Remembering All God Has Done When Your Car Won’t Start (Or Psalm 34:1)

Reflective Essay
Kimberly N. Alleyne, The Harvest Magazine publisher and editor

I couldn’t find my praise. I lost it. Just like that. All because of a dead battery.

The evening after a heavy snow, I tried to start my four-year-old car and all I heard was “click-click, click-click, click-click, click.” Nothing. It wouldn’t turn over, it wouldn’t do anything. And in my fear and frustration I lost my praise. I’m ashamed of that, but it’s true.

Photo credit: Marcy Leigh Flickr Creative Commons
Photo credit: Marcy Leigh Flickr Creative Commons

The week before, my Mom and I had driven from New York to Virginia in a horrible snowstorm. What is normally a six-hour drive took more than eight hours. In the midst of my frenzied scramble to diagnose my ailing vehicle, Mom said, “I was just praising God that the car didn’t stop during our drive from New York. I don’t know what we would’ve done in all that snow and sleet.”

Mom was right. God saw us through that storm without a scratch. We passed by seven cars that slid off the road and gotten stuck in the now. We made it through the snow and slush without incident, except for a few instances of stand-still traffic. He brought us through. And I was grateful. I just didn’t feel like saying so.

I was too fixated on what was wrong then, in my present. I had to figure out what was wrong with my car; I wasn’t concerned with what God had already done for me, all I wanted was for Him to fix my car, right away. I was frustrated. It had been a long week and I was in no mood to be inconvenienced by an inoperable car. Why should I have to?

Eventually, after eliminating several possibilities I figured out I had a dead battery. Phew! I can handle that. A dead battery is easy. I had feared there was an issue with the car’s electrical system; in fact, I convinced myself it was a major issue and therefore a major expense and therefore I had a major attitude.

I bought a new battery and connected it. My interior dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree, all systems were go. I let out a gulp of air mixed with gratitude, relief—and shame. I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.” And then waves of conviction drowned my spirit.

I really had some nerve behaving like a petulant child in the face of such a minor, elementary-school “trial.” Ha!  How dare I complain about a non-starting car when the Lord has continued to cover me with provision, protection, favor, and grace, and mercy and un-receding, and inherently unrequited love?

How dare I? God does not change. Even when I disappoint Him, even when I stomp my feet and pout like a child, He still loves me the same because I am His child. He is, His love is, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Can you imagine if God’s love was like the world’s love? Fickle and conditional and contingent? Scary to think about it.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

I repented; and I did thank God for the new battery. I thanked God that I didn’t have to contend with a major car expense. I thanked Him for blessing me with money to buy the battery.

Then I thanked Him for the dead battery. Why? Because if not for that dead battery, I wouldn’t have gotten a much-needed tune-up. My spiritual posture got a jumpstart (Sorry. The metaphor was hanging right there, I had to grab it). That dead battery on winter’s tail refreshed me and reminded me how richly blessed I am. Even if my car had never started again, I’d still be blessed.

I won’t lose my praise again. I will praise the Lord at all times (dead batteries, snow storms, closed doors, betrayal, disappointments, broken relationships, rejection); his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You.



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