December 14, 2019

When It Doesn’t Make Sense

One year ago I was the happy owner of a 2004 Honda Accord. It had 120,000 miles on it, which for a Honda is practically new. It got great gas mileage, was very dependable–and it had a moonroof. I love cars with a window over my head.

One year ago this month I was busy on a writing project. I was trying to put together a eBook publishing company. And I was preparing for a trip to see a colleague in Atlanta. That’s when the Lord began to stir in my heart to shop for a new car.

“I don’t want to shop for a new car,” I told the Lord. “I am content with my Honda. It is a sharp dark gray and it has a spoiler. I’ll keep this one, thank you.”

But the feeling grew stronger. I went out to a couple of dealers and kicked some tires. But I really didn’t want to to this. Then the day before I was to drive to Atlanta I woke up with an overwhelming sensation that I was to trade my car in that day or I would be disobeying the Lord. I knew I had to do it.

I just didn’t know why.

It didn’t make sense. I didn’t have time or, to be honest, the money to be shopping for another car. But I knew, I just knew, this was the Lord. So off I went.

I drove car after car after car. Just when I thought I was close to a deal on one, we couldn’t get close enough on my trade or the amount to finance. At five o’clock I announced to the Lord I had done what he wanted but I couldn’t make a deal, so I was going home. And that is when I saw the 2003 BMW 525i at the BMW dealer.

It hadn’t been out front at 3 o’clock when I went by their lot. I hadn’t even bothered shopping there because I knew I couldn’t afford a BMW. Plus who am I to be driving a Beemer (or, as the purest like to spell it, Bimmer)? I’m more of a Chevy or Honda guy. The price on the windshield was in my range, so I pulled in. I gave the car a test drive and within the hour it was mine. I drove it to Atlanta the next day, the first of 35,000 miles I put on that car in the past year. Yes, 35,000 miles.

To tell you the truth, I still doubted that I had heard the Lord. It didn’t make any sense why God would direct me to do that. Doesn’t he tell us, after all, to learn to be content in all things? And shouldn’t I be working to get out of debt, not getting deeper in debt? Why would God care what kind of car I drive? I told myself that he wanted to bless me with a nice car, but that just never quite fit. The thing is, I was sure God had told me to do this, but I didn’t know why.

Until Sunday.

My son, Mark, was late for National Guard drills. The police officer on the scene told me witnesses said Mark was passing them at around 110 miles per hour. (Believe me, that is easy to do in a BMW.) When he hit a loop to take him off of Highway 75 onto Interstate 44, I would guess he was going about 60 to 65 mph. The Beemer holds a turn, but not that turn at that speed. Especially with a lot of sand still on the road from our snowfall last week. He skidded off of the loop, crossed a service road, hit a guardrail, flipped the car and hit a concrete embankment. Did I mention he is 17? So naturally he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

He walked away from the accident without a scratch.

The police and medics I talked with said he should not have survived that kind of crash. And they were amazed that the car was not demolished. The tow truck driver was astounded that it still started. If Mark had been driving that 2004 Honda, I don’t think he would have fared as well. As a matter of fact, I think I would be planning my son’s funeral right now.

A year ago God put it on my heart to do something that made no sense. It was ridiculous. It even seemed to go against Scripture in ways. But I knew it was his leading. I obeyed. And my son lived through a horrible crash.

You can tell me all you want how God doesn’t speak to us like that. How he would never lead someone to go trade in a perfectly good car to take on more debt to get a car that costs  more to repair. You can tell me all that and more. All I have to say in return is my son is alive.

I followed the Lord on a path where I could not see the end. I don’t think faith is anything less than that.

Comments

  1. I say that the Lord speaks any way he chooses. Praise Jesus Christ that your son survived!

  2. Salsapinkkat says

    That’s a great story to tell about God’s care for us!

  3. I’m having trouble with this one. If you had kept the Honda, would your son have been driving 110? I don’t doubt the sincerity of your story but, at least to me, the cause and effect is pretty murky.

    I am happy that your son if okay.

    • I’m glad you said it first! The horsepower, handling and panache of a BMW are just too much for a teen to ignore. Would he have driven the same way with the Honda? Probably not, but we’ll never know, will we? Was it God’s mercy that he was not hurt? No doubt! But can the incident be traced directly back to the car’s purchase a year ago? Weeeell, that IS a bit of a stretch.

      • I blame it on Jeff’s decision to get a driver’s license in the first place. If he were really in God’s will, he would use public transportation, save money on car expenses and insurance which he could use for missions, and help out the environment at the same time. He would have taught his family to do the same. If his son took Greyhound he would have had no choice but to catch the bus on time, and Jeff would have used this space to tell us about something extraordinary and life-changing instead of this story.

      • Ha ha. When I was 17, I had a Toyota Tercell. I broke 100 mph every chance I got. It is only God’s grace that I am alive today…but I think that is true of most males that make it to adulthood.

        • “Toyota Tercel” and “100 mph” don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence…LOL.

    • Tom, I was about to ask the same exact thing. And I agree with Sean too. Thank God your son is alive though!

      • Okay, okay, okay…let me jump in here at this point (re: TomH and Oscar). My parents bought a 2004 Honda Accord. After my dad died, I took to driving my mom around in it. I’m telling you, when I first drove that Honda Accord, I felt like I was driving a race car. It was quicker and more powerful than my 1995 Accord and the Pontiac I used to have. You could drive 110mph in a 2004 Honda Accord. It might not get to that speed as fast as a BMW, but it would get there without a problem, especially on a straight stretch of interstate. I used to drive a pickup truck at 95mph on the interstate as a teen. I once got it to 105. (That was above the upper limit of the speedometer.) Another time, my mom arranged a ride back to college for me. It was about an hour away from my house if he had done the speed limit. The lad in his pickup truck did 110 most of the way back. To “blow out” the deposits in his engine, you understand. Needless to say, I never had my mom ask that kid for a ride again.

