They stole my muffler, and God showed up

It sounded like my Isuzu Rodeo had swallowed a demon.

After being shuttled from the airport back to my car, throwing my stuff in, settling into the driver’s seat for the 3-hour drive, and turning the key, the noise which emitted from beneath my vehicle was otherworldly. Ever been to a tractor pull? Yea, it sounded like that. And generally, a highway vehicle should not sound like a suped-up tractor pulling a 15-ton sled.

So, I rumbled down the road a bit until I found a suitable place to pull over, alerting everyone in the Nashville metro area to my presence with the melodious sounds of a gargoyle colossus issuing from my undercarriage. I hopped out and crawled under to take a look, and almost immediately saw that there was a large gap in a section of pipe which looked to have been newly sawn off. Alas, my vehicle had become a statistic in the epidemic upswing of catalytic converter theft since the price of platinum has gone up.

So, I found a nearby hotel and booked a room for the night. I spent a little time thanking the Lord for His blessings to me, not least of all for the means to get a hotel room so I didn’t find it necessary to sleep in the car. I asked that He continue His blessings the next day (today) by helping me work things out with the car. I slept peacefully.

Breakfast was procured at Cracker Barrel next door, during which time I started making phone calls to auto-part shops and such, seeing what there was available. At the same time, I was getting Facebook posts, texts, and phonecalls from brothers and sisters in the Lord who had heard of my little predicament, and were calling to either express concern or offer help.

I had no less than half a dozen people offer to help me in some way, whether it was connecting me with acquaintances in Nashville or offering advice on car repair options. There were several times that many who expressed concern and offered prayer.

A nearby auto parts store had a universal adapter which could fit what I needed, and right next door to them was a muffler shop. Grace and blessing, right there. I bought the part and took it to the shop, and waited. The owner of the shop laughed with me about the ridiculous noise coming out of the vehicle, and was a great help. However, when we put the car up on the rack and took a closer look at the damage, it became apparent that – because of the way the pipe had been cut – it wasn’t really feasible to use the part I had bought. I would need the whole section of muffler pipe instead, and it would take at least another day to get the part and do the work to put it on.

Well, that would seem like a bummer, but the Lord was still acting on my behalf. A generous brother in my church called spontaneously and offered to drive down to Nashville with a trailer to bring me and the Rodeo back to New Castle. AND, the shop owner offered to get the necessary part for me at dealer-cost ($100+ in savings).

Therefore, in light of today’s events, I must charge you to recognize and rejoice in the amazing love of God for His people. It’s not even close to the end of the day, and just as I requested last night He has provided for me in a dozen different ways. I am well taken care of. A few thoughts on as I consider the day’s events:

My joy/contentment is not tied to my personal plans. —  I had planned to be back in Kentucky by now, working on the significant To-Do list which I’ve racked up on my break. If my joy and peace were tied to that plan, then my joy and peace would be broken when the plans were broken. BUT, because my joy and contentment are tied to Christ, they are not threatened in the least when plans are broken. In fact, it is exciting to consider the possibilities of the day and what God might have in store. Thus, because my joy is in Jesus, this breaking of my personal plans actually gives me greater joy, because I believe Proverbs 16:9 and therefore believe that Jesus is the reason I am here today. If this is where Jesus wants me, I am joyful. My broken plans have not produced anger or resentment, but increased contentment — all because I am tied to Christ. Don’t you want to be able to say that your joy is not threatened by broken plans?

My joy is not tied to my personal property. — It’s nice to have a vehicle. It’s a great blessing to be able to get around from place to place. But it’s just a thing. My car it simply the predecessor to a pile of dust, because that’s what it will turn into one day. I like having a car, but my joy and satisfaction is not tied to my vehicle. Thus, when someone slides up under that bad boy and cuts it to pieces, I’m still joyful. Furthermore, when I have to shell out hundreds of dollars unexpectedly to stay here for a night, buy an expensive piece of metal and pay for someone to bolt it in place – I’m still joyful. Why? Because my joy is not tied to my personal property – neither a car or money. In fact, my joy has INCREASED through having to part with this money. Why? Because I see the tremendous generosity of God in providing it for me in the first place. If He had not provided, I wouldn’t have it to shell out. That makes my heart overflow in thankfulness to the Lord, which = more joy. Don’t you want to be able to say that your joy is not threatened by broken/lost property?

It is good to be part of the body of Christ. — My brothers and sisters in Christ immediately began expressing concern and offering help. Is this not why the Lord puts us into fellowship with other believers? We become the manifestation of Jesus to each other (and to the world). The prayers for aid were answered by my Lord when He moved His Spirit in the hearts of His people to do what HE would do if He were flesh and blood on this earth. That is an AMAZING thought. The Spirit of God moves the people of God to perform the actions of Jesus. It is good to be part of that body.

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll simply end with this: Jesus is good and His love satisfies me. He has brought me here today in order that I might experience Him. My joy is full, and my heart is satisfied.

My earnest, pleading prayer is that it would be the same for you! Give yourself to Christ, and see if He does not satisfy you. Anchor your contentment to the Rock of Ages, who does not move. Why delight in things that can be stolen or taken?

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Be blessed, my friend!

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