As I’ve said in previous parts of this story I had come to hate a perfectly good car, because it represented a lack of obedience to God. We even tried to give the C-max away. It wasn’t that God told us to. It was more an offering of trust and faith. We knew we’d stepped out of God’s will and wanted to sort it out and throw ourselves on His mercy.

We had a student on placement training to be a vicar. Newly married and moved into the area and struggling with travel and living costs. A car was just what they needed. After a lot of soul-searching, prayer, swallowing our fears and a good long conversation with our mentor and friend who had lots of experience of living by faith and who first explained the ‘poverty spirit” to me, we decided that we would give the car away. We’d planned a holiday in Europe that involved a lot of driving, so we made a plan. Holiday, home, empty the car and give it away.

We drove to their house having cleaned the car thoroughly and full of joy and trepidation. We sat down and told this couple how we were going to bless them. They looked worried; not the response we expected! We explained a bit more and they looked awkward. During our holiday God had answered their prayer and a grandma had given them £1000 for a car and they were waiting for the delivery of frugal VW Polo. Our family car would just be too expensive to run. They were lovely, shocked and bemused. We were deflated, but I think God had a smile on His face.

In the park over the road as the kids played Caroline and I nearly gave the car to the nearest passerby. I think I would have done, but after praying hard over the recipients, it seemed foolish to just chuck it away. We went home feeling a little like Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain and arriving home with him whole, but where he was overjoyed, the main emotion I experienced was disappointment (mingled with relief).

I was still holding out for the Lexus 4×4, thinking it would one day simply appear. With a third child on the horizon and the C-max getting older, I was offered a car by a good friend at church. He named a price and I immediately decided against the offer. I wanted my Lexus! After being polite and thankful, I said I’d think about it.

Later, on the idle Sunday afternoon I had a look at the car online. My friend was offering to sell it significantly cheaper than it was worth, a VW Touran in better condition, newer, just right for a family of 5, but not a Lexus…

This was a dilemma, we were praying for the car of our dreams, not a sensible car. Following the offer my mum approached us; she’d helped my sister and brother in law with a car purchase and wanted to be fair. We added up what our car was worth, our savings for immediate circumstances and the money from mum and realised the car was easily in reach. We were able to sell the car at a reduced price to acquaintances, passing on the blessing we had received. The C-max went immediately downhill after we sold, we felt guilty until the couple told us they had been able to swap it at the garage for a car that worked for them as family of three and after a rocky few weeks, they had a good car at a good price and so did we and we’d avoided picking up the bills for the (unknown to us) rapidly disintegrating C-max.

But what about the Lexus? God had provided, but not as we’d asked…