  4. I don’t know if I would have ever gone out and buy a new car, especially if I thought God was telling me to do it. My wife would have thought I was out of my mind! The moral of the story is to open up the ears of our heart and do what God says.

  5. Praise God that your son is safe! Your son will not easily forget that, knowing your obeying the voice of the Lord is the reason he’s alive. And it will reinforce for you that the Lord is intimately concerned about the details of our lives and, as Scripture states, works all things together for good.

    Some years ago, a friend of mine was driving through town, intent on the places she had to go, and she was nudged to get in the left turn lane at the next intersection. “But I don’t want to turn left. In fact, I need to keep going straight.” But that voice she knew so well was insistent. So she did and waited to turn left, although not knowing why. Before it was her turn to proceed through the intersection, a young man coming from her right lost control of his motorcycle and skidded to a stop right where her SUV would’ve been. Officers arriving at the scene told her if her car had been there, he’d have gone under it and died. When she told me about it she said, “The Lord knew what was coming, and knew if I’d somehow been responsible for someone’s death, I’d’ve gone crazy. He saved us both.”

    all of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
    Margret

    • Margret, not to be too nit-picky, but go back and read Romans chapter 8 and then ask yourself if your use of verse 28 truly applies to the situation. Many Christians have misappropriated that verse without thinking about the context, including myself in the past.

      None he less, that doesn’t change the grace of your story. God IS merciful!

      • Oscar, you say not to be too nit-picky, and then you go and be too nit-picky. Every bloody time someone mentions Romans 8:28, someone else is there to make sure they didn’t “misappropriate” it. It’s getting old. As old as a Pastor saying in his sermon, “Jesus never promises the Christian life is going to be easy.”

        • If the Apostle Paul was allowed to use the OT Scriptures the way he did at times, it may be a bit nit-picky at times to charge other Christians with mishandling or misappropriating the Scriptures.

          Just sayin’….

      • Greetings, Oscar!

        Let me begin by saying “thank you” as you caution me about taking Scripture out of context. That’s always good to remember! That said, having spent the first 27 years of my life as a Witness, I’m well acquainted with that danger and for 22 years have made it my aim to never misuse the Word to suit my own ends.

        With regard to that verse, in whatever version of the Bible you read it, be it The Amplified, The Holy Bible:1611 Edition, or The Message, one thing comes across loud and clear: God uses all things for our good. It doesn’t say all things are good, nor that all things will work out the way we want, just that it is for our good. Everything we experience is used by God to develop character, sometimes another’s character rather than our own. I don’t know Jeff (although I enjoy and learn from every one of his posts) and haven’t spoken with his son, yet I can pretty much guarantee that this was used by God to enforce the “I hear and obey”, and that both of them readily appreciate this Divine relationship. And that’s what I was trying to say, even though I apparently didn’t say it so well.

        Thanks again for the reminder to not take Scripture out of context.

        All of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
        Margret

        • Margaret, you can be on my Bible quiz team any day…..let’s knock on a few doors… Bless GOD that HE brought you out of the mirey clay, so to speak….. or is that a good application of the Psalm ???

          GregR

          • Well, I can definitely attest to the fact that all those rules-and-regs, especially without Relationship, certainly makes one feel as though they’re slogging through life!

            Thank you SO MUCH for making me laugh, for warming my heart, and blessing me.

            All of Heaven’s best to you and yours,
            Margret

  6. Over at Jesus Creed they’re currently arguing in one post about whether God knows the future, is ever surprised.

    I’m serious.

    Jeff, your post is the perfect answer.

    • “Does God know the future?”. Please tell me you are using hyperbole to make a point {please??}

      Guess someone missed the gravity of “I AM” (And *gravity. like time, is one of those temporal problems that He can ignore, evenif WE can’t, at least here and now.)

      *Bad pun–totally intended!

    • Of COURSE God doesn’t know the future! He doesn’t exist in time! We always want to assume that our experience of the universe is the correct one, instead of just a peculiarity of our situation in time and space; then we want to apply our understandings to God. It just doesn’t work.

      However, God knows everything, even the stuff I don’t know yet.

      • That is really profound. You are right space and time is how we operate.
        So, since God knows everything do you think that he also knows everything that would have happened had we done something differently or is that silly since he sets our path? I have been wondering that.

      • Genesis 22:12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

        Now I know? Hmmm…..

      • I wonder — Does God exist outside of time or does what we percieve as time arise as a manifestation of God’s being and nature? Perhaps time is one of the faces of His truthfulness. Events follow one another in linear sequence, which gives rise to cause and effect, sowing and reaping. You’ll find many miracles in the Bible, but one thing God has never done is to alter the past to make something unhappen once it has happened. He can turn situations around, and He can bring about good from an evil occurence. But He never erases the fact that the evil occurred in the first place. That would be a violation of truth — and one might argue that without the unchangeable integrity of time, there could be no such thing as truth.
        So is God seeing the end from the beginning or is he merely bringing about that which He has purposed to do along the course of time and in keeping with truth? Maybe it’s both at the same time. I don’t know, and I’m hurting my brain just thinking about this.

        • I think a cosmic lightbulb was just about to go on as I read your comment, humanslug, but then my feeble electrical system overloaded and everything sizzled.

