Oh how I loved that little car. It was beige with brown accents (my favorite car colors at the time [actually, that’s the color of the car I have now]) and (best of all) it was a convertible. I was just 18 and an ordinary kid, and this was a Fiat Spider. Way out of my league.
That didn’t stop me from gawking as I drove by in my Daddy’s Buick. And it didn’t stop me from actually going into the store where it sat in the display window, its top down, and walking slowly around it, caressing the top of the door and leaning over to view the interior.
Nobody noticed. Or if they did, they didn’t care. I was an ordinary kid, all by myself, drooling over a cute little sports car. They had bigger fish to fry. So I just sighed and got back in my Buick.
I talked to Dad about it, but only in the “ohmygoshyougottaseethiscar” way of a recent high school graduate. The dealership was downtown where he worked, so he knew the one I meant and I’m sure he saw it on his drives past. Later that year, he and I found a little Subaru – white, standard shift, cute and fun to drive. I loved that car.
But my oh my that Spider…
Just recently, I told the story of that little convertible and how much I loved it. Dad was there too and nodded with the memory.
“But that’s not something I could have ever had,” I said dreamily.
“You didn’t try hard enough.”
“What?” I asked, stunned.
He just grinned, but a little sadly, a decades-old secret coming out. “You didn’t try hard enough.”
There I sat, picturing myself in that little Fiat, top down, hair flying. Mind you, I loved my Subaru, but I. Could. Have. Had. That. Car. And furthermore, I pictured the today me driving it – graying hair blowing. Because, although the little Subaru coupe went the way of a family sedan when the children came, that Fiat would have been mine forever.
The access was there the whole time, I just didn’t know it. I got what I wanted – a nice, new car. I just didn’t know that I could have so much MORE.
I saw that in the book of Matthew this past week. Well not Fiats exactly. But the same concept. At the end of chapter 14, it says sick people begged to only touch the hem of Jesus’ robe to be healed. And they did. And they were.
I frowned a little as I checked off my reading for the day and closed the Bible. “Strange you would let them do that,” I muttered. I guess muttering counts as prayer because there was an immediate response.
“It was all they wanted.”
I opened my Bible back up and looked at the passage again. Sure enough. They were brought by “the men of that place” and they “implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.” (Matt. 14:36 ESV)
I let that sink in a little. Then a lot. They could have had HIM! They could have been hugged and touched and wrapped up and eye-contacted and loved and … They could have had HIM! And they settled for the hem of his garment. They just didn’t try hard enough.
At first I was more than a tad disgusted by them and their lack of thinking. But then I imagined if I had been there, one of the sick. I would have wanted a hug. I would have craved eye contact and a look of love. But I know I would have considered myself just a regular person, not worthy to bother the Master. The fringe would have been enough.
In His love, He gave them what they wanted – to be healed. They got the answer to their prayer. But how much more was available to them?
I sat back, picturing the younger me driving around in my very nice white Subaru. I got what I wanted. But I could have been zipping around in that snappy little convertible. According to my Dad, I was good enough. I just needed to not settle.
Then I smiled, thankful for the lesson from Abba. I may be just a regular person, but I’m HIS regular person and that hug and eye contact, that relationship – all that is available to me. Always. When THAT’S what I want, that’s what He gives me. Oh how I regret the days I have settled for the fringe.
From now on, I’m driving with the top down.
[I have to add this for my church-shopping friends. Please find you a home where the “men of that place” lead you to the ARMS of Jesus, not just to the hem of his robe. And to my already-churched friends, be the men and women who pull the people into His embrace. Let us not be the ones who ask or cause others to settle. Let’s show them His friendship, not the fringe; HIM, not the hem.]