“As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NIV
I have a lot of BIG things I am praying for and about. (yes, this sounds like yesterday’s post.) I am not ashamed to have needs and not ashamed to pray boldly for them. Let me share how my last week played out and the testing of my faith in what really amounts to a little thing. Not a big thing like a soul to be saved, not a government to be protected, just a simple small need and definitely a first world problem.
My adult (23 years old) son just graduated last spring from college, has a good job (not in his field and not making much), it is steady work, and he is just starting off into independent adulthood. I am proud of him even though he is struggling – it a familiar struggle and a stage of life most adults have been through once or even a few times.
He took his car to the shop for a repair (one of those dealer parts kind of thing) and was quoted just under $500. Big money for him. I said I would help. However, God permitted obstacles and a change of direction – something the enemy meant for evil and God had a plan to use it for good.
The dealership opened up the car and immediately called us. The problem was not so simple – it was huge. The new quote was over a thousand just to get the car fixed enough to diagnose the rest which they predicted to be almost another thousand. The old car (with body damage, with 200k miles, with a value of $500 and with nothing left to offer this world) should not be fixed.
Immediately, I praise the lord on the inside. I had already took a half day off from work the next day – we were at a dealership (and since I don’t know about cars, buying one from a dealer might be wise) the timing and location seemed to wrap me in the comfort of God’s grace. In faith I walked out to the front sales floor and said we want to buy the least expensive car on your lot. My faith was fixed. This is it! Since my son needs a car to get to work – it’s a need – then GOD WILL PROVIDE! AMEN!!! Step aside and stay out of my way.
Meanwhile, my son starts to panic – it all happened so fast. He was still processing that his car (his first car ever) just died.
I throw him in for a test drive. He is shocked and confused but gets in the car with the sales lady and drives. I pop open my banking app and say: “Dear Jesus, how are you going to do this? Obviously not with my money.”
I did not wait for an answer from God. Might have been my first mistake in this. Instead I called my brother. He encouraged me and reassured me that God will make a way. It will probably be by financing, but it will build the kid’s credit and (quickly calculating based on estimated numbers) the monthly payment may be less than a week’s pay for him. I am reassured and ready. If God pulled it off that night it would have been a huge miracle; to God be all the glory!!!
My son comes back from the test drive, quiet. So I talk with the sales person. I saw a huge STOP sign when numbers grew too high before closing costs when they should have been going down – so we leave. My son is starting to get a negative attitude (I do not notice) and I am in “fix the situation” mode. When he and I finally talk alone, he is not ok – not with the car he drove, not with his car being broken, not with us talking numbers and financing and all these things he doesn’t understand and talking about all these car things he has never even thought about or knew about. He was overwhelmed. I quickly say, breathe deep, this is how life goes sometimes. We are doing this and I stop at the dealer next door. I walk in and say: show me the least expensive are on the lot. My second mistake – I should have given my son time to catch up.
Instead his attitude continued to decline and I was letting it all happen to fast. We leave place number two with a paper; on it car info on a reliable car that meets his needs and a firm number for cost (in a good range for financing). I have peace.
The drive home was a nightmare, as I began to realize my son was crumbling under fear and stress and anger with a giant attitude problem. I tried talking with him, but he was shut down. I began to stress about him.
I get home call a few praying friends to ask for prayers. But at this point my stress about my son seems to be projected onto the situation – it is obvious I am not myself now either. I too caught the spirit of fear. And I still haven’t taken the time to really talk and listen to God. One of my praying friends is on the line trying to calm me down and it isn’t working. Then all of a sudden I calmed. I had grace, peace and powerful faith again. It was strange, but so grateful for it. God literally released me from that and I was me again. (Turned out another friend was praying for me at that moment!)
Remember this from yesterday’s post:
Philippians 4:19 KJV “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
I can have confidence the answer is: “Yes, child, I will meet this need.”
Praise the Lord!
“And sometimes I need to wait on the answer as you see above in Daniel, sometimes a battle delays the answer.”
Yea, keep this in mind as I tell you what happened next. I TOLD God that I believed he would provide a car and I slept. I did not talk with him – I told him. I did not listen. I slept. How many mistakes am I up to now?
In the morning I messaged all my friends to encourage their faith and said: “I will message later today with pictures of this glorious blessing from God” (no, pictures were sent to them later that day). Then I went to work. I had taken half a day off – so as soon as I punched off the clock, I grabbed my son and went to the bank with the paper (with the details of the good little car I found on the second car lot). Long boring financial conversation and then the bank and I agree that my son should try first to finance in his name without a co-signer. My son has a frustrated (and unhappy look on his face but agrees (and probably only because he thought it was what he had to do).
Is anyone else getting mad at me? Don’t worry, I get a clue eventually – keep reading.
He was denied – great credit score, just too much college loan and not enough income (and no assets). We discussed trying at a dealership in case they had any of those programs that maybe my son qualifies for – big maybe. If denied, she said to come back and I can co-sign. So off we go.
At the advice of friends first I decide to check in with my repair guy (who occasionally buys and sells cars). He has a truck for sale – I could buy it with my savings and drain our funds, but it would be paid for. So, my son takes a test drive AND HATED IT more than he hated the good little car we found at the second lot.
Well, I am not completely daft. I know I need my son to get on board, especially if he will be taking on a car payment. So I agree we keep looking. We then go around town trying to see what our options are (although my brother, son and I have already been on all the websites). The day speeds by and it’s now too late to start and complete the car buying process. I say to my son: we are driving to the next town to see what they have – you need more choices.