        • Humanslug says:

          > You’ll find many miracles in the Bible, but one thing God has never done is to alter the past to make something unhappen once it has happened. <

          Do we know this for sure? How would we recognize a divine do-over? All we'd be left with, looking back at it, would be the revised outcome, which would look to us the same as if it had been the first and only outcome.

          • This conversation makes me think I need to watch “Inception” again!

          • Andy Z writes, ” How would we recognize a divine do-over? All we’d be left with, looking back at it, would be the revised outcome, which would look to us the same as if it had been the first and only outcome.”

            Interesting, Andy. I think of the story someone told here about how when he was young and seriously cut his tongue, his mother prayed strenously as she had no one to help her. She watched his tongue immediately be healed. Is a healing like that perhaps a turning back the time to when the tongue was undamaged? Or, when someone prays to God for forgiveness and she is not only forgiven but healed in various ways and filled with light and love…what happened? Yes, the Holy Spirit came to that person and the person is now the dwelling place of God. But did God also bring the person into a time when people were in perfect communion with God? Just some thoughts. Disregard if they are just silly. (I recently finished reading all of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles for the first time. That could be affecting my thinking, too.)

          • Joanie asks:

            > Is a healing like that perhaps a turning back the time to when the tongue was undamaged? <

            Maybe! My input to discussions like this is often to suggest that the possibilities ared more limitless than we suppose and our knowledge less certain.

            Just like you, I wonder. How about the resurrection of Lazarus and of Jairus' daughter, and about Jesus walking through the hostile crowd (who had resolved to kill him) in Luke chapter 4? We explain them as miracles moving forward in time, because we can only perceive things in terms of time. And they might have been that. But one of the great qualities of God is His unlimited existence, and He is worthy of praise for what He does outside of time as well as what he does within our comprehension.

  7. Very rarely do we get to see Divine Providence displayed in such a visible manner. In the face of puzzling impressions like yours, usually we wind up shrugging and adding it to the list of things we want to ask when we get up there.
    Thank God for protecting your son and thank God for giving your family a glimpse of His loving care.

  8. Well, I certainly praise God your son is alive and well. That really does sound like a miracle! As far as the cause and effect of the purchase of the car and the accident, I guess I’m kind of like others here. I don’t know if I can believe it was a matter of predestination or something like it. After all, had your son been driving a Honda, it’s doubtful he would have been going 110 mph!

    Sometimes I wonder if our insistence on finding a reason for everything that God tells us to do doesn’t drive Him bonkers. Can’t He just want to bless us for the sake of blessing us sometimes? Can’t we simply accept His gifts for the pure acts of love that they are? Again, I’m not accusing you, Jeff, of not doing this. I know it probably comes off that way. I guess perhaps I’ve seen too many things that turn out the opposite of this situation where mothers have lost their sons or daughters in car accidents. Were they being disobedient? Was God not watching over them?

  9. I’m glad your son is fine. Scary situation for a parent, isn’t it?

  10. Praise God that your son is okay. I’m more than happy leaving it at that. Treasure up the feelings your family is feeling now and ponder them in your heart.

  11. David Cornwell says

    God is a mystery who reaches beyond explanation. God is omnipotent and omnipresent. How this squares with some of the great unknowns of our faith, the problem of evil, etc. I gave up trying to figure out. It’s one of the mysteries. Sometimes he does guide us into the unfathomable. Sometimes he doesn’t seem to be anywhere. Human logic will end up usually where it started, except with more questions.

    Praise God that your son is alive.

  12. I’ve just finished listening to a recorded lecture series on Philophy of Religion. One of the key topics was the epistemology of faith — how people know or presume to know that God exists and what His Nature and His Will is. Several of the methods presented were dispassionate intellectual approaches with names like Ontology and Teliology and Cosmology.

    There is also the evidence of direct revelation. Philosophers accept the possibility that God can seize upon a particular person at a particular moment and reveal Himself and His Will to them. We believers certainly must accept it as a possibility, too.

    And part of the lesson was that direct revelation works only for the person to whom the revelation is given, not to others who hear the story after. The Lord moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. I am not very sympathetic to bad drivers and I hope the kid in the story loses his license. But his survival is a mercy and the revelation to Jeff may well have been exactly as he describes it.

  13. I am glad your son is alive. But we could put a different spin on this story. Maybe you listened to the wrong voice and purchased the car, which tempted your son to speed and God made the car go away, (since the thought to purchase the car had not come from Him) but left your son safe. Not that I believe that – but it does put a different spin on things. When I start thinking that God wants me to have some material thing I usually back off that thought – its actually me who wants it and looking to justify – of course there is the Prayer of Jabez….

  14. Would a 17 year old male try to go 110mph in a Honda? Would the Honda do 110mph?
    The answer is yes to both.
    Would the BMW be safer then the Honda in a crash?
    The answer is yes again.
    BTW…I’m not playing car favorites. I don’t like either brand 🙂

  15. Well at least now I have confirmation supporting all the times a preacher has stood in the pulpit and announced that God had told him it was time for the church to build a new [insert favorite Christian-centered building type here].

    Sorry if that comes across as crass, and no doubt God can speak to us in whatever way he chooses, but why didn’t he just lead you to buy your son a better alarm clock?

    • God led a loving father to make a decision which ended up protecting his knuckleheaded teenaged son.

      As a former knuckleheaded teenaged son myself, and as one who anticipates fatherhod one day, I’m thankful for this story on many levels. I hope God gives me wisdom and foresight (even if I don’t recognize it) just like this.

      • Boasting about dangerous, irresponsible driving is inapropriate for a conversation among adults.

