Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
It is just engrained in me. If you are a Grits reader you might remember when I talked about my first car. It was a 1961 Rambler painted (with a paint brush) a royal blue with a yellow stripe right down the middle. Due to its former home, Daytona Beach, it had more Bondo body filler than metal and its floorboards had also fallen victim to the salty air and water. But I was so grateful to have it. It was part trade and part gift from my oldest sister, and I loved it. I would regularly wash it and clean the inside. Since it was the seventies, I bought flowery seat covers to hide the worn-out seats. The bottom line—it was my baby. A little scarred, more than a little worn out—but she was mine.
From that very first one, I have always tried to take care of my cars. A few were new and some were old, some were in good condition and others not so much. But each car received that same loving car. They ranged from a 1971 pinto with a rod knocking (something the Rambler shared) to a new 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser with wood grain sides. My wife Judy and I bought that one on a whim because of a deal they were having on interest rates. It was also “on sale” because it had a 4.3 liter diesel engine which was popular at the time. I had no clue about diesel engines and was surprised to learn that they didn’t even have spark plugs. What? One time I was looking at buying a used pickup truck that had a huge lift kit on it. It was almost a monster truck. The guy let me keep it overnight and what did I do? You bet, I washed it and cleaned it out. I wanted to see what it would look like…and then I didn’t even buy it. Strange.
I have a knack for cleaning cars. I can make most cars look pretty good. It is amazing what a good wash job, some Windex, a strong vacuum and some Armor All can do. Give me a couple of hours and shazam—you have yourself a showroom classic. Well, not really but it sounds good. But they did always look better. Now somewhere beyond better is the next level and that is—a detailing. In case you don’t know, when a car is detailed, the cleaner person should really pay attention to—get ready—the details. Let me explain.
Recently, a friend gave me a gift certificate for my car to be detailed. I was genuinely excited. We have two cars and I had to choose which car got the beauty treatment. Judy’s car won because, honestly, it needed it the worse. After I dropped it off at the detailing place, about four hours later I received a call that it was done. I couldn’t wait to pick it up—and I was not disappointed. When I pulled up the detailer’s shop there she was and like Cinderella ready for the ball, Judy’s car was dazzling.
It had not only been washed but it was sporting a new wax job. It glimmered in the noon day sun. The tires and splash guard were all shiny black and the wheels sparkled like a person’s teeth after a whitening treatment. I opened the door, and the entire interior was not only clean, but shining clean. The floor mats were spotless. Yup—I was impressed. I opened the trunk to find it spotless and the space where the lid meets the body—a perfect place for dirt and grim to hide—clean. When I bought gas a couple of days later, I noticed that even the place where you put fuel in had been cleaned. Like I said, a good detailer will pay attention to the details…and she did.
Her name was Jo, and she has been detailing cars for over 35 years, so she has a lot of experience. She knows how to make a car look new. Speaking of new, that is why I am keen on God. He can take the most bruised and broken life and not make it look new—but make it new. I was reading in the Bible just today something that Paul, one of the New Testament writers, said. He writes, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” You see God doesn’t do detailing…though He is definitely a God of the details…He just makes every person who puts their faith in His Son a brand-new creation. I mean, imagine taking your car to get it detailed and picking it up four hours later only to find a brand-new car. Wow and trust me, God’s work in the lives of people is an even bigger wow factor!
One time, a year or so ago, I hired a guy I didn’t know, to detail my car. I paid him too much money, and let’s just say, I was very disappointed. He just didn’t do a good job. But after a 46-year journey with Jesus I can tell you that He never disappoints, and He never misses a single detail. So, hats off to Jo and thanks to that special friend who gave me the gift certificate. And, remember, if you need your life made new, give Jesus a shout. His line is never busy, and you won’t get an answering machine. He is online all the time and whatever the challenge, He’s up to it. He’s got this.