"When is enough enough?"
This is the question I was asking myself late Tuesday night and wrestling with again early Wednesday morning in regard to my beloved car. Only days after a fresh oil change and fixing my leaky exhaust, a new issue has surfaced. It’s always something, isn’t it? This time it appeared like the unwelcome culprit was the transmission. This is no small thing. And it pushes the price tag of necessary repairs to the $1-2,000 range—at least! Melancholy and gloomy visions of bidding farewell to this gray, four-wheeled treasure saddled my mind as I drove to two different mechanics this morning. Was this really the end? Would I actually have to come up with a new illustration for weekly blogs and Bible studies? I thought we had more time together. I just washed and detailed that car last weekend. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. And as much as we love that car (i.e. no monthly car payments), the reality is that after 15 years and 210K miles, the time may finally be here to stop pouring money into an old car and start searching for a replacement. Reliability and safety now compromised; this could be the breaking point. When is enough enough? When is it no longer worth it? BUT… after a second opinion, there now appears to be a glimmer of hope for my beloved, rusty and zip tied motor vehicle. I’m now cautiously optimistic that the problem is much less severe and not nearly as expensive. If this is the case, we’ll opt for the repair and not the new car. For the time being, my faithful Corolla appears to be on the cusp of receiving a stay of execution.
When is enough enough? We have all asked some version of that question of ourselves. When we’re unhappy in a job. When we are in damaging or unreciprocated relationship. When we’re treating a sickness or disease that refuses to go away. When we keep chasing dreams or possessions that still leave us empty. When we compare our own lives to the highlight reels of other’s social media feeds. In the unrelenting rat race of American life, we are always on the go and always chasing after something to get ahead or keep up with the proverbial Jones. It can be exhausting. And no matter the context, when we get to asking such a question, it suggests that something is off, something is askew. It is a frustrated point when we realize that all our good intentions and best efforts did not solve the problem. It still persists. It’s never fun to be in a position when we must consider if what we’re doing is prolonging the inevitable and wasting precious time, money, or sanity!
Can you imagine if God looked at us like this? Thanks goodness He does not; but think about it. What if God viewed us as expendable? People to be replaced when we stop doing what we were created to do? Paul articulates that we exist to bring God glory, by loving Him and loving others: “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10) But even without a long look in the mirror, we know that far too often we are not doing what God has created us for. We’re off chasing after the same worldly things as the unbelievers around us. We look no different than the very people who mock and despise the Christian faith. Can you imagine if God looked at us in the same way we look at old, broken cars? Frustrated by our unfaithfulness and sickened by our selfishness. Concerned about our complacency and aggravated by our arrogance. Irritated by our unreliability and bothered by our busyness. What if God stood before the faulty humans He so lovingly created, with repairs far greater than what we could afford ourselves, and said, “Enough is enough. I’m done. Time to start over. Time to replace them. Out with the old, in with the new.”
It is an unflattering and, quite frankly, damning thing to consider. But this is what makes the Gospel message so glorious. God doesn’t give up on us. Ever. He doesn’t throw us out. We are not relegated to the junkyard or given away by calling 1-877-kars4kids (you’re welcome for that jingle 😉). Instead, God takes action in Jesus Christ to fix what was otherwise irreparable. “For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly… But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:6-8 NLT) No matter how badly our lives are broken at times, no matter how many repairs we need, and no matter the cost… God steps forward to do the maintenance and pay the bill. He never looks at us and gives up; He never says enough is enough. Instead with loving words He reminds us, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) May you be comforted this day by the incredible, immense love that God has for you.
(Thanks for reading. I know they get long, but I hope they’re helpful!)
“If God is enough for you, than you’ll always have enough because you’ll always have God." (Max Lucado) ... And more importantly, God will always have you!