Most dads want to teach their sons and daughters that being truthful and honest is something our God desires and asks of us. Our personal integrity is highly valuable and should be maintained throughout our lives. I can remember those awkward moments when one of my sons had been caught telling a lie. You know those talks — the “I-am-more-disappointed-in-you-because-you-didn’t-tell-me-the-truth-than-I-am-about-what-you-did-in-the-first-place” ones.
Recently, I received a call from my son, Jordan who lives in Montana with his wife, Katie, and their dog, Juno. With careers at separate non-profit organizations, they have been able to work in their respective areas of interests and passions, but their combined income these days isn’t as large as their father/father-in-law would like to see. The call I received from my son that day was about their car. A few days earlier it started to make some noise — coming from the area of the transmission; noise that a 7 year-old vehicle with less than 90,000 miles shouldn’t be making. They had purchased the car several years earlier and had it serviced regularly, but they still a balance on their loan for it. So, Jordan took the car to a mechanic and had him drive the car to take a listen. The conclusion was that it was probably a bearing and could go bad at any time. The mechanic also explained that this type of transmission repair would require a complete replacement when it failed — to the tune of $2500-$3500!
Jordan’s question to me was simple: What should I do? As we talked and evaluated the options of trading the car in, selling it outright, or repairing it, I began to see the fruit of those earlier lessons play out in his decision-making process. His first step was to find out what a dealer would give him on a trade towards another car. But, after looking at the cost of a replacement vehicle, he felt the difference needed would be more than they could afford. They didn’t have an extra $3000 sitting around, so repairing it seemed to be low on the list of practical solutions. The final option was to sell it outright, but that meant deciding whether to reveal the potential problem or not.
Ah, the integrity question.
Honestly, none of the options seemed ideal, but Jordan insisted he would have to reveal the mechanical issue regardless of which option they chose.
That’s when God showed up.
Jordan received a call from Katie’s dad. He told them that a close friend was about to trade in a 3 year-old Subaru, but she didn’t like the trade in value. She offered it to Jordan and Katie for a few hundred dollars more than the trade in amount. It was a great deal and now all that remained was to get rid of the car with the problem. Jordan decided he would take it to a local dealer and ask him to purchase it. Unfortunately, the dealer wasn’t interested, but had a personal friend who was looking for a similar vehicle. Jordan took the car to him later that evening and told him the whole story. The man looked at Jordan, said he liked the car, wasn’t concerned about the transmission issue, and wanted to buy it for his daughter. Jordan told him the book value of the car, what the repair would cost, and what he thought a fair price would be. The guy agreed and they shook hands.
Today, Jordan and Katie are driving a new car that fits their budget and in their hearts they are thanking the God who loves them for working it all out. I’m convinced that God, who loves us unconditionally, really enjoys it when we decide in our hearts to do things His way. Not every story will turn out with a new car, but every time we decide to follow our Heavenly Father’s instruction (His Word) we are acting out true faith. And whenever we act out (in) faith we are pleasing to our Father.
Try it and watch what happens.