Skip to main content

Broken, missing parts, and rusted out

Back in the day my dad was a car salesman.  He sold new and used cars - don't judge him!  I remember him periodically bringing some new car home as a "demonstrator" - back when the salesmen were rewarded for their efforts by being able to drive a new car as part of their "perks".  The neat thing about it was that we'd get a new car every six months or so - just because they had to keep the mileage down on the demo models and they frequently changed them out.  One thing people knew for sure when they got one of those demonstrator models was that it had been "road-tested".  It had been put through some twists and turns on our Sunday drives and it passed the test! Today, I don't think this is the trend with car salesmen because I see all manner of beat up automobiles lining the streets just outside the dealership along the row where "staff" have to park!  I don't think the car we drove really mattered to dad, though.  We all liked the shiny ones he received as perks, even though they were "on loan" to him for a season.  What mattered was the safety of the ride, its reliability, and the fact we all fit in with minimal effort! I think some of us serve God for the "perks", while others of us are less concerned with them.  God doesn't want us more focused on the perks than we are on him.  What makes the difference to him is that we bring the pieces of our lives to him and then allow him to put them together - sometimes with "perks" and other times just plain, but secure!

What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it.  (Psalm 18:30 MSG)

Earlier in this psalm, we find the words of David as he outlines:  God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.  (vs. 20-24) All the pieces of our lives - and for most of us there are many - placed in his hands affords us the opportunity to finally see the broken ones mended, the displaced ones brought back into the picture, and the difficult to fit ones made to fit perfectly.  Sometimes, we are like David - we think it is us getting out "act together" which results in God being able to go about this work in our lives, but let me assure you - nothing is farther than the truth.  We don't even possess the ability to get our "act together" apart from the grace extended by our heavenly Father, so even that action on our part is because he innervates us to respond!

Pieces are all we have to bring to God.  This amazes me a little, because we are all cut from the same fabric, so to speak.  All of us have somehow made a shamble of some part of our lives - maybe not totally in every respect, but at least in some area.  For some of us, we have made a royal mess of things. The good news is that our "road-tested" lives are really something God embraces with his love and tender care.  They might look a little battered and "used" on the outside, but under his care, they become shiny and new again. What I have observed above about the salespeople's cars outside the dealership is really where we start today.  You see, God isn't ashamed of the "shell" of our lives - he doesn't make us park on the street, far away from the shiny, new models on the lot.  In fact, he encourages us to take the parking spot right at the front of the display windows.  Nothing pleases God more than to see a broken down life come right up to him and ask to be made new again!

When God undertakes the care and tending of our lives, he does so with the end in mind - that we would all resemble the one who gave our lives so we could live again - Christ.  In all matters related to "putting our lives together", God is at work not only getting the pieces to fit, but getting them to fit so they bring glory to him.  The neat thing about how God works is that he allows us to "feel" this connection with him - knowing and experiencing his tender care in putting our lives back together.  God often has to do a "rewrite" of the pages of our lives because we bring him a "text" with missing pages, tattered edges, and unfinished chapters.  David's reminder to us is that when we bring our tattered lives to God, he is faithful to restore.

I love our passage today because it provides such hope.  Every road we travel may not be straight and smooth - in fact, some have destroyed parts of our lives as a result of choosing to travel them.  God lays out before us a straight and smooth - road-tested path.  We have to choose to merge our lives into that path, though.  For some, it is a simple merge - smoothly just getting off the road we were on and then coming into alignment with the path he wants for our lives.  For others of us, there needs to be a U-Turn and a clear redirecting of our lives in the totally opposite direction of where we have been headed.  In either case, we bring some pretty "road-weary" lives to God.  He has a "form" to work with, but all the battered parts of our lives need his "body shop" of sorts!  We don't realize the missing bumpers, the small dents and dings, but may only focus on the oxidized paint job that makes us "look" used and dingy.  He sees the frame of our being and upon that frame, he begins the work of reconstructing our lives - for the frame was created in his image and it is that which he uses to set us right again.

I wondered why they gave the salesmen "demonstrator" cars back in the day. It was often because all they had to drive was the one family vehicle they had purchased some time ago and it didn't "fit the image" of what they wanted to portray about their dealerships.  The world is like that - wanting us to portray a certain image - not willing to let us be ourselves.  God, on the other hand, is more than delighted to have us bring our beaten down wrecks of a life to him - no need to doctor it up or make it appear to be something it is not.  In genuine and humble fashion, we present our lives to him - complete with the rust, dings, and missing parts.  In powerful and compassionate fashion, he embraces what we offer to him.  God isn't concerned with our appearance - he is concerned with our heart.  He wants us to pass the road-test more than he wants us to be "prettied-up"!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…