My New Ride – A Story About Blessings
July 2nd, 2016
My New Ride: a Story about Blessings
In 2013 I was sitting at a stoplight when, without warning, I was struck from behind at a high rate of speed. I had just finished paying off my 2008 Honda Civic a few months prior, and earlier that day had completed a fresh detailing of the car. I remember looking at it with pride and thinking how nice it looked. Just minutes later pieces of it were scattered across the intersection and the trunk was crushed almost even with the rear seat. I was struck at speed by a full size truck. But, the car did its job and the Lord protected me and I walked away with nothing more than a slightly displaced rib that was remedied by a little chiropractic care and a few sessions of physiotherapy.
But I was left with the reality of having to replace my car at a very inopportune time. We had replaced our family van with a newer model just a few months previously and had scrimped to pay cash for it. We were debt free, but I had used up our available reserves to purchase the van. I had been looking forward to years of owning two nice Hondas without any debt. That wasn’t to be my reality. I got a taste of what it feels like to be in a position where the insurance company has written off your vehicle and then tries to offer you as little as possible in replacement. I found the whole experience frustrating. This was exaggerated by the financial position that I was in and by the fact that I liked my car and had no plans in mind for replacing it. I had told my 10 year old son that perhaps it might be his first car when he was old enough to drive – so my plans for replacing it were at least six years out!
After a period of haggling back and forth I finally had a check in hand for less than what I desired and more than the insurance company wanted to pay…and then I had to find a new car. I did a lot of searching, but eventually settled on the newly designed (for 2013) Ford Fusion. My brother-in-law, Allen, who works for a large conglomerate of car dealerships in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada set me up with a great guy named Jeff who got me a price far below what I could have negotiated on my own on a beautiful Bordeaux Reserve (burgundy) Fusion SE with a lot of very nice features. It was a sweetheart of a car, and my family can attest to the fact that I’ve loved driving it and owning it. It has featured in a number of my photos over the past three years.
I used the insurance money and what extra I could scrape together to “purchase it” (really a prepaid lease that I would have to pay the residual off in two years). Over those two years I would have to really discipline myself to save and scrimp so that I could have the lump sum ($15,000) available after two years to pay for the car. I did not want to go in debt over the car. In the early months I despaired, as despite my best efforts it just didn’t seem like I was making any headway in getting money put away. Life seemed stacked against that happening. I began to really pray over this and ask God to help me to meet the goal. I’ve tried to honor the Biblical principle of staying out of debt as much as possible in my life. I can’t even tell you exactly how it happened, but when August of 2015 rolled around I was able to walk into the dealership and hand them a bank draft for the final amount.
I was delighted to own outright a beautiful car that was only two years old and completely paid for. God’s blessings! I settled into the pleasure of having a nice car that I would enjoy driving for years to come…
…or nine months.
On June 7th, 2016, I had come to a complete stop on a quiet street in the city where I live as the car in front of me had to make a left turn onto another street. They had just cleared the intersection and I was just about to start accelerating when without warning a big impact launched me forward into the intersection. A quick glance into my rearview mirror showed the story – another full size truck! As I limped the car forward to the side of the road out of the way I thought, “not again!” I called the police, turned off the ignition, and did a quick self evaluation. Everything seemed okay except for soreness in my right knee that had come up and struck the steering wheel or column. I got out to check on the other driver, a young lady who feeling pretty sick over the whole situation. The damage to the truck she was driving wasn’t extensive, but my car hadn’t come out so well.
As soon as I evaluated it I was concerned. It had a significant amount of damage. Enough that it would be a significant repair that would both taint the resale value of my car and have the potential for future issues because of the stress on various points of the frame. At the same time, it didn’t look extensive enough to be a write-off situation. I was torn as to what outcome I preferred: neither seemed very promising. I got the vehicle to the recommended collision center and went home. My wife was in tears when I arrived, overwhelmed that this was all happening again.
I got the word out to friends to pray about the situation, including my knee. I felt like it would either start to improve the next day or hurt worse. Fortunately it was the former, and when I was medically assessed the knee was fine and neither was I physically damaged in any other way.
But I was concerned about the car. Once again the accident had come at an inopportune time. My wife and I are in the process of trying to put aside money for a down payment on a home and attempting to put ourselves into a sound financial position for making that transition to home ownership. I was not interested in putting out money for a replacement vehicle, and yet I feared that if the vehicle was written off I would have a hard time replacing my car with an equivalent for the amount of money that I would receive. I was not crazy about the potential of having my beautiful car heavily repaired, either. I pride myself in taking good care of my vehicles, and my car looked and drove like new. It would never quite be the same.
And yet I had peace.
I told the church that I pastor that evening in service that I believed that somehow God’s blessings would flow through this, though I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how. Later that week I heard from the collision center that their estimate for repairing the damage was much higher than I had anticipated, so I began to mentally switch gears from the repair scenario to the write-off scenario. I began to pray about the reality of having to find a replacement car, and began to do some shopping online. I drove some local cars, but wasn’t blown away by anything. And yet I still had a feeling of peace. I knew that God was capable of turning this around.
I got a call one week from the accident from the insurance company with the official word that my car was being written off. Before that conversation ended, though, I knew where God’s blessings were going to flow from! The claims adjuster made the comment that I had “picked the right kind of insurance for this situation” and went on to detail a few options that didn’t fully sink in at the moment. When I mentally put everything together in the aftermath I remembered that when I got the 2013 Fusion that I had elected for an optional “replacement value clause”. I paid $50 a year for it, but what it spelled out was that if I was in a situation in the first five years of ownership where the car was a complete write-off I would receive a payment equal to either what I paid for the car or for the equivalent value of a new, equal model.
I called my wife and said, “I know how God is going to turn this to blessings!”
The process is never as simple as what it seems, and there were still some frustrating moments along the way, but the end result was that I ended up with a check in hand for nearly every cent I had put into my car 3 years ago. In the meantime I had tried other vehicles that I didn’t like as much. I returned home from a car shopping trip in Ottawa and glumly told my wife that the car I wanted was the one that I had lost.
But my brother-in-law had told “his guy” about my situation. I started chatting with Jeff at Donnelly’s in Ottawa again. He found me a (nearly) new 2016 Ford Fusion Titanium (the premium trim level) that had only 8000 kilometers on it. It is the AWD (all wheel drive) model (very desirable when you live in Canada!) and is loaded with just about everything you can think of. Though the full retail sticker for the new car would have cost nearly 50% more than what I had paid for my 2013, Jeff got the price down for me to where I was able to buy the new car…and put over $1500 into our house savings account on top of it!
Wow! Talk about blessings!
What looked like a negative situation has been turned into a very positive one. I have a newer, nicer car that will be under warranty for a long time to come. I got a little money to add to the house account. And I got a great reminder of what these verses are all about:
Psalms 37:23-25 NKJV The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (24) Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand. (25) I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
Proverbs 10:22 NKJV The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.
God’s blessings may come through unexpected means, but His blessings do come to those who honor Him. And I’ve got a sweet new ride to prove it!
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