Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised — look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew — a bowlful of water.
Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.
- Judges 6:36-40
I could say simply that we bought a new SUV. See the photo!
But it was not that simple. We laid a fleece down a few times before we got to the dealership.
When I retrieved my wife from Tennessee in May, we started looking for SUVs, hearing that the dealerships had lost so much money during the lockdown that they would be willing to sell a car at rock-bottom prices – must have been some rumors that were false. If the rumors were true, and it seemed unlikely in our searches, we still could not afford to buy one.
So, I did some research on the financial end and pulled money from a life insurance policy, just the dividend portion that we had already paid the income taxes for. Yes, the bumper sticker that says “Retired and spending our children’s inheritance” could easily apply to our new SUV. Otherwise, we could not afford the down payment, especially getting the payments low enough.
Then my wife placed ridiculous demands on what the SUV had to do. This was going to take a miracle, and the praying began.
First, the need: I have been having mobility problems since retirement. If it isn’t the knees that ache, it’s the lower back, and now I am having upper back issues. None of the pain is debilitating, but it sometimes makes it difficult to stoop down into a small car. And once in the car, I must psyche myself up to lift myself onto my feet when getting out. The question asked when getting out of the car is “Can I get vertical without twisting something, causing new pain?” But to be honest, my wife, who is on Warfarin, has instructions that if she hits her head, it is a trip straight to the Emergency Room. She is now having physical exhaustion to the point of falling into the car when getting in. She has failed to duck her head twice, giving it a resounding thump against the car door frame. She denies she has any problems. She also refused on both occasions to go to the Emergency Room. So, don’t tell the doctor that she is a bad patient. Note: The head has tremendous blood flow, and a bump could result in bleeding, causing pressure against the brain, and then coma and death could result. Thus, the requirement that my wife ignores. But an SUV that is just the right size can let us slip in and out without problem. My wife can even get in without it being a climb. If her health diminishes further, I have a step stool for when she accompanied me on my trips driving demonstration equipment in a truck.
So, we both needed a bigger vehicle. But add to that all-wheel drive. Last winter, if there was ice on the road or snow, we simply stayed home. Now, she has kidney dialysis three days each week. We cannot let a couple of inches of snow slow us down. A few feet of snow? We will call in and cancel, if the dialysis center has anyone there to answer the phone.
Then my wife added the ridiculous to our needs. It had to seat seven so that we could drive our younger son’s entire family around without the need to carpool. We visit them twice each year! Why? Something that she said recently may have something to do with it. She said, “If we do not move to be with the little grandchildren, I will surely die.” So, whether we are prepared to move, we are moving, maybe next summer, to hot, oppressively hot, Tennessee. Did I say hot? It’s hot! Not that it is cool year-round in Pennsylvania these days, but nothing like Tennessee.
Then, my wife added another clinker. Let’s not trade in the old car. Our younger son and our daughter-in-law may need two reliable cars soon if they both have jobs in opposite directions. Presently our son is working from home, and our daughter-in-law just graduated – with honors. Thus, the financial situation just shifted to not calculating the trade-in into the car sale and paying for two vehicles instead of one for the insurance. We were already in miracle range, now, it was ridiculous miracle range.
This reduced us to two models. and one had much better reviews. Plus, my sister owns one and has never had problems. So now we were down to basically one vehicle that we wanted to buy.
I had done the financial research, but she had done the online car shopping research. Maybe there were seven SUVs on the lot. Who ever heard of a dealership with only one of anything? Maybe the dealership that sold the other six over the weekend.
So, as we were going to the dealership, my wife said the same prayer that she had been saying for months, but with a twist, since we were going to a dealership with the exact vehicle that we wanted in stock. She thought seven vehicles to choose from, but when I looked online there was only one. My wife added to the prayer that she wanted a sign, to know that the car was the right one.
When we got there, they only had one SUV on the lot, a left-over 2020. I had insisted on the SUV not being white or black due to the cleaning issues. I did not wish for a silver or gray SUV since it seems that our little car is invisible on the road, and we, ourselves, have had a hard time seeing gray cars in foggy, rainy conditions. The one SUV left, one with mid-range luxury appointments that my wife could care less about, was a Dragon Brown. It was not white, black, or gray. I might have preferred red or blue, but the color name struck us. Our granddaughter loves painting dragons. She is obsessed with it. Of course, her little brother, the six-year-old, likes dragons too. And why not? Where they live, the local high school mascot is the dragon. We’ll pick up a decal or sticker while we are there, something small and subtle, just to christen the SUV as “the Dragon.”
But to make matters more interesting, regarding the “sign from above,” was that when we test drove the vehicle, I noticed something that caused me to totally shift my train of thought. I told my wife to check out the date and time on the dash display. She said something about the time being a about thirty minutes slow. But then I said, what about the date? She still wasn’t getting it. The date was several months off. The date on the SUV’s computer was my birthday on the day we bought our new car. And it did not hurt that the car payments were less than one dollar per month more than what I estimated. With selling off a chunk of the children’s inheritance, I had worked us into a car payment that was comfortable. My wife nearly cried.
When you pray, sometimes the answer can be yes, no, or wait a little while. We have been waiting since May, but when it came to pass, we have never felt more like God had His hand in the deal.
Only to God be the Glory, indeed!
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.