    • Maybe because God knows teenagers will be tempted to drive fast whether they’re late or not, and regardless of what kind of car they’re driving! 🙂

      • David Cornwell says

        I gave my 17 year old grandson a car to drive until he is out of school. It’s old and not fast. But he was almost late once to an appointment and told me pushed the car to its limit on the interstate and the whole car was shaking and shuttering. Now he is saving to buy the car of a friend who will be going into the army upon graduation. It has become the car of his dreams.

        Teens are special, wild, loving, strange, and fun. We must pray for them.

  16. The claim that praise and gratitude is due God for the son’s safety does not necessarily entail that God especially intervened to ensure the purchase of a BMW. A high school friend’s mother used to report that every time she ever got a good parking space in bad weather, “the Holy Spirit did it for me.” i’m glad others have challenged this kind of interpretation of events. i think people who’s sons actually die in car wrecks would find it appalling.

    –guy

    • as a father that has lost a son in a wreck, I have to say that I am not appalled by this story but praise God that the child is ok.
      through the tragic loss of my son I have experinced God in ways I could have never imagined.
      He is a loving Father that was with me every step of the way, with comfort, peace and grace to deal with unimaginable.

      • i’m sorry for your loss. i’m glad for his son’s safety.

        i nevertheless find his interpretation of events to be off-putting at the very least.

        –guy

        • I find it more challenging than off-putting – i.e., isn’t it awesome that God might actually communicate with us these ways? And if so, doesn’t it behoove us to try to become more attuned to – and obedient to – His Spirit?

          • The problem is, how do we know if something really is God – especially if it is “counter-intuitive”, “illogical”, etc.

          • Ditto that….and very well said Eric..

          • @nedbrek:

            How do we know? Experience(s). At least that’s what people tell me, because I’ve only rarely had or recognized these God nudges, or if I responded to them I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.

            But it seems to me that if we tout as Scripture a Book that proclaims a God who does these things, and we want people to believe in the God who, according to His book, does these things, then it kind of undercuts our case to say or act like: “Well, while the Bible contains many, many instances of God speaking to people, whether via His Spirit or via dreams or via circumstances, etc., He doesn’t really do those things anymore. But He’s still the same God and is still just like the Book says He is. Only He’s not really. But He is, really!”

            The attempts to overly scrutinize and logically analyze these things or God Himself remind me again of the conversation between rabbi Gene Wilder and the Indian Chief in THE FRISCO KID when the Indians have been waiting for rain and they want to know if this rabbi’s God can make rain:

            Chief Gray Cloud: [in reference to Avram’s god] What does he do?

            Avram: He… He can do anything!

            Chief Gray Cloud: Then why can’t he make rain?

            Avram: Because he doesn’t make rain. He gives us strength when we’re suffering. He gives us compassion when all that we feel is hatred. He gives us courage when we’re searching around blindly like little mice in the darkness… but He does not make rain!

            [Thunder and lightning begin, followed by a downpour]

            Avram: Of course… sometimes, just like that, he’ll change His mind.

          • Watch the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA0_bSZAfLg

            😀

          • Eric, I believe Hebrews 1:1-2 “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. ”

            We don’t need God to speak to us today. We have what His Son delivered to us in the bible.

          • @nedbrek:

            a) The God Who meets us both in the Bible and in our lives and circumstances, sometimes supernaturally and awesomely and tangibly so.

            b) The God Who only meets us in the Bible.

            I’ll pick… a).

          • And what do you tell a man who leaves his wife because “God told him to”?

          • David Cornwell says

            About the man who’s wife said God was telling her to leave him: I think sometimes this is just what a loving God would do.

          • And what if it is clearly rationalization for justifying sin?

          • And what if…?

            And what do you…?

            But what if…?

            But what do you…?

            (Ow, my head hurts!)

            And what if God did, without letting up, urge Jeff for reasons beyond his comprehension or reasoning or logic to trade in his perfectly good car when he did, and for the possible reason Jeff wrote about?

            What if?

          • I know people who are using “God told me” as excuses to do what they want. Worse, they are so confused, they don’t even know what is right or wrong.

            Telling people to “listen for God” is destroying people. There is no sound way to test for it.

          • @nedbrek:
            Telling people to “listen for God” is destroying people. There is no sound way to test for it.

            and I think JeffD would shout AMEN to the second part of your statement….I think that’s one of the points he was getting at with his post, but you might not find this comforting….. Maybe a GOD WHo succumbs to our testing is not much of a god…

          • David Cornwell says

            @nedbrook: Terrible abusive men. I’ve seen them. I’ve known them. They have destroyed the marriage.

        • Telling people to “listen for God” is destroying people. There is no sound way to test for it.

          Tell that to Abraham.

          Or Moses.

          Or Daniel.

          Or David.

          Or Solomon.

          Or Jesus.

          Or Peter.

          Or Paul.

          Or all the saints through the ages whose lives and words bear testimony to the fact that YHWH is the Living God.

          • the above comment should have been nested under

            nedbrek says:
            January 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

          • Those people all heard audible voices (and often experienced other miraculous happenings). Are you suggesting that happens today?

          • Are you suggesting that can’t happen today?

          • Of course it happens today.

          • No it doesn’t. If God has something new to say, we need to write it down and add it to the back of our Bibles.

            It also implies that the Bible is not sufficient for us to know what God has for us.

          • nedbrek:

            See and read my comment and link below re: my acquaintance Don’s testimony. Or here’s the link again: http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php?topic=1897.msg22886#msg22886

          • nedbrek, if God has nothing to say to us, why do we bother to pray?

