We bought our car "new-used" two years ago this month. I say that because we purchased it with 100 miles on it- we think it may have been returned- and so got used car pricing, but really it was a new car. With a blessed new car warranty.
A new car warranty may be optional to someone who has tons of money in savings, or a husband who can fix anything, or just generally is not a worrier. At the time, though, Joel was deployed to Iraq (we bought the car while he was home on R & R) and we have never had tons of money in savings (or anywhere else, for that matter) and I have always been a worrier. Which, considering all the problems I had been having with our Explorer at that time, were not completely unfounded. The Ford was our only car, and with a three year-old and a baby less than a year, I needed more reliable transportation. Like the kind that would start EVERY time you turned the key!
So, I really wanted a warranty. We have made good use of our warranty. While we have not had any major repairs made, we have had the clock worked on four times (they ended up replacing the entire radio/clock/ center console thingy-kind of a big deal to me), the motor in the back window replaced and a couple of other minor things. It also included regular oil changes for the life of the warranty, which was a nice savings.
While it has been pretty smooth sailing-not always, see the aforementioned four trips for the clock- it has been nice to have that safety net. To know that if we needed something fixed it was taken care of. To know that I didn't have to rely on my own common sense, or lack thereof, to determine if something was "serious" or "minor".
Unfortunately, we have also made good use of the car. I say unfortunate in terms of the warranty. That 36,000 or 3 years warranty that lasted 36,000 miles but only two years because of our extensive (to where, I don't really know) travels. So I find myself hesistantly peering at the odometer each trip. Will these be the miles that push us over the edge? We have already cleared the 35,000 mile mark, so it is swiftly approaching. And I am fearful. What if something goes wrong? What if when it reads 36,001 the engine suddenly falls out? Or the door won't open? Or the clock stops working? Isn't that what they always say about warranties? That they just last long enough to get you to where the trouble really starts? It has been a faithful vehicle, but what if those miles are inching it towards the edge and I just can't see it?
I liked the security of the warranty. Knowing exactly how it worked, and being certain that any problems would be taken care of. I don't like the feeling of being on my own, with evil money-grubbing repair shops and car dealerships lurking around every corner. And the teeny-tiny voice that I try so hard to quash- the little mournful one that always says such absymal (but sometimes true) negative things nags,"And you know something will happen once Joel is separated from the Army...." and it leaves it hanging, as if I don't KNOW that he could very well be between employment for a time. As if I don't KNOW that would be such poor timing for car trouble.
Because that little voice knows very well that I am concerned over going past 35,999 miles in my little car, but it also knows (mostly because it is me, it is my so-very-human little voice) that 35,999 miles is not the only thing that I am worried about. That the warranty in my car is not the only thing that is coming to end. That it is not the only sure thing that will soon be over, that I don't know what to expect on the other side. Because it is easier to trust in what you can see than what you can't. And I can't see much right now. In some ways it feels as if all the certainty in my life will end sometime around the end of June. Joel will be out of the military, our lease on the house expires, and I am being a little petty and refusing to make plans after that because I don't know what the future holds. And the oh-so-pessimistic little voice is quick to assure me that whatever it does have for me, it isn't here. Because I like to KNOW, and right now I am not being given that as an option.
G.I. Joe said, "Knowing is half the battle." But right now it really feels like 99% of it. And I don't want to have faith. That is too much work. So I want to park my car in the garage, with the odometer hovering so close to the 36K mark that it can spit on it, and sit there. I don't want to go anywhere, because once I push those little clicking numbers over, there is no turning back. And it is scary.
But a car that sits in the garage will eventually fall apart. And I could leave it there, but the three year mark will come sooner rather than later and I will be in the same place I am now, just a year further down the road.
And what is a car for, if not for driving? For transporting? For going to and from? And what is a life for if not for living? For taking leaps of faith that seem larger than the Grand Canyon? For going places we have never been and doing things we have never done? Because I have been made for life, and not just any but "life...more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV). But still I am afraid.
"For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." -2 Corinthians 5:4 (NIV)
I don't want to not know- I don't want to be unclothed. But my real clothes aren't here. I want what is mortal to be swallowed up by life in my heart, but not in my head. Because life swallowing up mortality still means death. Death of my sin nature, death of my selfish desires. True life is only found in death- the death of Christ on the cross. True freedom, as it as been said so many times, is only found when I let go. When I cross the line and let the tires turn over, forcing those numbers to 36,000 and past- into the unknown. When I have so much less of me, taking captive that ugly little voice, recalling over and over the precious promises that I have been given.
The real guarantee is that this is only a "little while".
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials."-1 Peter 1:6 (NIV)
"For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” -Hebrews 10:37 (NIV)
My security is in Him. I want, in my frail, feeble, nature, to put it in things that don't last. I want to stay parked where I am. But, as Switchfoot said, He is "daring me to move". I don't want to wait until it is too late. Because my life is passing me by whether I am a part of it or not. I won't lie, when that 36,000 shows up, there will be more than a twinge. When the things that I take security in now are part of the past rather than the future I will be holding my breath. But I hope it will be in anticipation, rather than dread.