Its presidents week/month sales time and tax return season (although we don’t have our return yet which would have made this process easier – God loves impossible situations). However, no used car is staying on any lot. Everyone was saying you should have come last week. My son wasn’t picky. The truck wasn’t the wisest choice and the good little car? Well, it was horribly ugly and handled like a loud, cheaply made… well, I was also sad it was the best option. And my son was struggling to even be ok with what was happening, his face had a scowl I feared would never go away.
In the next town we find a funky Kia Soul in the price range the bank was telling us to look in. I let my son test drive it with the sales person while I stayed back, like I did each time – he needs to do this and it has to be his decision. I kept messaging my praying friends letting them know where we were in the process so they could keep praying. We all knew the billion pieces to the puzzle of buying a car and how much can go wrong. We were keeping it all covered in prayer. AND praying for my son.
After the test drive, we sit at the sales man’s desk and talk. I can see my son liked it and it isn’t much more than the ugly but good car (similar safety rating, gas mileage, size, ability in adverse weather, etc.) . My son says to the guy: so what do I do next.
He replies: you have to decide what you want.
My son says: I want it.
By this point the guy is rooting for my son, they had made a connection. The salesman became more fatherly and less of a salesman. So he is thrilled my son’s bad attitude has slipped away and he made a choice! He jumps up in pride and shakes my son’s hand! I don’t think he expected to be as invested in our process as he became. God has a funny way of helping us.
I am sorry this is so long and hardly deep enough for you to understand the battle that was happening. This might have been the second biggest victory in this adventure.
I explain the financing situation just as the bank told me to – it’s a long shot. We get the financing going and my son puts some money down on the car. And we are sent home. I get home in time to go to the church group I attend and I ask the ladies to keep it in prayer. Meanwhile, my son who doesn’t fully believe in God anymore is home praying as well. (This is the biggest victory?!)
Morning comes – he was denied financing. “But I prayed for this car – God hates me! This is why I don’t believe – He doesn’t care.”
The wind is also knocked out of my sail – but God I believe you meet our needs and reward those who seek you. OK, time to listen to God, finally. I think maybe we need more options. Different car? Different place? Maybe a cheaper and older jalopy from a junk yard?! We both have the day off – let’s do this – but wait, “God, where do I go?”
I lollygagged around the house waiting for direction. Telling my son what options we have left including me co-signing. AND if we thought his attitude was bad before? He was so mad at himself for having hope and believing in God; and enraged at God.
This was going to be a difficult day – I get all my praying women on board with more prayers – LETS DO THIS! There is NOTHING going to stand in the way of my God showing his love to my child – I put the enemy on notice:
satan cannot have my child or his blessing!
It is written: my God shall supply all my needs! (Phil 4:19)
It is written: Today is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:2)
It is written! It is written! It is written!
I took a breath and yelled to my son – “Let’s Go!”
“I don’t know. We are going north.”
I start driving north. I have no idea where to go or what to do.
“Look there is our bank!” I pull in. My son is whining that he doesn’t want the Kia Soul any more. I say, “just come on”.
Now, my financial back story and why I didn’t do this first off and straight away. While my son was in college and I paid 12k a year out of my paychecks because I didn’t have savings like that – I kind of destroyed my credit making ends meet. But I was working with my bank then and I still am and we have had a plan and it’s going as we hoped. January 1st after he graduated I was going to (and did) borrow some and withdraw some money – pay a bunch of debt off and consolidate the rest and have one low monthly payment to fix the issues. Since this was just over 30 days ago, none of us want to run my credit. It’s Schrödinger’s box and we are scared the cat is dead. And my son understood the risk to my financial plan. What he didn’t understand was the power of God! When we ran mine – we learned my credit score improved by more than 50 points in the last 36 days! Then we ran the application with me co-signing and we were approved. My son almost burst into tears. He asked again: so I am approved?! Yes! Call the car salesman and tell him we need a purchase agreement!
Would it be that easy? It was 11 am. OF COURSE NOT! EVERY SINGLE THING WAS AN OBSTICLE! This was wrong and needed to be fixed, that was too, and so was that. I drove from my home town to the next town and back again, 3 times. We didn’t eat, drink or breathe for most of the day as we prayed while things slowly worked out. 4:32 pm he signed the loan paperwork and 4:40 pm we walked out of the bank with the check. 6:30 pm he was in the new car and driving off the lot waving goodbye to the old dead car in his rear view mirror (and by another strange miracle they took the dead beast in trade).
His payments are $20 less than we expected and less than a week’s pay per month. The rate is low and the total loan price is actually still a good price to buy that car at. The number of blessing that happened in these two days are too many to count.
But let’s remind me of my lessons:
- Take time to listen to God – really listen. Did you notice the answer to what to do was given to me early on – we just didn’t listen and ran ourselves around for no reason? I google “Bible verses on listening to God” and Psalms 143:8 is the first one: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul”.
Yes, he bought a Kia Soul! Giggles.
- And when I did listen – I knew to go north and didn’t know if I was going to the bank or to more car dealerships. Sometime we just need to start moving when God says move and he will direct as we go.
“And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went.” Ezekiel 1:12
- SLOW DOWN!!! My poor son. Yes, he is responsible for his bad attitude, but to be fair – I never discussed anything with him and took off like lightening – Talk and listen to your children I have since and apologized.
“take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” James 1:19
- What did I actually even do? I drove around in circles and stress my son out. The truth of this whole story is: my son figured it out. He picked out the car – he did the soul searching. He was considerate of my financial needs. He did it! And I am so proud of him.
God has much work to do with me – pray for me! But God isn’t quite finished with any of us yet! I will pray for you – whoever you are who has stumble upon this blog. Be blessed and encourage. Thank you for reading.