          • To Nedbrek,

            Yes, sometimes God does speak to us in ways that we can’t understand.
            Some of the revelations are for all of us, I’m thinking of the Divine Mercy picture and prayers.

            But, some like Jeff’s urge to buy the BMW, it is personal. I don’t hear God telling me that.

            I’m very thankful that God spoke, Jeff listened and his son was not killed.

          • Prayer is us talking to God. Reading the Bible is God talking to us. Also, we have support from our local church.

          • nedbrek, you go from sola scriptura to the inclusion also of church authority.

          • Prayer is us talking to God. Reading the Bible is God talking to us. Also, we have support from our local church.

            It’s a shame, it is… people who don’t have the Bible can’t hear from God. He can never talk to them until they get their hands on a Bible (and learn to read, of course.)

            So sad….

          • We’re not talking unique cases (the are a lot of stories coming in from Muslim countries). We all have access to the Bible. We should be going to churches where the Bible is preached every week. We are not disconnected.

          • God spoke to me and told me to read the Bible. I had to go buy one.

          • @Fish: well , i don’t know WHO that voice was, but it couldn’t have been God (you didn’t read it in the Bilble) Until you actually bought the Bible….and then of course it was GOD…. now that we got that straight…

  17. Praise God your son is alive and well. Rarely do we get a clear picture of God’s ultimate good intentions for those who trust Him, but instances like this do come up from time to time. I’ve had more than my share, and know of many more.

    As for those who are doubting, I’ve found that genuine experiences of God’s direct guiding have some characteristics that you just don’t find if something is human-generated or dishonest. First and foremost is that the guidance is unexpected and just as much a surprise to the person hearing it as it is to others that person tells about it. Second, it rarely makes sense at the time. Third, there’s usually no discernible advantage for the person on the receiving end at the time. And fourth, there is usually some confirmation later on in a form that couldn’t be manuipulated or created or faked.

    God is real. God is mysterious. God has a long track record of breaking into human history and human lives in suprising and often baffling ways. That is what God does. That is what saves us.

    • +1

    • I heard a sermon two weeks ago that tried to counsel all of us to “give those we are trying to reconcile with a TEST, because that’s what JOSEPH did in Genisis with his brothers in Egypt……well, just because it worked for Joseph, doesn’t mean we have to, or should , make a reconciliation template out of it.

      GOD is bizarre and unpredictable, and I don’t think Jeff wrote the post because he’s selling Beemer stock. God works in personal , and inscrutable (at times) ways. We should just leave it at that , and bless GOD that HE saves in a million different tangible ways.

      GregR

  18. I don’t know God all that well yet, and you not at all, so the message and choices here are WAAY beyond my ability to make any comment of substance.

    But—as a mother who literally dropped to her knees in the middle of a road, I share your relief and praise. At 17, my son fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a telephone pole very near our home. I was the first to see him about 30 seconds later, slumped over the wheel with a pole on his roof, immobile. When we found that he was quite alive and barely scratched, the prayers of praise to the Lord for mercy and 1992 Buick sedans rose up from my heart. Almost $50 damage to “things” but the only living thing hurt was a shrub.

  19. Definitely agree that it is by God’s grace he is alive (Praise God for that). I had a few “should have been dead” experiences as a teen also.
    Don’t know what to think about the cause and effect of it all. Not the kind of thing that we typically ear form you Jeff.
    This is definitely the best explanation of “Why God led me to buy a BMW” I’ve heard (read genuineness). I much prefer it to the Osteen variety.

  20. Started reading this post and was sure it was satire, likely to end with a real nice skewering of Joel Osteen at the end.

    Glad your son is okay.

  21. It is exactly this kind of… testimony… that pushes me to the brink of atheism. You have your son for another day–congratulations.

  22. So, let me see if I understand…

    The same person who wakes up with an overwhelming sensation that trading in a car equals obedience to god.

    The same person who announces to God that he did what God wanted.

    The same person who tells himself that God wanted to bless him with a new car.

    … has a burning need in his heart to rant about how God doesn’t really care one way or another whether we have better families or not … get promoted at work or not. And about how He does not come to improve, encourage, or spur us on to better things.

    AND

    … has an “intense sadness” in his heart over not being able to fellowship with those he loves because they are going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

    I must confess I don’t understand. How can trading in a car be blessed obedience in your context and opening a Dave Ramsey book be condemned in theirs? Maybe God wants to use some basic financial principles in someone’s life to work some little good affecting the peace in his home. Do we use the size of the good to judge what’s from God and what is not?

  23. So what kind of car did you get to replace the BMW? 🙂

  24. Tim Becker says

    Our preacher told us this story recently: He woke up at 2AM and felt that God was telling him to go to the hospital because someone was there in dire straights that needed to be ministered to. He did as he was “told”. This was a small town hospital. He went to every floor, to every nurses station, and low and behold, everything and everyone was doing fine. Nobody in distress, nobody deathly sick, nobody that needed help, so he went home. His conclusion? “I don’t know why God told me to go over there, but if it was a test, I passed it!”

  25. I survived an amazing automobile accident October 1974. Not sure if the stubby Chevy II my friend had was signifcant in its outcome. However, I do believe that God did intervene for His purposes on that one spectacular occasion & preserved my life…

    However, I cannot implicate God’s indifference to my 17-year old niece that died in a tragic mountain bicycle accident over 4th of July weekend ~10 years ago.

    I do know of one family avoiding running into a deer at night because the teenage daughter was prompted to tell her father to be careful. She claimed it was a Holy Spirit nudge. Do these things happen that appear to have God’s fingerprints on them? I believe they do. However, I cannot claim they are a divine precedent nor shape my theology around such events.

