Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Little Miata

My An Arkie's Faith column from the October 21, 2020, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

I thought I heard the phone ringing over the sound of the grinder I was using. I stopped grinding and listened. Yes, the phone was ringing. I laid the grinder down and answered the phone. On the other end of the line was a long time customer. “We have had an accident in our Chevy Equinox, and we want you to repair it,” he said. He gave me the insurance information, and we made arrangements for the job.

Repairing the Equinox was a big job. Finally, the day came when I called the customer and told them that the car was ready to be picked up. “We have a Mazda Miata that needs some work on it,” he said, “would you have time to do it? “What work do you want me to do to the car? I asked. “The door has a dent in it, and it needs a new mirror,” he replied. I told him that I would be able to do the job, and he decided to drop off the little Miata when he picked up the Equinox.

When he and his wife dropped the Miata off, we discussed the repairs. I told them that with the deteriorated condition of the paint, the repairs would be very noticeable. They asked for a quote on a complete paint job and also on replacing the convertible top. I told them that I would get a quote together and call them later. 

When I called them back with a quote, they decided to go ahead with the complete repaint and the top replacement. But they also had a list of other things that they wanted me to repair on the car, such as replacing the struts and installing new seat covers. After getting prices for all of the additional work they wanted me to do, I called them with the quote. I was surprised when they told me to do everything. The wife told me, “I love driving the little Miata, and I want it in great shape again.”

I think that there is a parallel between restored cars and our spiritual lives. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT) Just like the owners of the little Miata love their car enough to spend the money to make it beautiful; God loves us in our broken-down condition. But even though he loves us in our sinful state, He doesn’t want us to stay in that condition. God has a vision for our lives. He wants to restore us.

In Job 33:26 (NKJV), The Bible talks about restoration. There it says, “He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him, He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness.” God has a plan for each one of us. He plans to restore us to righteousness. The difference between you and me and a car in need of restoration is that the old car is passive. It isn’t part of the decision to restore. But you and I have to be willing to be repaired.

Unlike the old car that is passive in the restoration process, we have a part to play in our restoration. God wants us all to repent. Repentance is saying to God, “I know that I need to be restored. I want you to restore me.” In Romans 2:4 (NASB), the Bible says, “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

What leads us to repentance? The Bible says it is the kindness of God. Paul puts in another way in 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV), “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” My favorite verse of scripture is 1 John 1:9 (NKJV). It says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

What does it mean to confess? The dictionary says: “to admit or state that one has committed a crime or is at fault in some way.” To confess, we have to admit we are wrong. The term repent, or repentance takes this idea a step further. The dictionary says that to repent is to “feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.”

What leads us to repentance? What leads us to confess? We are led to repentance by the kindness of God. When we experience God’s kindness and feel his love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, it makes us want to love him. When we love God, we want to please him. We want to be restored.

Gentle Reader, just like the little Miata owners want to restore their car, God wants to restore you. Any car driven long enough without repairs will end up in the junkyard and eventually be crushed and recycled. God doesn’t want us to be abandoned and crushed by this life. He doesn’t want us to perish. 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) tells us that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” I hope that you will spend some time today, reflecting on the kindness that God has shown you and tell Him that you are sorry for the things you have done to hurt Him. God has promised that if we confess our sins, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will restore us if we let Him.

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