I hope all the mechanics and classic car enthusiasts will forgive me. I’m wading in over my head with the topic this week. That’s because I had a flashback to my younger days when I saw the article in this month’s Mustang Monthly magazine. The feature was all about switching out a six-cylinder engine with a heavier eight-cylinder version. It begged the question as to whether it was worth it or not.

My dad was always working on our cars. When I was growing up he built a pit in our garage so he could change the oil and work on the vehicles from below. He had a massive tool chest with just about every kind of wrench you could imagine. The garage looked like a professional service station complete with hydraulic jacks and an air compressor. He even added a heater for those long winter nights when he was caught up in some project.

My first car was a 1965 Mustang with a 289-cubic-inch engine and a three-speed manual transmission. It needed a little work, so I spent several nights with my dad as he got it ready for the road. Dad really knew his cars. I didn’t do much. I simply watched the master work. He was good then, but I really came to appreciate just how good he was in the winter of 1980.

Disaster hit on Thanksgiving morning that year. A carburetor leak in the engine of my AMC Gremlin led to a fire under the hood. Thankfully, the fire department got there in time to save the body of the car. The engine was ruined. I was devastated until I heard my father say he could save the car. He told me was going to replace the motor with one from the junk yard.

It’s funny how you pay attention to something when you have a vested interest in what’s happening. My dad had switched out car motors several times before but I never thought about what he was doing. That changed as I watched him set up the block and tackle and pull the ruined engine out of my car. He replaced it with the new one. I will never forget how it roared to life when he was done. He had given my burnt-out car a second chance.

As I thought back on this, I couldn’t help but think of David’s words in Psalm 51. He calls on God to forgive him. He asks him to wipe away his sin and to give him a second chance. David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me....” What David wanted was a new heart that could love God the way God is supposed to be loved. If he was a car you might say he wanted to be restored to factory standards.

In John 3:3 Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be “born again.” In other words, we are going to need new hearts if we want to see God. The good news is that he is the great physician. He can give us a new heart just like my dad gave my car a new engine. So don’t give up! Go ahead and rev your engines. With God at your side, there will be a lot more road to travel.

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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(1) comment

Rich R

Pastor Lord, the only thing missing from your car / heart analogy, is the huge sense of accomplishment that the Mechanic feels after his work. BUT, I think we can safely assume, that God does feel that same sense of accomplishment when we open our hearts to HIM.

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