    Fact is, all people living & breathing today are alive by the grace+plan+purpose of God. His good pleasure. Could be my existence is still possible because an automobile accident was avoided without my knowledge. Or cancer cells defeated by a victorious immune system. Or the trajectory of a meteorite averted at the last second by interference from some other piece of space junk. However it is we contemplate our life history & that of our loved ones, it will have some characteristics of normal day-to-day with sometimes obvious elements of luck or coincidence or divinely ordained intervention…

    And with those that have stories of rescue+preservation I rejoice with those that rejoice! And with those that hahve stories of tragedy & loss, I mourn with those that mourn…

    • Joseph writes, “And with those that have stories of rescue+preservation I rejoice with those that rejoice! And with those that have stories of tragedy & loss, I mourn with those that mourn…”

      That really is about all we can say, isn’t it. We know that God loves us all and yet some will die and some will be saved in similar situations. We don’t know the answers. We know that we are all going to die sometime, though. We just don’t know when or how.

      • If God is not a respecter of persons nor capricious, then I will have to say that He is neither indifferent to my suffering from pain of loss+tragedy, nor He is obligated to avert or prevent such things from happening…

        If I extrapolate God’s character+qualities from the circumstances I am subject to, I will paint a very warped picture of this God I choose to worship. Yet it is true that our trust of this God whom we cannot see is directly proportional to what we do believe about Him…

        Good God-fearing Christians much more devout than I have suffered unimaginable pain from tragedy I cringe just thinking about. He is no less God is He?

        I do not think there is any divine scale kept in balance by good things & bad things. No yin+yang of tragedy balancing the averting of such things. Yet it seems from my own personal experience that it is His prerogative to make His intervention known to us for His good pleasure…

        I do not doubt God’s miraculous healings today. Or His angelic protection. Or His nudge to get someone’s attention to avoid an accident. But He is not the divine Allstate Good Hands insurance Agent-in-the-Sky that will come thru for us in each & every negative situation. We all know that to be the reality of this temporary, frail life…

  26. David Cornwell says

    Well, on the way home from getting some prescriptions filled about 30 minutes ago, I decided to take a side road because the trees looked so beautiful with the hoarfrost. The road was very tricky I learned. The temp was about 25 degrees (f) and the lanes had slush in them. But it didn’t seem dangerous to me. Suddenly I hit this spot and the car started spinning and around and around I went. I finally stopped on the other side with the rear wheel off the road the car pointed in the opposite direction. The anti-lock breaks and traction control on my 2005 Buick worked perfectly. The car and myself were safe, but I swear while doing those spins the first thing I thought of was this post today. Since I was pointed now in the opposite direction, I took this as a sign and proceeded home, this other way, slowly, but for some reason not really shook up at all.

    • David Cornwell says

      And I really do know how to spell brakes.

    • Oh, David, I am glad you are safe and here to tell us about your experience! I enjoy your posts.

    • and when I was seventeen that would have been considered fun….now it would definiitely get my heart beating hard for all the wrong reasons. And that’s part of it… those under 25 still have not developed risk aversion. So when Jeff’s 17 year old son saw BMW he probably thought ….mmm car move fast…probably hugs the road good too… or at least that what I would have been thinking at that age. I have a few teenagers right now and I’d like to think that the old 97 Plymouth Voyager might keep them out of trouble – but then I remember that at 17 we got in trouble with Pinto’s and Vega’s believe it or not!

  27. nedbrek at 2:11 pm said, “We don’t need God to speak to us today. We have what His Son delivered to us in the bible.”

    I believe in Hebrews 12:1-2 also, as do you, but I think you are way too sure of yourself. God hears us when we pray stupid things and loves us anyway, but often in His love He has to bring us to the point where the one thing we need most in all the world is for God to speak to us today. I pray this doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, you will hear Him.

  28. It takes a finely tuned heart to discern God’s voice in that message. I have absolutely given up figuring out what God’s calling is on my life. I just figure I need to obey when he calls – basically just being there for God. My hope is that my heart is as discerning as yours, Jeff.

  29. Jeff, I’m not too convinced. I don’t doubt your overwhelming sensation that you should trade in the Honda a year ago, and I don’t doubt your belief that it was a word from the Lord.

    But…

    Couldn’t the same God who led you to change cars a year ago have led your son to set his alarm 20 minutes earlier three nights ago? I’m not sure that it needs to be more complicated than that.

    The only big difference is that we would never have known that God protected him through your act of faith.

    Whatever the cosmic reality, praise God that your son is safe, and that God protected him however he did it.

    • But before I get painted with the wrong brush, I hereby distance myself, as far as the east is from the west, from nedbrek’s argument that “we don’t need God to speak to us today”. Of course we do. Every day.

      • I agree we need God to speak to us. The question is by what method do we hear from God. Our emotions and vain imaginings, or the Bible?

        • Both. Why the either/or dichotomy?

          • I assume you mean “emotions” vs reading the Bible (since we shouldn’t ever be using “vain imaginings”).

            Emotion is a powerful force. But it is undirected. If you are angry, it may be just anger – or it may be deadly sin. How can you know?

        • Don, whom I’ve known for a long time fron Internet forums, and whose evidenced wisdom and knowledge I’ve come to greatly respect, has just posted his testimony here:

          http://equalitycentral.com/forum/index.php?topic=1897.msg22886#msg22886

          You tell him why God didn’t or can’t do what he says God has done to and for him. 🙂

          • It’s not my job to have authority over Don. Hopefully, he is involved in a local church where they can help him mature.

            At a glance, I’d say he is immature (as a Christian). Most of us start out that way, all bubbling energy, and crazy ideas.

