Often when people see my car they ask “why in the world does a pastor drive a Corvette?” Since it’s showing up at church now, I thought I would share the story with you.
On Good Friday in 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. On that day the oncologist told me that I had 6 months to a year to live, a hard diagnosis to receive at age 50, particularly when I had never smoked or been exposed to asbestos, the more common explanations for the illness.
There were long nights following that diagnosis. I never lost my faith, I never doubted God, but the prospect of leaving my wife behind, of not standing to cheer my younger son’s high school graduation, made me truly sad, and desirous to live. I prayed for healing—thought about treatments. And being a car guy, decided that if God saw me through this, I would celebrate by buying a Corvette. Notice I wasn’t bargaining with God, I just would celebrate.
Shopping for Corvettes on the Internet was comforting; it was a distraction from the diagnosis and the rounds of chemo that I did. I looked at cars while I did treatment, while I continued to work, and before I knew it, two years had gone by. That second Easter time I decided that I would go back to my primary care doctor, somebody I hadn’t visited with for two years (if you’re going to die in six months, who cares about the
condition of your prostate or cholesterol!). My doctor was an atheist Jew whom I had enjoyed as a thinker and as a doctor, a person with whom I shared openly my faith, and he his lack of it. Visiting with him he told me, pointing out something that I had noticed already, that the oncologists would never tell me that I was in remission, never mind cured, because when you’re diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of any type, the best they will say is that they can’t see it. Not that it’s gone, or that there’s been a cure—never that.
God hadn’t, and still hasn’t, told me that I’ve been healed. He can, and He has spoken to me on other occasions, but He hasn’t (and it’s His prerogative – God has been more than fair to me and owes me nothing!). It turns out the doctors will never tell me that I’m cured. And yet, talking with my primary care doctor I was very aware that I was, and am, healthy. So right then and there, in Dr. Zimmerman’s office, I decided I was buying a Corvette!
I had seen this yellow Corvette for sale for about a month. It was bright, and beautiful, and while six years old only had 1,200 miles on it. And, it was half the price of the ones that were that nice with that many miles.
What’s up with that?! The ad said that it had a rebuilt title (a rebuilt title means that the State has branded the car as having been in such a bad accident that the car was totaled), but went on to say that you don’t drive the title, you drive the car. Indeed! And it said that Ravenswood Body Shop fixed it. It was odd that a shop like that would be mentioned, but their shop was behind one of the Methodist churches I was responsible for, and I knew them. They only did high end stuff. So I visited with them, and they raved about the car, that the damage really wasn’t that bad, told me about the owner, and how he had fixed it and upgraded it and then put it in his private collection, etc. So I called.
Turns out this was a Hertz Rental Car (it actually is a designated model – ZHZ) from California. Some guy rented it, took out all the insurances on it, and went jumping with it. On his last jump, going too fast over the railroad tracks, he ripped the front end off, and then on the way down, ripped the back end off. And the car was totaled, bestowing upon it the rebuilt title, and hence the very low price. I bought the car for a song. And in this crazy market, it’s worth about that same today, seven years later.
And here’s the thing. The car was built perfectly in 2008. A couple of months later it was marred by sin. And then it was purchased by a wealthy car collector in Ft. Lauderdale who had Ravenswood restore it to its original state and then some. I’ve named the car “Redemption.”
You and I were created in the image of God. We were created perfectly. But sin, both by nature and nurture, has marred our perfection, and our relationship to that Creator. But on an Easter long ago, Jesus purchased our marred souls with the blood of His sacrifice, and we have been
redeemed. There’s a bright yellow Corvette out in the parking lot that tells me that story every day. If you’d like a ride, or want to talk about
redemption, just let me know.
Yakking away, Craig
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. Ephesians 1:7,8a