It is difficult to express the depth of my disappointment as I rolled into the dorm parking lot from Christmas break during my freshman year of college.
I had allowed a friend to use my '57 Chevy for a three day ministry trip into a neighboring state while I rode with other friends home to Florida for a surprise visit. A penny a mile was just too cheap to pass up. And after all, wasn't the '57 just a ministry tool anyway? I had rationalized as I had unwisely given my key to the other student.
My beautiful black and yellow pride and joy was nowhere to be found.
I soon found the borrower and discovered to my horror he had let yet another student take my car on some pretext of a family emergency to New York City! Shortly, I found someone who knew how to contact that second borrower. I called and amazingly reached him. I was not comforted to know the phone was in a bar. Barely controlling my anger, I informed him he had just 24 hours to have my car back to me or the police would be coming for him. Little did I realize he had already wrecked it. My beautiful '57 Chevy was dropped off in the middle of the night with a smashed grill, a sagging and broken bumper and a motor that had been run out of oil. My flashy chrome hub caps had been sold to buy fuel for the return trip. My nearly new tires were gone and had been replaced with almost worn out used tires.
I was livid until the Holy Spirit reminded me of the thought He had dropped into my mind about a year earlier when He had reaffirmed my call into the ministry. So sweetly He had asked if I would be willing to give up the life I lived in order to pursue Him. My answer had been quick and positive in the holiness and sanctity of the moment. In the span of that brief instant I had been made aware my decision to follow Christ would cost me my career in Banking, the girl to whom I was engaged and yes...my beautiful '57 Chevy.
In short order the dominoes fell and I had resigned the Bank, my girl had broken up with me...but at least I still had my car. Since it was paid for, I thought I must have been mistaken that night in prayer when God had asked if I would be willing to give it ALL up.
It was only as I surveyed the wreckage of my dream that the still small Voice of God whispered peace into my damaged emotions.
In the ensuing years, the Lord has always provided reliable transportation, adequate income, a fulfilling career spanning decades of service to the Communities where I have served Him, and a loving wife who has been my constant companion and dearest friend for more than 50 years.
God's way truly is the wisest way!
Still trusting Him...
Richard Orrell, pastor