            We’re supposed to grow from there…

          • Don attends a Baptist church at which he is a teacher. His reading and writing and notes and research would likely run rings around many people you regard as “mature.” I’ve interacted with him for a long time on various forums, and he knows what he’s talking about, and seems to be a voracious reader and avid student of the Scriptures, science and history. Your “at a glance” is at best faulty – greatly faulty, IMO.

          • Didn’t you read in his testimony where he describes his job and training? He has a Masters of Science degree in Computer Science, and I believe a Bachelor’s degree in both math and computer science. As he says in a later post after his testimony, “I consult as a cryptosystem architect.”

            Since you have the link to his testimony, why don’t you sign in there and tell him why he sounds immature and let him respond to you. 🙂

    • Ted, my son has defiance issues. I went in and woke him at 6:20. I stood there for a while trying to get him get upright so I knew he wouldn’t go back to sleep. Then I decided that if he did, I wasn’t the one who would be AWOL, so I went back to bed.

      And he had two alarms set. Didn’t do him much good…

  30. “I was to trade my car in that day or I would be disobeying the Lord.”

    I’m not convinced either. In fact I’m totally inspired – this sort of thinking to justify a BMW just seems a bit self-indulgent to me.

    • Sorry, of course I was “uninspired” and not “inspired.”

    • Donna, I don’t know if Jeff will mention it, but his “self-indulgent” BMW didn’t have working air conditioning, and he lives in Oklahoma.

      • Good point…sometimes we read a brand and immediately think ‘indulgent’. But for several years my poor-as-dirt family owned a Mercedes. Not because my dad was being indulgent, but because when he’d ‘kicked the tires’ and compared the value it was the most reliable car we had the money to buy. It’s awfully easy for a kind of reverse snobbery to take effect. Would there be much outcry if Jeff had declared that for some strange reason God told him he had to buy a car that day and the car was a 1990 Dodge Omni?

        Is our reaction based on the idea that Jeff dares to believe that God spoke to him that day for a reason, or that the speaking involved what many see as purchase of a ‘status’ vehicle?

        Whatever the reason, I am glad that his son is walking around safely today!

  31. Could the 2004 Honda do 110?

  32. OK, Jeff, you should have seen this coming, especially since you honored Janis Joplin’s birthday in your Saturday Rambling:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-GFqhCq2HA

  33. I think too many people are loosing sight of the “moral” of the story. You followed God when a path wasn’t quite planned. You saw His plan to its end and in the end received a blessing. This is a great witness to non believers and I hope you are able to share it again and again.

  34. My 17 year old brother died in a car wreck. My parents have never recovered. It was my stepfather’s only child. He was a perfect student who was the leader of his class at military school. I thank God your son is OK but my mom would wonder why God took her son and actively worked to save someone else’s. If we attribute the good to God we must also give him the bad. If he saves children, he also kills them. This is making me depressed.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Fish.
      I find aspects of discussion disturbing, too.
      While we rejoice at a life spared, we will grieve for your loss.
      God comfort your heart.

    • “I thank God your son is OK but my mom would wonder why God took her son and actively worked to save someone else’s. If we attribute the good to God we must also give him the bad. If he saves children, he also kills them.”

      I certainly hope no one weighs in here with some trite Christian answer. And hopefully this isn’t viewed as such…

      I guess the way I reconcile that issue is by reflecting on the cross itself. If Jesus had somehow “saved himself” or not gotten on the cross, then I would agree with you: I could not believe in and serve a God who would save His son, but not save other people’s sons. To me, when God allowed (and Jesus accepted) the world to take Jesus’ life, He established once and for all, forever, that bad things and evil things happen to everyone. Not even God himself, living as a person, is immune to the world and all that comes with living in it.

      What that does for me is free my mind to regard all the bad and evil that happens in the world as “inevitable,” and consider that when any of us aren’t having bad happen is a sign of God’s mercy and grace. This shifts my view from a negative view/opinion of God (“why didn’t he save or heal so-and-so?”) to a more positive view of God (“why did he choose to save/heal so-and-so?”). God becomes less of a “monster” and more of a “wonder.”

  35. There are always those who believe that God speaks to them by putting thoughts or urgings in their mind. There’s really no way to tell one way or the other. We can agree though, that the evidence from the scriptures is very scanty that God communicates this way. We see communication through epiphanies, dreams, or visions. In Acts we see where the Holy Spirit says to do this or that, but it never says how. On any given Sunday in churches everywhere you will here preachers say that God “lead” them or “told” them to preach on a certain topic. Are we always to believe it so? If a brother approaches you and says that God told them to say something to you, do you believe it?

  36. Boy takes car
    And goes too far
    He could have died that day
    But thank the stars above or the God of love
    ….or German innovation.

  37. Romans 11:33

    If we are moved to thank God when an accident does not end in total tragedy, perhaps we could be moved more for each day that we are spared from accidents altogether.

    • Or that we wake up each day in the first place! Praise God for just plain allowing us to live each day, each moment.

  38. I have to admit to some ambivalence to this post as well. Talked to a friend yesterday who read me an e-mail he had received with all sorts of “God’s telling us to do this and anyone who says otherwise is selfish or of Satan” charm. I’ve run into quite a few folks who equate following God with following “impressions” or “open doors” or the like. I’m not as much concerned for Jeff as for those who, as a result of bad teaching or desire “to see God move” or “find his Perfect will,” actively follow subjective evidences rather than allowing God to mold and lead them in truly Scriptural ways. I’m definitely not denying that God can and does use subjective experiences to communicate with us, but just don’t think that we should flit from emotion to impression to circumstance and presume we are divining his will. The Holy Spirit is a Person, not a feeling.

