2009 Patrick’s ride
My car is old enough to have graduated high school. It’s my wife’s car, actually. She got it just before she graduated high school, and here we are 13 years later (don’t worry, she’s not secretive about her age), and it’s still in the driveway. Cracked dash. Dented rear quarter panel. Misfiring wiper blades. Broken air conditioning. Shot shocks. Cracked tailight. Deteriorating paint job. Hmmm, what am I forgetting?
It isn’t a pretty picture, is it. At least, it doesn’t look good on the surface.
But it still runs. Is it smooth? No. Would I drive it cross country? Uh, no. But I don’t have to. I need a car to get me around town that will keep me dry when it rains and keep me warm when it’s too cold to bike. And it does that, even after all these years. So I thank God for giving me what I need.
Sometimes it takes time to learn that we can’t always be surrounded by new pretty things. New cars, new clothes, new houses, new _________. They may dazzle us for awhile, but nothing stays new forever.
Well, maybe something does.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says,
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; (23) they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (24) ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.'”
This is quite an inspiring thought nested in what is otherwise a really sad book in the Bible’s Old Testament. Lamentations records the sorrow that a righteous man felt when he witnessed his life crumble around him. His home, his religion, his freedom–all these things were lost or disrupted, and he mourned their passing. Things seemed to be as bad as they could be, and he still wrote these words about the newness of God’s mercy.
God’s steadfast love, His covenant faithfulness, these things never get old and rusty. They never lose their power. They never leave you lost or stranded. They are always new. It’s hard for us to imagine, because not much of anything in this world is always new. But God is. Always. Jeremiah tried so hard to remember these truths as he saw his nation fall apart, and that’s something I think about when I climb into that old broken down car. Sure, my petty “suffering” isn’t in the same league as the things Jeremiah lived through, but it is still a simple way to remember how blessed I am.
God will never let me down. He will constantly give me what I need and take me to the places I need to go as I try to grow closer to Him. Even when I’m forgetful or neglectful of my relationship with God, when I come back to my senses, there God is—as bright and shining as ever. He doesn’t look ancient or decrepit. I don’t have to worry about if He can take me the distance. And there’s no smoother ride than to be carried in His arms. Every single morning He’s waiting there for me with outstretched arms and more grace than I ever expect or deserve, because He is God.
And this is what God is like.