time to start looking. God reminded me that He alone provides for me, often in unexpected ways that I’d never dream of. He has the prerogative to preempt my carefully-laid plans. And often does.