March 27th was a warm, spring-like day. Greg and I made the short drive to a friend’s house to see the wreckage of a car. It had been Greg’s car—his 1968 Easter-egg blue Karmann Ghia, a car he had loved and in which, apart from the grace of God, he would have died. Greg’s head-on collision happened one year and three months earlier. He has been mercifully healed, and now—finally—I wanted to see the car.
Our friend, Avery, has a work area in his backyard filled with resurrected (or about-to-be resurrected) old cars, including a restored 1957 Bel Air. He’s a skilled mechanic who takes great joy in seeing old heaps come back to life. Walking back to where Avery and his son were at work on Greg’s car was like walking into a surgical theatre of a great doctor. By now Greg’s car had been disassembled so that the chassis was exposed. Avery has plans for this. He’s going to make it into a three-wheeler. And his son is going to make the rear end of the Karmann Ghia into a couch, if you can believe it. The front half of Greg’s car was smashed to smithereens, (it’s unbelievable that Greg is walking, let alone living). Another friend who has two Karmann Ghias is going to come and salvage some parts even from this wreckage.
It was a curious thing to me that I wanted to see the car now, of all times. Maybe it’s because something good is being made of this awful, unthinkable thing. The time we spent in our friend’s yard Sunday seemed somehow sacred. Resurrection, redemption, restoration, mercy, friendship, care, rescue—all such life-giving stuff–seemed as present there as the old cars that surrounded us.
Of course, you can probably imagine where I’m going with this. God is able to take wreckage and make it new. We say that kind of stuff all the time to each other. We read about it in our devotionals and in the Scripture. But I’m thinking today that every day, like Avery, we get to participate in restorative, redemptive work. We get to pour our hearts out to God and ask forgiveness for the wreckage we made of our yesterdays and commit ourselves freshly to walking with Him. We get to ask forgiveness of people in our lives and pledge to, through God’s grace, make a better go of things. We get to select spiritual friends who will talk straight with us, and help point us to our roadblocks and blindspots, and help form us into the image of Christ. We get to participate in God’s healing and justice in the world. (Just this month, a missionary friend has traveled to a war-torn African nation to adopt an orphan boy.) At every decision of our day, every Y in the road, we get to choose a path that will lead to formation, rather than deformation. We get to choose beauty and restoration and something new. With the resurrection of Jesus, the new creation has begun, and we get to be part of it!