July 12, 2017 – Pastor Brian’s Blog
Judy and I are camping at Word of Life this week with our family, so I asked my good friend Rick Gile if I could “steal” a blog from him to use this week. Enjoy and may God encourage you through it!
The phone rang and it was my cousin, who lived about a quarter mile down the same semi-rural road where I grew up. He asked me if I wanted a car. I was 15 years old and already becoming a motorhead. I had spent many nights laying awake, picturing myself behind the wheel for at least four years. The target age for me was 16 and it was fast-approaching during that warm summer of 1965. I could get a driver’s license at that point, so hearing those words really got me excited. Living nearly a mile from any public transportation, the sparsely populated suburban neighborhood, seemed too remote to satisfy a teenager’s desire for freedom.
I made a beeline down to where he lived where I saw it for the first time. Parked in the back of the driveway, next to some overgrown bushes, it was a site to behold. Now, to others it looked like what it was; an old rear-engine Renault Dauphine (that was pronounced Re-nalt’ back then before they marketed it with the French accent). What added to its beauty, for me anyway, was the bare, rusty engine block. The exhaust manifold lay on the ground alongside the disconnected rear bonnet, looking more like the victim of a small explosion. Inside the abandon four-door sedan’s small engine compartment, you could see the tops of the pistons coated with carbon and dirt that had accumulated from exposure to the elements. Most of the smaller engine and transmission parts were in an old, splintered bushel basket in the back seat. The cylinder head, carburetor and assorted nuts and bolts were scattered throughout the cabin like nut shells on the floor of a squirrel den after a long winter.
With the aid of my my father, I pushed the faded black beauty up the road to our house and we propelled it into our basement garage. Dad had plenty of tools and I went to work putting it back together. I spent much of that summer tinkering with that old car in our garage while many of my friends were peddling their bikes out to the Postenkill Creek to swim on those hot afternoons. The smells of gas, grease and oil would be embedded in my mind. By the time I was 17, I would be employed as an auto mechanic and consider those odors a type of vague perfume. Even now I don’t shy away when pumping gas or waiting that extra few seconds when starting the car in the garage, savoring the gaseous fragrances.
There were a few gaskets and assorted stuff that I had to buy at the local parts store but very little in the way of costs to complete the reassembly. Thanks to my father’s tutelage and my minor aptitude for mechanics, the day arrived when I charged up the battery, gave the carburetor a shot of ether, twisted the ignition switch, and that old, broken down rust bucket came to life. Soon, it spewed a few breaths of smoke from the tailpipe and I engaged the manual 3-speed floor shifter and it was moving. Up the dirt road that ran alongside our house I went, flooring the accelerator. All 27 horsepower (not a misprint) roared, kicking up the dirt behind me as I headed for the turn by the windmill, windows down and loving every minute of my success. Driving an Indy car wouldn’t have been any more thrilling. The joy of fixing all things mechanical, was well under way for me.
And, yes, that is me in the picture at 15 in that Renault.
Maybe you’ve found yourself abandon and set aside like that old car. Thought your life was too broken to have anyone come along and give you a shove. Who could have the ability or the love to put your life back together?
In John, Chapter 9, Jesus is passing a man born blind from birth. His disciples question Him about why the man was blind. Jesus tells them his condition was “so that the works of God might be displayed in him”. He puts some clay on the man’s eyes and sends him off to wash in the pool of Siloam. To the astonishment of the man’s neighbors and the disappointment of the religious crowd, his sight was restored. There’s no indication that the man was looking for or expecting to be healed by the stranger from Nazarath. But, He restored his sight anyway. When asked about his miraculous healing, he explains what happened by saying, “one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” He was now physically whole. What a great response. It didn’t matter too much to this lowly beggar why he had been healed or even how it was done. All that mattered to him was that he could see for the very first time in his life. He then asked the Master who the Son of Man was that he might believe in Him in order show his gratitude. With the simple response, “Lord, I believe”, he would forever be spiritually regenerated as a child of God.
God is in the business of restoration