Heart Verse: “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth where moth and rust destroy” (Matthew 6:19).

I had just dropped my twins off at school and was praying in my head. Thanksgiving was in a week and a half, and I was praying that we would have a vehicle to drive home to Kentucky. A few weeks before, I had been driving alone on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when a semi-truck drifted into my lane and slammed into the side of my van, our main family car.

Landis Family in rental carMy rental car was a bit smaller than our usual ride. I had gone from a Honda Odyssey to a Mitsubishi Mirage. While we did make a lot of memories driving our little “Hamster Mobile,” we truly couldn’t drive it 400 miles home for Thanksgiving. We could technically fit the five of us in it, but not with any luggage!

This brought me back to my prayer. God spoke to me during that prayer, reassuring me that we would have a vehicle to drive home for Thanksgiving. This was the moment when I really disliked what God had to say. You see, I was already pretty certain that the body shop couldn’t have our van ready in time to make the drive home. This moment, when God reassured me, was also the moment He indicated to me that I wasn’t getting my beloved blue van back. I wasn’t getting what I wanted! I really liked my van, and I wanted it back! I wanted my paid-off, blue van back. Nothing else!

A stop by the body shop confirmed my suspicions. They had found additional damage and expected the van would be totaled when the adjustor came back. They hadn’t even ordered parts. The next day I received a call from the adjustor confirming the anticipated news. I was NOT HAPPY with God for allowing this!

My first response was to override God and to argue with the adjustor about the decision to total our van. My attempts fell on deaf ears. God had decreed what He had, and He would not be relenting. This left me at Friday, and we needed a vehicle in our possession in 11 days. The search began. I wanted a very specific vehicle, and I wanted it in blue. I repeatedly told God this. I searched every site I could find multiple times.

He reminded me that anything I can’t give up is an idol. He told me to trust in Him. He reminded me that He did things for reasons I couldn’t and can’t know or understand. I reminded Him that He can do anything and He could have made my van fixable. Never mind that He brought me through an accident at 75 miles per hour untouched. Never mind that through a very generous gift, we didn’t even have to pay the deductible for our insurance. Never mind that I was three hours from home, yet not alone, the day of the accident. Nope. Never mind any of God’s faithful provision. He didn’t do what I wanted.

Are you catching on to the fact that my heart was not in the right place? “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). I had failed to guard my heart properly. “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart also will be” (Matthew 6:19-21). I know not to hold things too closely. This wasn’t the first car we had ever had totaled. It was hardly our first vehicle. It wasn’t the first thing I was upset to lose, but it surprised me how attached to this vehicle and its color I had become. For the most part when it comes to material things, I have no idea who got me what gift and when. If I come to your house, I won’t be looking for the things I got you. I probably don’t even remember what I got you. Yet there I was holding onto a dead earthly treasure like a toddler tantruming over a toy. I knew God’s Word, yet I continued to behave as if this earthly thing had any rightful place to be considered a treasure at all.

As we continued to search for a replacement vehicle, God’s assurance echoed in my head. We would have a vehicle to drive home for Thanksgiving. I started to get the picture that whatever God had for us, was already local. It had to be. As we waited for insurance to release our payout, we had run out of time to have a vehicle shipped in from another location. I searched relentlessly for my local, affordable BLUE van in a really challenging used car market.

Nothing that was BLUE was affordable. Really God?! I wanted blue. I was learning my lesson. I was letting go of the old, sort of. I just wanted this one concession…along with every other specific of the vehicle I expected to get. Finally, after relentless searches, I found the van I knew God had for us. There was just one problem: It. Was. GRAY…Light Gray. My most despised car color. It’s the color of the Pittsburgh sky, and I see enough of that color.

“Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth where moth and rust destroy” (Matthew 6:19). “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). I still wasn’t getting it. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). I definitely wasn’t loving the Lord my God with all my mind. I went back to the Lord again; He reminded me of the story in Numbers 11 where the Israelites reject God’s provision of ancient pastry (manna) and complain about wanting meat. He gave them meat until it came out their noses. I knew I needed to talk to God because I wasn’t sure what might happen to me, but I did not want vans or paint coming out my nose! Truly, I laugh at this, but I knew what God was saying. Rejecting God’s provision would come with consequences I would strongly despise. It was time to let go of what really did not matter and take hold of God’s provision. My van could not continue to matter more to me than the direction and provision of my good God.

Even after we bought the new gray van, it still took me time to get to where I needed to be emotionally and mentally. I didn’t love looking at God’s chosen provision. I knew it was sinful, yet I had to work to teach myself to see God’s provision and to thank Him for it. “Love the Lord your God with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). My heart and mind weren’t where they needed to be. I had to continually intentionally direct them back to where God wanted them to be. More than once, I caught myself comparing (and envying) car colors while driving. “Do not covet” (Exodus 20:17). “Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 b). Gradually through much prayer and some newly applied self-discipline, I came to realize that I never thought about the colors of other people’s cars when I was driving my old blue van, and so I didn’t need to think about it now that I was driving this new gray van that God had provided. I gradually learned to stop myself when I started the car color comparisons. I’ve asked the Lord to help me enjoy and appreciate this new van. The windows have a design that reminds me of the eyelashes on cartoons. She’s a sparkly silver fancy girl, I suppose. I really did like the interface for Android Auto. It was actually user-friendly while driving! They finally got technology to interface with real life in a practical way.

I know that I’m still on the journey to rid my heart and mind of all the ways that I love things more than God himself. I’m still learning the self-discipline to stop myself from thinking thoughts and making comparisons that only foster discontentment in my heart. I probably always will be, but now I am just a little better at taking those thoughts captive, guarding my heart, loving the Lord with my mind and not storing up treasures for myself where moth and rust destroy.