I Think He Loves You

01/20/2010

The Canary Yellow Van

I think I love you so what am I so afraid of?
I`m afraid that I`m not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you-- isn`t that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say that I`ve never felt this way

The Partridge Family

My favorite vehicle in the Borough of East Petersburg, PA (population 4,500) is not a BMW, Lexus or Porsche. It’s not a Hummer, Harley or Corvette. It’s a canary yellow Volkswagen van with flower decals on the front, sides and rear. If it pulled up next to you at an intersection, you might expect a silk-clad David Cassidy to roll down the window, flash a toothy grin and ask, “Say, could you point me in the direction of Albuquerque?”

This van, in fact, belongs to a sweet woman named Ellie, who tools back and forth between work and school Monday through Friday and if you can catch her behind the wheel not smiling at any given time this year then assume that the Mayans were right and the world will end in the year 2012! Ellie’s van is a constant source of inspiration to me. If I were handier with acrylics and brushes I might render this van on a canvas lest its beauty be someday lost forever. I just might write a song about it in the style of…Van Morrison, of course!

Why do I love this van so much? Because of what it says and because of what it does not say. It says, “This is me and I’m ok with that!” It does not say, “I think I’m the cutting edge of technology,” or, “Behold my five-star crash rating!” or “I cost more than you did, pal!” It reminds me of the wonderful advice that author John Eldredge’s friend gave him one day: “Let them feel the weight of who you are…and let them deal with it.”

As we focus on our prayer life this year at Hempfield Church of the Brethren, it is increasingly evident that prayer is personal and unique to each individual, just as this van is unique to its owner. We’re “wired” in a certain way—all of us—and that way is just the way that our creator intended. Like Max Lucado’s character Punchinello, we are special to our owner and when we try to be something we’re not, we just get discouraged.

Many years ago my friend Brian used to joke that he sent out so many employment references on my behalf that he had them organized in a filing cabinet by job category. They would read, “Yes, Kent would make
a fine ____ (insurance salesman, proofreader, purchasing agent, machine operator)!” In each case, I would try to be something I wasn’t and the result would inevitably be…another letter from Brian to another corporation.

God made you to be you. Mother Theresa didn’t enjoy people looking at her and wishing they could be her. So don’t look at someone else’s prayer life and think, “Wow, they’re so much more tuned-in than I am,” or “I wish I could pray like Mr. or Mrs. Suchandsuch does.” Your connection with Jesus belongs to you and no one else. Isn’t it ironic how often we tell our children to “be themselves” and then we as parents think we have to be someone else on Sunday morning?

I would not pick Ellie’s van to win a race or an auto show prize. But I know that I will miss it when it goes to that great salvage yard in the sky because there will never be another one like it. Lord, may someone think of me that way someday!

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

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There are 4 comments

We had a rusted-out, well-over-one-hundred-thousand-miles Chevy Malibu years ago...perhaps the message from that vehicle is "Keep on pressing on!" The really cool thing is that no matter what our outsides look like, God can use us to further his kingdom if we let him drive.

Deb
January 22, 2010 - 10:44

This devotional gives thoughts for reflection. Great as always !

Mary Ellen
January 22, 2010 - 09:53

Thanks Shawn! If this one left the yard then God gave me the right bat. Now to get that song out of my head!!

Kent
January 22, 2010 - 00:44

Wow, Kent, you knocked this one out of the park.
Ellie sounds like a cool lady, and I do like her van.

I really like how you ended this one too!
Thanks.

Shawn
January 21, 2010 - 23:34
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