Throughout the period that we relied on cars lent to us we couldn’t help wondering what the final solution would be. In this period our hearts were being healed and our thinking was being refined and we repented and went round the Circle Lifeshape(Link). Some of our motive in giving a car away had been a desire to give in order receive. We wanted to get a better car. This wrong desire was washed out of us as we gave thanks for each car, for each journey completed, for each week we managed to live on the good will of others and the provision of God. We were asking Him for direction in more of the minutiae of life and coming closer to His presence, which is the goal of life.

My mum used to read the Westminster confession of faith to me and my sister in the bath (!) it was in question and answer form, the question I remember was:

Q: What is the chief end of man? (I think they meant humanity 😉

A: To love God and enjoy Him forever.

We learned and are learning to enjoy God in every season regardless of our circumstances, we are a significantly closer to experiencing God’s presence and to heaven. We will get to enjoy Him forever, and our material prosperity will have little or no effect on that. I’m not suggesting that we cruised through this period with no anxiety, moans or worry, far from it, but the effect on our family life was positive, we were as productive as normal, there was no loss on our part, only gain in our relationships, with one-another and God.

Post-Easter we had no plan, no word from God and no way forward. We were aware that a three month sabbatical from May, including a variety of travel, including a month on the Isle of Skye needed transport. I had a word that our next car would be a Volvo, no idea if that would be ‘ours’ or on loan. Even if it’s ours, we’re learning that in the Kingdom of God everything is on loan. One morning Caroline woke up early, God invited her to get a cup of tea and talk to Him about cars. She got up fast and started asking, He slowed her down and said to get the tea, sit down and then He’d speak.

He told her to look on Gumtree and that there would a Volvo for £1000 and we were to buy it. The money would come from my ‘investment’ money in the jar. It was no longer in a jar; God had directed me to invest it in Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lending company in October. I’d almost forgotten about it. We looked online and there were 3 Volvos, one for spare/repair, one with an issue and one V70 estate, just appeared that day on the website. We checked the Funding Circle account, my £960 was now worth £1000.06 I began selling my loan parts to make the money available, selling them made us a little more money, but we lost some money too and it came out at £1000 anyway.

Pete drove me down to look at the car in Oxfordshire. I was convinced it would be owned by Christians, it turned out that it was owned by a guy who had been a youth worker at the church in Leeds at which I had done my work experience , who’d been an undergrad at the same Durham college, at the same time I’d been a ordinand. He was selling the car as his brother had just given them a VW camper, our dream car. They had it as their ‘weekend’ long distance car and had a run-around for all the little trips they did with their two little ones. There were so many coincidences which let me know that it was God’s hand, so I bought it fast and drove home in a 13 year old tank, all leather, all electric, all creaky and wheezy. It was a posh car many years ago, it was big and would cope with our trips well. We had a car again and we were thankful and were enjoying God’s gift. Something felt correct about having a Volvo estate for tripping up to Scotland and back, maybe it was because my Scottish prep school headmaster had a Volvo estate with tyre chains etc and took kids on trips up to islands of the west coast, but to me it fits. The boot space, automatic gearbox and ability to cruise along the motorway for miles smoothly fitted the job. It has also taught me about looking after a car, it came with a Hanes manual and due to its age there are lots of little jobs that I’ve learned to do to keep it running well. I (with Chris’s help) fitted a Bluetooth system so we could enjoy worship music on the 10 hour + journey north.