The subtitle of God Told Me reads who to marry, where to work, which car to buy…and I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy. In chapter two, I recounted how God provided us with the answer to the question, “which car to buy.” But, it was an especially convicting chapter to write since we were in the middle of another car buying experience and waiting for God to answer. He answered with his typical clarity and grace.
Our car situation in 2006: Two parents, two kids, one car. God responded by giving us, within the span of a week, a 1998 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with 70K miles and a two-year lease on a Chevy Equinox.
Our situation in 2012: Two parents, four kids, a 1998 minivan with 120k miles and a 2006 Equinox. While our car situation in 2012 was much better, we were in a tough spot because the Equinox didn’t hold our whole family and the minivan was nearing the end of its life.
Knowing that this day was coming, about three years ago Lisa began urging me to trade in my Equinox for a more reliable vehicle that would hold our entire family. So, we began to pray.
God’s first answer came in the form of a dear couple from our church who allowed us to use their vehicle for family road trips – like to California! So, we felt God was telling us to wait. (Quick aside — The first time we borrowed their car, I thought it was making a funny noise. I called somewhat panicked that I had damaged the car. First, he reassured me that the noise was fine. Then he said, “Jim, I want you to know that there is nothing that you can do to that car that will make me love you any less.” – How great is that!)
God’s second answer came two years ago when a friend offered to help us buy a new car. We went back to the same Chevy dealer where we had leased (which we ended up buying) our Equinox. A sales manager at the dealership had attended Calvary for a couple of years, and while we were talking, he mentioned that his nephew had just started attending the high school youth group at Calvary. The following week, I was going on my yearly camping trip with high school upperclassmen, so we invited his nephew to come along.
Nothing came of the car hunt. We couldn’t find the right car and a change in our finances meant we couldn’t swing purchasing a car – even with the offered help. Clearly, it wasn’t the right time and God was still telling us to wait. I wondered why God had sent us down this seemingly dead end. I got my answer when the sales manager’s nephew came to faith on our high school camping trip! That was the whole reason we ended up in the car showroom even though we didn’t end up purchasing a car.
But what about the car situation? We continued to pray for the next two years.
In April 2012, Lisa again urged me to trade in my car, but I felt more and more uncomfortable with that idea. After all, she drove the older car, and she typically had the kids with her.
Then came the week of April 15. I was writing a sermon on husbands sacrificing for their wives from Ephesians 5. While I was praying through the material, God kept impressing on my heart that one way I could sacrifice for Lisa was by replacing her car rather than mine.
That week, Lisa’s car died.
A mechanic friend told us it was not worth the money to repair the car. I said to Lisa, “Don’t you see what God is saying? What are the odds that the car would die the week I am preaching on this subject? God is telling us to get you a new car.”
Where should we go? It seemed clear to me to go back to the Chevy dealer and find our friend from church whose nephew had come to faith at the high school retreat. Sitting in his office, Lisa listed three things that she wanted in a car. He plugged the requests into the database and it turns out that they had one car on the lot that met those criteria within our price range. Just one car.
Speaking of finances, April 2012 was the last month of remainder of the money we owed on the Equinox. With the money freed up from the Equinox payment, we were within seven dollars of the monthly payment for the one car that fit our requirements on the lot.
The whole experience made our heads spin. God lined up the ending of the Equinox payment, my sermon on husbands sacrificing for wives, the final breakdown of our minivan, the inventory at the Chevy dealer and my relationship with the salesman.
We know that the car in our garage is the exact car God told us to buy. What an amazing God we serve!