We had to take our car into the shop last week for some repairs to the clutch. I dropped it off in the afternoon for them to see what it was and it turned out to be worse than expected, so we picked it up three days later and paid a $820 bill. This was after three days of not having the things I had left in the car thinking I’d have it right back, and three days of borrowing a car from my boss. This is also just three months before we’re planning to sell the car altogether. Really?
Oh, but it gets worse. We discovered last night the problem isn’t actually fixed, but rather much worse. The clutch had been sticking–where you push the clutch in to switch gears and it just stays on the ground, so you can’t accelerate suddenly or get into any gear, leaving you to just coast to the side of road as smoothly as possible. It’s now sticking much more often and much worse, where it does some shaking and simply dies.
So we’ve borrowed a car, yet again, from my overly-generous, amazing bosses at The Spero Project. (These guys really are great, but they deserve their own post about how wonderful they are, so that will come as I say goodbye in the next couple months and mourn not having them around in the months after that.) We’re planning to take the car in Monday, hoping it won’t be more money, hoping we’re not being taken advantage of, and hoping for some piece of good news.
I suppose the car really isn’t my point, though. Our car has become a metaphor for me of support raising.
Ever since the car broke, we’ve been asking for help in every direction. If you only have one car, it’s difficult to get your car fixed. You need friends to help you get to the mechanic to drop of the car, you need rides while it’s being fixed, and you need a ride again to pick it up. All last week was spent borrowing various cars and calling people for rides, generally inconveniencing many people around us. It’s been very humbling to not be self-sufficient, but rely on everyone around us to help out and go the extra mile, all for us.
I think it’s hard to ask for genuine help in our society. It’s easier to ask for help with things we know we could do, such as making a meal or carrying a large load. We could take care of it ourselves, but it’d be nice to have help. But when it comes to actually depending on others, where we really couldn’t get it done if it weren’t for the other person, we’re suddenly bashful. It becomes awkward as we admit our area of weakness. We want to be independent and able to care of and provide for ourselves.
And just like our car required us to seek help, support raising requires us to seek help. From the Church around us, yes, but primarily from the Lord himself. It’s difficult to be in a place where we’re dependent on His help. When we receive a paycheck, even if it’s through His provision, we feel we’ve earned it and have therefore taken care of ourselves. Support breaks that down, requiring us to admit that we can only get to where God’s called us if He chooses to provide through his people, which are ultimately our friends and family making sacrifices and going the extra mile, all for us.
If you had asked me a year ago, I’d probably tell you I’d never raise support to live overseas. I had always dreamed of moving to the Thai-Burma border and simply working there while we lived among the people and loved a very vulnerable, displaced population. Instead, God has created a place for us at Partners, where it is necessary for us to raise support. Therefore, it no longer matters if I’d choose to raise support. Who would? We’ve been given a purpose in Thailand, and God has given us enough assurance that I’m quite willing to make any sacrifices necessary to obediently get there. So we started raising support and have quickly found it to be challenging, exhausting, humbling, unnatural, and awkward.
And now we’re here, looking at about two months left in Oklahoma City, with an apartment to pack up, a car to fix, and support raising to be done. And in this time, we’re praying our hearts out that God provides above and beyond our expectations. We’re praying he moves in peoples hearts to be behind us, financially and in prayer. We’re praying he provides with plane tickets and bank accounts and all the details we have to remember, but likely won’t, without his favor on us. We’re praying for grace.