Revelations from a Corolla
When I began working in 2003, I drove a 1992 Corolla, which I had been driving since high school. An 11-year-old car is far from a terrible thing, but to give you an idea of the condition of my particular Corolla, I used to cross my fingers at vehicle emissions tests since it often failed. I once took it in for an oil change and when the mechanic removed the drain plug, a drop or two of oil was all that came out. I thought I knew how far I could push it until I’d run out of gas, but one time I hit the accelerator and the car wouldn’t move. Thankfully, I was at the top of an incline so I rolled down to the gas station, dug around my ash tray for some change and get a gallon of fuel. This happened on several occasions.
My coworkers would often tell me to buy a new car. “You’re making money now, buy yourself a new car,” they’d say. My friends, who eagerly piled into my car in high school and college, no longer wanted rides in the Crapolla. Despite all that, I loved my car. Remarkably, it got good gas mileage (30+MPG), once the A/C got going, it blew out frost, provided a good arm workout with its manual windows, and had a built-in speeding ticket deterrent device: if I ever drove faster than 65MPH, the car would shake violently, and I’d likely lose a muffler, both bumpers, and hubcaps.
There were some things about it, however, that I didn’t enjoy. Near the top of the list was how long it would take the heater to get going – this was one of the reasons no one wanted a ride in the colder months. I had a 30 minute commute to work, so for about 20 minutes, I was freezing cold. But you know what? When that heater kicked in, it felt so good! I would often shout, “Hallelujah,” because it felt so good!
Nowadays, I drive a newer car and the heater and A/C work almost immediately. While driving the car is very comfortable, I certainly don’t have that moment of exhilaration when, after holding your hands in front of the vents praying for heat, the hot air kicks in. In fact, I hardly think about the heater at all, unless it’s not working.
I find this true about my faith as well. In good times, I hardly think about my faith, but I’m not a fan of times of trials and troubles, either. If it were up to me, I would rather lead a comfortable, problem-free existence, but that’s usually not how life pans out. Whether it’s work, an incredible loss, times of grief or uncertainty, life is far from comfortable. Yet, without times of difficulty, I don’t believe I would appreciate when things change for the better. For those in DC, just think of how amazing those beautiful, zero humidity weekends are after weeks of humidity levels that cause you to question when the last time you showered was.
The Bible says
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8
What I love most about this verse is that there is purpose in life; and what we may view as meaningless events or coincidences are actually things God has a plan for. And what is His plan? In this verse and in Matthew 22:37, I think it all boils down to loving God and loving others as ourselves. So difficult, trying times are actually God’s way of making us love Him? Yes. His plan is not to make me a comfortable Christian, who’ll gripe at the first sign of trouble; God wants to make me like His Son, who gave up all heavenly comfort for the sake of love.
And not just any love, but the most ridiculous love the world has ever known. He didn’t really need to die on the cross to save us; He merely had to die. Yet, He allowed Himself to be cursed, that we might no longer be. He didn’t need to take lashes on His back; but by His stripes we are healed. He didn’t need to go to such lengths, but He did because He wanted to do more than make a way for us: He wanted to be acquainted with our sufferings.
Amazing love, how can it be, that You my King should die for me?
So if you’re going through a difficult time, don’t worry, the heater is about to kick in, and it’s going to be glorious.