Back in 2016, I purchased a 1960 Rambler American. I have always loved these little cars. They are very simple with a small flathead six-cylinder engine that produces 90 horsepower. When I bought the car, the previous owner told me he had cleaned out the gas tank and rebuilt the carburetor. He assured me that it was drivable. The first time I drove the little Rambler, it quit running. I was able to pull over to the side of the road. Just as I got out of the car to see what was wrong, a friend of mine stopped to see if I needed help. He pushed me back to my shop with his 1961 Pontiac. I can only imagine what the passers-by thought, seeing an old Pontiac pushing the little Rambler down the road.
Since the gas gauge didn’t work, I thought that it might just be out of gas. I put several gallons in the tank, and the little Rambler started right up. That night I was driving it home, and once again the little Rambler quit running. With the help of some other motorists, I was able to push it to the side of the road. I was able to get the engine started again and headed to the gas station. After filling the tank, I started again, but the little Rambler didn’t want to run. I had to call my Dad and have him help me pull the car back to my shop. When I told my wife about the day's experience, she told me, “You need to get rid of that car.”
The next morning I determined that the fuel pump wasn’t working. After replacing the pump, the little Rambler fired up and ran smoothly. I was ready for another drive. This time it ran perfectly, but when I returned to my shop, I noticed a stream of coolant running out from under the front end of the car. After checking out the leak, I found that I needed a new water pump. I had also noticed that the steering was loose. When I had replaced the water pump and a tie rod end, the little Rambler was ready to drive.
Since that time, I have driven the little Rambler a lot. I have steadily worked on the car to improve it. It has a new gas tank, and clutch linkage. There is now a coat of new paint on the little car, and it looks nice. I recently replaced everything on the front brake system so I can stop safely. I hadn’t driven the Rambler for several months because the brakes needed to be repaired. On the first drive after the brake job, the little Rambler left me beside the road when the needle valve stuck and flooded the engine.
For the past couple of weeks, I have enjoyed driving the Rambler with her new coat of paint and good brakes. But yesterday as I was driving down Highway 71, The car started to vibrate severely and then seemed to buck like a bronco. I was able to pull into the center turning lane. When I got out to look at the car, the right front tire was leaning at a crazy angle. I knew I wouldn’t be able to move the car. I called the towing company to have the little Rambler towed back to my shop. Because something in the suspension was broken and the right side of the car was sitting on the ground, we had a difficult time loading the Rambler. Traffic refused to move over to give us room to work the tow truck. We finally had to call the police to help stop traffic so we could load the car.
Did I still love the little Rambler? She has given me a lot of trouble. This time I am afraid that it is serious. I haven’t had time to find out what needs to be done, but I hope to be driving again soon.
The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8(NLT) that, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” God loves us in our broken down imperfect state. Sometimes we feel that we have to become good before God can love us. But we learn in Isaiah 64:6 (AMPC) that, “our best deeds of rightness and justice are like filthy rags or a polluted garment.” We can never become good enough to deserve God’s love. Just like I love my little Rambler even when she isn’t driveable, God loves us in our sinful condition. The Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst of those sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (ICB)
Because God loves us, He wants better things for us. Peter explains the process in 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NCV), “Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love.”
Gentle Reader, even though I haven’t gotten rid of the little Rambler though it seems that I can never drive it without a breakdown, I do want to improve it. God is the same way with us. He tells us that “nothing can ever separate us from His love” Romans 8:38 (NLT), but Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (ESV) He wants a relationship with us. He wants to improve us.