Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life Changing Moment - The Car

Independence Day for many teenagers is not the Fourth of July; rather, it's the day they get their driver's license. Better still, it's the day they get their first car.

I know that a guy's first car is something he dreams about, plans around, and works hard for. Each guy holds an image of the ideal first car -- for some it's a Mustang GT; for others it's a jeep, and for others it's some form of convertible -- never mind the brand, just as long as the top goes down. I know for me, the ideal and the real car were a little different -- okay, a lot different. But as homely as the car was, it was my car and my independence.

A guy's first car opens up doors previously closed -- jobs outside the neighborhood, drive-in fast-food places, cruising for dates or just heading out and about with no particular destination. Likewise, the first car came with some other things that must have been in small print -- insurance, maintenance, and gas. Remember your first moving violation? Was it speeding or something mundane like a burned out taillight?

This taste of freedom can be heady for a young male. Ever drive too fast for the road conditions? Get in an accident because you weren't paying attention? You ever drink and drive? Guilty as charged on all counts -- but when you're 18 and invincible, driving and, for that matter, living dangerously is not seen as such.

I am sure most of you know someone who has paid or is paying the price for not treating this freedom with the proper level of respect. The consequences can be devastating and sometimes beyond repair. Some things just can't be fixed.

God gives us the freedom to choose our life paths. And yes, He allows us to make wrong decisions. And yes, He permits us to live away from Him if we choose. And yes, God is always here for us -- always -- no matter what! But unlike our lives here, in His kingdom all things can be repaired.

I am not a fan of bumper stickers in general; preachy religious ones bother me the most. (Somehow I think our God deserves better than a trite, frequently guilt-ridden slogan slapped on some rust bucket, but I digress.) However, there is one that says, "God allows U-turns." If I could change the slogan, it would read: "God loves U-turns." Turning us back towards Him when we've been heading the wrong direction is what He's all about. What was your first car? Ever do a God U-turn?


Anonymous said...

The reality and the ideal are indeed worlds apart. My first car was a ... yellow VW Rabbit, inherited from mom. Not a car to go cruising in, for sure, but worked as the occassional pizza delivery vehicle. It was a friend at the pizza shop that the Holy Spirit used to call me back to my Baptismal grace after I had wandered far from it, so I suppose the freedom the car afforded this young man lead to the eternal freedom I enjoy now.

Anonymous said...

Boy, I sure can identify with Pastors last sentences about God loves u-turns. You see many years ago I was completely out of control,exercising the freedom of self will that God has given us. Mentioned in previous paragraphs, I was that young, invincable person that was doing my on thing to whomever, through my own selfishness, I was having an affair of three years, and down deep inside me I wanted out but the addiction would'nt let me. I was halfheartly praying to God to get me out. I finally surrended to God and prayed whatever it takes. He provided that very quickly, about 20 minutes later her husband caught us. Following that affair my wife and I had Christian counseling, I was forgiven by her and my children. Several yeats later I was asked to be an elder in our church of witch I had some ruluctance to because of my previous actions,but I was told that did not make any difference now. I thank God every day now for that forgiveness, and ask Him every day for His forgiveness because I am a sinner. It was through that experience that I was able to make that u-turn and come back to the loving arms of a loving Father

Anonymous said...

My first car came about the same time as my first wife, 40 years this October, and it was nice to be independent of our parents. Our son's car wasn't involved in growth until he had a dui at age 30and walked for 18 months. He for the first time seemed to listen to me suggest that his experential learning style could be better used by learning from hearing or reading about the experiences of others instead of doing each thing himself before he learns from his errors.