So, we have had a LOT going on lately. Nothing bad, really all good, but a lot of stuff, nonetheless. And in the midst of the LOT, we realized we were going to have to buy a car. Which on one hand, we were really happy because we were about to burst out the seems of our then-car, but on the other hand, we were not so happy because we really didn't want another monthly payment.
So, we crunched the numbers and fixed a price range in our heads, preferably between "X" and "Y", but if necessary we could possibly go all the way to "Z."
We have some good friends who were wanting to sell their Jeep. It is in EXCELLENT condition and only has about 60,000 miles. (And, when I say, "excellent," I mean it is like brand new.) They told us what they were wanting for it, but we really had our hearts set on a Honda Element or CRV. So, we told them we'd think about it and then we looked around. And we looked. And. we. looked.
But our poor car hit a wall. Not literally, of course, but the poor thing was just old and tired. We had taken it to the shop twice in less than a month and it still had issues. After leaving large puddles of mysterious fluids everywhere we parked it, we finally decided it was unsafe to drive. And we realized that we were running out of time to look. Our sweet friends loaned us their Jeep to drive until we could find something. But I felt bad about that. Basically we were saying this: "We really don't want your car, but can we just drive it around indefinitely until we find what we do want?" We started feeling like God was leading us towards the Jeep. (Sad face.)
We had prayed about the situation, I threw a little spoiled-rotten-brat tantrum with God about not getting exactly what I wanted, then I started getting peace about the Jeep. Really, it is most everything I wanted--small SUV, large cargo space in the back, low mileage, and way under "Z." So, we tell our friends, "Actually, we ARE interested," and we started the financing process.
The day we were to go get to the bank, I received a Max Lucado devotional via email that talked about God getting "bigger" as we grow in our faith. Oh, I'll never be able to do it justice, and it's short, so here it is:
When Christ is great–our fears are not! A big God translates into big courage. A small view of God generates no courage. A limp, puny, fireless Jesus has no power over cancer cells, corruption, identity theft, stock-market crashes, or global calamity.
A packageable, portable Jesus might fit well in a purse or on a shelf, but he does nothing for your fears. In the book Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, the character Lucy sees Aslan, the lion, for the first time in many years. He’s changed.
“Aslan,” she says, “you’re bigger.”
“That’s because you are older, little one,” he answers.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
And so it is with Christ. The longer we live in him, the greater he becomes in us. It’s not that he changes, but that we do. We see more of him!
(Isn't Max the best?!)
So, we met at the bank and they told us, in essence, "Sure, you can have the money, and your monthly payments will be [this]." Only [this] was $2 over the price we wanted to pay each month. I know, I know. You are thinking, what is $2? But for me, it was a caution light. When God makes a boundary clear to me and I stretch it, I nearly always find myself in deeper water than I anticipated. And I do not know how to swim. (Yes, I tell truth.)
We asked about extending the loan a few months to lower the monthly payments, but they said they just really couldn't do that because of the age of the Jeep. Even though it is in EXCELLENT condition, it's considered "old" by most banks' standards. And no bank wants to finance an older vehicle for more than two years. Although I fully understood this, I also really had hopes of keeping our payments below [this].
In retrospect, it was fortunate that I did not bring all the necessary items to finish the financing that day,and so we set up an appointment for the next day to sign the papers and get the check. My man went back to work and I headed to the grocery. All the while, I was sending up prayers that went something like this:
"God, I know you have always provided our needs. And it seems like You are leading us towards this Jeep, but I really thought our monthly payments needed to be under [this] and, yes, I know we're only talking about a $2 difference, but is this your way of telling us that this is not the right move? I know you are totally able to provide if it is, but if this is not what we are supposed to do, I don't want to make a foolish decision then expect You to get us out of our self-made mess."
I was in the diaper isle, when my man called to tell me he had just gotten off the phone with our bank.
"Oh no," I said, "What's the problem?"
"They would like to extend our loan a few months and lower our payments to [this new amount]," well under the amount we wanted to pay each month.
WHAAAAAT?! That's crazy! And the tears started to overflow, right there by the Pampers. That, my friends, is how big my God is.
He is SOOOOOO good. "He shows unfailing kindness to His anointed." (Psalm 18:50)