By Rickie Miyake
God's blessings recently allowed me to afford a new car. Meanwhile I'm still keeping the trusty old one that has served me well for the past 11+ years. I'll use it for commuting to and from work through the end of September after which, God willing, retired life will kick in.
I plan on selling the old car in early October. Julie asked me what I'm going to do with its plates personalized with a Bible verse and I told her they'd be transferred to the new car. She suggested leaving them on the old car and getting personalized plates with a different verse for the new one. She reasoned the plates might well be a blessing to the next owner of the car.
Maybe Julie has a point, I thought. I imagined a conversation with the buyer.
Me: The plates are staying with the car.
Buyer (looking at the plates): What does that mean?
Me: It means, There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Buyer: Sounds familiar. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah! That's a song! 'To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven.' You changed some of the words, but I know that one. The Byrds sang it!
Me: That's true, they sang it but they didn't write it.
Buyer: Oh I know they didn't write the song. Bob Dylan did!
Me: Dylan did write the song but it's really based on a Bible verse, which is what's referred to on the plates: Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 1. That's where it originally came from.
From there my mind branched out to various scenarios depending on how the buyer reacted. Indeed it could serve as a good lead in to sharing the Gospel with someone.
Speaking of everything having a season, not too long ago I brought upon myself a season of pain by doing a fine job of banging up my left shoulder. As I write this, it's been six weeks exactly since I fell and it wasn't until yesterday that everything was finally back to normal and full mobility without any pain was restored.
When the injury happened, I prayed for God's healing. It was painful struggling to raise my arm just to shoulder level; and forget about going higher as that hurt way too much. Even walking with my left arm hanging at my side made me wince so I had to elevate it a bit. Finding a comfortable sleeping position? Couldn't find one!
Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, if God's grace provided an instant and miraculous healing like the ones I've heard and read about because this was no fun. Instead I prayed for God's healing through his timing rather than instant healing. I must confess that the "His timing" part of the prayer was more from skepticism of a spontaneous recovery rather than trusting His will.
I noticed slow, gradual improvement over the next six weeks. The pain subsided and mobility increased. I winced less. The mattress was more accommodating. But the key word throughout was slow.
Nevertheless I am totally grateful for God's healing. I have no doubt I could have been completely healed right away if God so desired, but that wasn't to be. Like I prayed, may His and not my timing prevail.
So I don't have one of those stories to tell you about an immediate miracle healing. But I do have a story to tell about my slower, more mundane healing that is no less a miracle.
Stop and think about how miraculous it is that God created us so that our cells work to repair themselves. How and why? The How is because each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, and the why is because God loves His creation. Focus on that word creation. The Bible tells us the true story, that we were created according to His plan. We are not some random result of chemicals somehow mixing together to form a one-celled organism that somehow became an insect, then a lizard, then this and that, and somehow wound up to be human. That's as preposterous as when Aaron claimed he threw the people's gold jewelry into the fire and out popped a golden calf!
I truly appreciate that something I wake up and take for granted every day is really God's miracle: you, me and all life were created by God's intelligent and loving design. He's the constant through every season. Praise the Lord for that!
As for the license plates on my old car, I've decided to heed Julie's suggestion and leave them on for the next owner. And the letters/meaning of the new personalized plates? That's a season for the next article.