In May of 2005 Doris and I were still putting the pieces back together from the STUPID chapters of my life. I had been to the clinic about a year before. God had done a miracle in us and for us. We were back together, learning to do marriage and life a whole new way. And the miracles that He had for us, like Branches, were still around the corner. But God…don’t you love that phrase…but God was still doing His really good stuff.
Doris was having a birthday. (Her 29th I think!). She had always dreamed of a special car from the time she was a teenager tooling around in her daddy’s Buick; a red Jaguar. Or as they say now, a JAAG-UUU-AARRR. I was flipping houses until God said what to do next. And, important piece of the puzzle, we had (have) a great friend in the car business, Tony Bates. “He’ll trade for anything that don’t eat.” In all seriousness, he is a great friend and a great Christian businessman.
I called my friend Tony, he went to an auction, and on the evening of May 26th at Olive Garden in Nashville, TN the surprise unfolded. I told Doris we were going out for her birthday. We had invited a bunch of wonderful friends. She thought that was the surprise. After supper, we all walked out and Jacob came driving around the restaurant in this gorgeous, Cranberry Red JAAG-UUU-AARR with a big red bow on top. Doris was blown away.
Okay, I admit it was partly a guilt gift J but it was mainly the coming together of so many things that God had and was doing in our lives. Healing of our marriage, the support of wonderful friends, the hope for blessing in the future, and the promise that we would dream again. I know that’s a lot of weight on one little car but it was all there. God just showing off in that moment when you really need a little touch from Him.
Yesterday, after 12 years, we traded the Jag for a “newer” car for Doris. Yep, we went back to Tony Bates. Yep, he’ll still trade for anything that don’t eat. And yep, God is still good and still faithful. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. Excited about the new car (a Taurus) but also very reflective about where we have been, how far God has brought us in the last 12 years. The Jag has been a symbol of that.
When Joshua took the Children of Israel across the Jordan into the promised land, God instructed him to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the river and put them on the other bank. “When your children ask what these stones mean,” God said, “Tell them Israel crossed the river on dry ground.” (Joshua 4:21-22) Tell them God is good and always faithful.
As we end 2016, for many it has been a hard year. For some it has been amazing and full of miracles. For most of us, we survived. But if we look closely there are moments, events, stones on the river bed of 2016 tha t remind us of how God worked. We need those altars in our lives. Our kids need to see them. We need to talk about them a lot. Tell your kids and your friends and the friends of your kids what God has done and how He has blessed you and the miracles He has performed. Doris and I have found the more we talk about His goodness, the more He seems to demonstrate His love for us.
As 2016 ends, pick up some of those rocks. Get yourself a symbol or two to remind you in the new year what God has done in the old. And if you don’t know where to find one go see Tony Bates….