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That New Car Smell

For the last 4 years my main form of transportation has been what many would refer to as a “piece of (fill in the blank)”, a “bucket of (fill in the blank)”, or as I liked to refer to it, just not good. It leaked oil everywhere. It smelled funny. Smoke would come up out of the grill sometimes from some unknown origin. The tires wore out abnormally quick. The windows leaked a little when it rained. And there always seemed to be some little thing that needed to be fixed.

We’ve all had these types of things in our lives. They’re called lemons, and I had a big enough lemon on my hands to make 7 gallons of lemonade. And I tried to make lemonade! I told myself that it was good just to have some type of car, which it was.   I told myself to be thankful that I didn’t have any kind of payment for this car, which I didn’t. I even told myself it wasn’t that bad, that this car just needed a little extra loving was all.

Yesterday though, I finally conceded to the truth and broke down. My old car could go no longer. It had fought its battle and had run its race with dignity. It was time for a little mercy to see him off into the wide blue yonder. I bought a car yesterday.

And already I know it’s a great decision! Already I love this new vehicle to get me where I need to go and enjoy it a little bit while I’m going. It’s nothing fancy. It doesn’t have a built in GPS or custom sound or a panoramic moonroof, but its got a trusty motor and gets decent gas mileage, and when I came to that conclusion I knew I had finally become a boring adult…and I loved it.

Oh, but that fabled new car smell! It had it, and I loved it to. It smelled like everything I hoped it would without having any idea what that smell was.

But it got me thinking already, that not too long from now that new car smell will wear off. And that trusty motor will have to have something fixed in it eventually. And that decent gas mileage won’t turn out to be quite as good as I thought it would be. New cars don’t stay new for long, and that’s a hard reality to take.

In life there’s a lack of consistency in everything we do and encounter. Nice, new things turn old before our eyes. The thing about greener grass on the other side is that the more you frolic and play in it, the more it gets mashed down and turns brown. Chasing what’s new is always going to lead us somewhere else, always going to make us uncomfortable, always going to remind us that what we have is not quite as good as what’s out there.

But isn’t it great to know that while our physical life is defined by change and the aging of time, our spiritual life is always present and always there? We’ll have ups and downs and we’ll go through both deserts and oases, but God is always going to be an awesome and incredible God. Once you’ve created the universe you’re always going to be the Creator, regardless of how long ago that was. In God, we have the perfect constancy in our hectic chase for what’s good and new during our time here on Earth.

So as we all run this inescapable rat race, and we all inevitably chase after nice and new things, know that there is a consistency underlying the physical chaos. Take heart and know that even if that nice thing you have now breaks eventually, that the God that created the universe is always present and real in life. My new car won’t be new for long, and I’m okay with that. The physical things we have will always break, but the spiritual reality of God will never age, or falter, or break but will always be the consistency we can rely on when our nice things do.

Josh Godwin

There a handful of things in this life I truly love: my God, my wife, my dog, my town, my Cheerwine. I also love ministering with teenagers to help them realize God's love and everything God made them to be.

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