    Having said that, for a long time I have trusted God’s ability to speak to me far more than my ability to hear from God. If he has some important direct revelation to share with me I’m confident that he’s able to do so in the way best suited to my needs and limitations. In the mean time, there’s plenty of already-revealed Scriptural truth to engage in community, life, study and prayer.

    • Nice post. “Finding GOD’s perfect will” = chronic frustration and grief

    • @sg:

      I really like your post. Especially . .

      “Having said that, for a long time I have trusted God’s ability to speak to me far more than my ability to hear from God. If he has some important direct revelation to share with me I’m confident that he’s able to do so in the way best suited to my needs and limitations. In the mean time, there’s plenty of already-revealed Scriptural truth to engage in community, life, study and prayer.”

      I married into a family who makes nearly all decisions based on these “God told me . . .” incidents. When I was younger, I used to wonder what was wrong with me that God never “told” me anything, until I started asking more questions. It began to dawn on me that when they were saying “God told me to . . .” they were just describing what I would have described as “I’m inclined to think I should . . .” We both were making decisions against a backdrop that included a strong belief in God’s revelation in Scripture and a life centered on seeking to follow Christ’s teaching. They apparently just felt the need to tie their decision-making to some mysterious, untestable “prompting” from God, and I didn’t see that as the only explanation for my thinking I should decide a certain way. It wouldn’t really make any difference, except when you always assume your hunches are God talking to you, it makes it much more difficult for anyone else to give you counsel. It also makes it difficult to get along with lots of people, whose background, experience and knowledge base may lead them to believe that “God told them…” to do something different. How do you tell someone that it maybe wasn’t really God telling them to do (whatever)? You don’t know that any more than they knew it was God talking.

      About 20 years ago I read a book many of you may already be familiar with by Garry Freisen called “Decision-making and the Will of God.” It really freed me up from the burden of having to “know” God’s “Individual Will” for my life and allowed me to begin to trust Him in a way I never could before.

      • scrapiron – I have Freisen’s book and agree – I thought it was refreshing, even a relief.

        I have had significant experiences for which the only rational interpretation I could come up with was that God had directly intervened in my world communicate directly with me. These were extraordinary circumstances that were mostly part of my early Christian life.

        A very wise man told me something that’s stuck with me for almost all of my Christian life. This man had what many would consider a dramatic salvation story (is there any raised-from-the-dead-united-with-Christ story that isn’t?). One day his son-in-law had told him that he (son-in-law) wished that he could have some dramatic “God experiences” like his father-in-law. My friend told him that he should be glad that God didn’t need to resort to extraordinary means to communicate with him 🙂

  39. Jeff,

    Glad to hear your son is fine after his accident. What a miraculous blessing!

    And to those who doubt Jeff’s testimony about buying a new car, I, too, have had similar experiences. About a year ago, I totaled my car. It was a near piece of junk, but it looked good and hadn’t stranded me anywhere recently. But between my stupidity and another driver’s lack of attention, we collided. My car did not survive the insurance assessor, and I was off to buy a new car.

    I had a couple weeks to “internet shop” since I was traveling for business, and I came away with nothing. I knew what I wanted and what I was willing to spend. I also found that these two criteria did not intersect in anything I could find advertised on-line.

    When I started to actually shop for cars, I visited several dealerships in rapid succession one Saturday morning, ending at a dealership which I thought had nothing in my price range that would meet my needs, much less my desires. I stopped only to drool on a couple cars that they did have. To my surprise, after talking to a salesman (very nice guy, but the way) for a few minutes, he directed to me to not only the car I wanted, but one that was in my price range. I purchased it a couple hours later (after consulting with my wife, of course).

    Did God save that car for me? Did God want me to have a fun car in addition to my needed practicality? Did I just get lucky and stumble into a great deal on a pretty nice car, God not involved?

    Well, I can’t say I have it all figured out. I certainly don’t have a reason for God to have provided this car for me. But I do know that I had prayed that God would show me the right car, and I found a car that was in my price range (because it was below Blue Book), that met my needs AND desires, and that had been on the lot all of 4 hours when I bought it (the listing on-line didn’t go up until AFTER I bought it!). Plus, after two weeks of fretting over what to buy, I had peace, not only during my shopping, but during the purchase process also (which I can only say of one other vehicle I ever purchased: the vehicle I totaled). And I have averaged purchasing one car per year since I got married, so I have plenty of experience.

    I see no reason not to give God the glory, because I can’t explain most of the conditions of me finding that car, much less all of them at once!

  40. It drives me nuts when people use divine intervention as a reason to justify their buying decisions.

  41. I think it is an interesting story and, personally, I think Jeff deserves the benefit of the doubt about his conviction and call to action. I hardly see this as being outside the bounds of what God might do. Sure, we could all be flippant and say, well, God could just have saved your son’s life anyway since he knew this was going to happen but I find it much more interesting that He chose to grow your faith through this request for action and obedience by asking you to go outside your comfort zone of human reason and logic. After all, isn’t this the definition of faith?

    From my perspective, it was , as is often the case, more about the journey than the events or the accident or even the fact that your son was uninjured, which I am glad to hear…..God spoke, and though it made no common sense to you, you decided to step out on faith and trust that there was a reason for God to lead you to buy a new car….was it because God knew this accident was going to happen…perhaps….or maybe, just maybe, it was just a way for God to help you grow in your faith and trust of Him…

    Jeff, be confident in your faith and keep seeking God, my brother…..you’ll always fair better than all of the cynics out here masquerading as Christians