You get used to things going wrong with an old car and then just learn to live with them. Dents. Scratches. Bumps. You can try to push dents out. You can cover things up (strategically placed bumper stickers, while not that attractive, are quite helpful). You can touch-up scratches with paint.
I once had a car with a whole list of problems: the side mirror was loose; the console box handle and the cruise control were both broken; and the temperature gauge was always wrong by about ten degrees. While the air conditioning still worked, I was always sweating. And most important, the radio speakers lost the clarity they once had.
But I learned to live with it. You can learn to live with a lot of problems (as an old guy, there seem to be more and more of them). It’s that, not drive at all, or if possible, get a new car.
You’re a new creation.
As I think about new cars and new things, being spiritual and all, 2 Corinthians 5:17 comes to mind, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Sometimes, I think, we forget the incredible freshness and joy of being a new creation. My old car was functional. Cars have a purpose, to get you from one place to another. The old car did that. Life can be functional too. A comma on a gravestone between the birthday and the death-day says everything that is needful. It can be functional in the same way an old car is functional.
Sometimes, I think, we forget the incredible freshness and joy of being a new creation.
Jesus said in John 10 that he came to give us life—not just a functional life where one is born in one hospital and dies in another, but an “abundant” life. That life (new creation life) is one of pain (with a purpose), joy (with tears), and freedom to experience both with a depth and authenticity a connection to a world in which God is in control. It is a world in which God is working out his purposes in a grand and glorious plan that will be incredibly exciting in the final chapter. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
There is something else good about a new car…it’s clean. I’m not a slob, but after years of driving my old car, there were some stains that simply never came out. One learns to live with those too. Both the new car and the new creation are clean. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Forgiveness is a gift from God.
A while back, I read Pat Conroy’s novel, Beach Music. It is about incredible pain…and forgiveness. The leading character’s wife takes her life and the book is about the implications flowing from that pain. Until I read his dedication, I wondered how Conroy could write with such passion and understanding of suicide. He dedicated his book to his three “wonderful and irreplaceable” brothers (“loyalists and life-sharers”) and “our hurt brother and lost boy” who took his life.
The leading character says of his wife and her suicide, “Shyla was that rarest of suicides…she was forgiven as instantly as she was missed.”
The new car and the new creation are clean. The car will get dirty, but the new creation never will. I am forgiven instantly. And I’ll be remembered, loved and accepted forever.
The “forever” thing is important. A new car won’t stay new. It will get old, wear out and die.
God said, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). Jesus promised the thief crucified alongside him that the thief would be in paradise. And Revelation 2:17 talks about the “new name” we’ll have in heaven.
The new creation starts now and moves from here to there, from earth to heaven, from time to eternity. It will never end.
Time to Draw Away
Read Romans 8:1-2, 35-39 & Revelation 21: 4
Do you feel like a new creation? Or more like an old car? Regardless of how you feel, once you run to Jesus, the fact is you are forgiven, loved and accepted. You are his cherished son or daughter. You are clean. And that will never end.