I babied that beauty. I parked remotely and hiked a good quarter-mile to my office or grocery store doors just to protect it from dings or scratches from less cautious drivers. Evenings, I wiped dust and dirt from hood to bumper with a soft microfiber cloth. Saturdays, we hand-washed the car until it sparkled like a five carat ruby.
One evening, four months into this routine, out-of-town business guests wanted to eat at a well-known steak restaurant on a very busy street. Parking was valet only. I reluctantly dropped my keys into the outstretched hand of the young man who welcomed me to the restaurant.
To my relief, the valet returned my car in perfect condition … Except for the one silver dollar-sized dent in the middle of the hood. I noticed it half way home when street lights shone on it just right in the dark to point out the problem.
“Wha -a- t is that?” Anger bubbled out. I never discovered what happened, but I lost the exhilaration I had experienced every time I slid behind the wheel of that new car.
Oh, I forgot about the dent once I arrived at work or home and got involved in some activity. But, the second I put the key in the ignition, my eyes trained on it again. And I felt it again. The anger swelling and drowning my joy. If only I had made a different decision about choice of restaurants. If only I had not trusted the valet. If only…
People commented on what a lovely new car I drove. “Thank you. It is,” I said, “except for that one dent on the hood.” I pointed to the damage, holding on to my past mistake.
Admirers walked closer and squinted, searching the area where I pointed. “Oh, now I see,” they sometimes said and listened as I shared my tale of woe. After a few such exchanges, it dawned on me. Maybe I don’t need to harp on that dent. I re-focused on the car’s newness, its shine and new-car smell, its smooth ride and cushy seats. Joy returned.
“If you live in the past, the past will not let you live,” I heard a minister challenge his congregation. How many times do we keep our eye trained on dents in our past life, only to steal our joy. To taunt us with feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness. To restrain us from the fresh start God gives when we accept the saving grace our Savior offers.
The apostle Paul reminded us that we all fall short. We all have dents and dings. But why hang on and call attention to them? Especially since God doesn’t once we abide in Christ. He repairs our dents and makes us new again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: … (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)
©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.