A few months ago, I realised I needed a new car. The mileage on mine was creeping up and with various rattles making themselves heard (and a MOT due next month), I knew either way, I would soon be spending a chunk of cash.
Now, some are going to think this is silly but when it comes to making big decisions, I’m a big believer in getting the ‘right feeling’. The ‘right feeling’ is how you feel about something after prayer or being in a worship environment. The ‘right feeling’ is usually a big splurge of unexpected excitement or inexplainable peace. In short, I believe that if I’m on a straight path with God, he will lead me to the right decision.
So, a few weeks ago, I saw a car I really liked and arranged to take it for a test drive. As the car salesman pulled it to the front of the building, it seemed to call my name in a gentle, hushed whisper. We took it for a good, hearty spin and my friend said to me, ‘how do you feel about it?’ My reply was, ‘well, I feel nothing…it’s a beautiful car but I have no feeling, no emotion about it at all’.
We arrived back at the dealership and I made a decision. Despite my lack of feeling, I’d talk to them and see if they’d be willing to budge on price…in a way, it was a ‘fleece’.
We sat down at the sales desk (me, wearing my best poker face) to begin negotiation, but it soon became clear they just wanted me to buy a no-discounted car, plus an extended warranty AND borrow the money on HP, none of which I wanted to do.
Outside, the car was still twinkling and winking mysteriously in the afternoon sun, catching my eye, but suddenly there it was…just like a heavenly emergency stop in my heart, I felt the thunk of God in my spirit, saying simply, ‘No, walk away’.
So I did.
But that didn’t stop me thinking about it all weekend.
Maybe it was the right car? Maybe I was missing something? Why was I now driving past the forecourt, shifting a glance to look at it longingly?
So, I thought I’d give the door one last nudge. This time, I rang the sales office to ask for more details, fully intending by now, to pay the full asking price (despite my initial misgivings), but once again, the man I spoke to, just spun me a tale about how I needed a 3 year extended warranty and it’d be better to get it on 0% finance, yada, yada, yada. This time I just knew it was dead, dead wrong.
I ended the call and I admit, a bit reluctantly, put it into the hands of God and said that I’d trust him to find me the right car.
So now, I should interrupt myself here to say that this could all sound like vacuous nonsense. After all, there’s a level of excruitating pain and need in the world and here I am, waxing lyrical about God finding me a car? But in reality, I don’t believe this whole experience WAS about a car. It was about learning to lean on that still, small voice to lead me in a direction that wouldn’t end up causing me grief and heartache.
I know that I can’t trust myself and I know that life is far, far better when I lean on, lean into that lovely, reassuring, calming quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit. It’s not about cars or jobs or big decisions, it’s about trust.
And so last week, still feeling a little miffed at not yet finding a car, I resumed my online search and went back to a dealership I’ve bought cars from in the past. There, on the forecourt was the exact same model of car I’d test driven a week before (even the same colour), looking just as beautiful, just lower mileage and with a few more fun features.
It too, sat there, gleaming and winking at me in the sun, but this time, the test drive was different. There was a surge of excitement. Exact same model of car, different dealer, but bingo, I knew this was the one.
I had to wait a few days before it was ready to collect, but yesterday, as I drove to the dealership in my old car, I prayed a prayer of blessing over it (the old car). I prayed that whoever bought it after me, would feel God’s presence in the car, that it would be safe, reliable and if they didn’t already know Jesus, that somehow the car would lead them to him. And then I picked up my new car and prayed in it too.
Tonight as I drove home in the new car, with a powerful worship song flowing through the speakers, the lovely presence of Jesus was so real in the car, I didn’t want to get out. I parked up and dawdled for a bit, enjoying it, feeling flooded again with thankfulness. Thankful for a lovely new car yes, but in a world of desperate need, also thankful for a God who can be leaned on and trusted, whatever the decision.