A Bizarre Twist on a Mangled Tale

My adult son traveled to a distant city for a work-related conference and collided in rush-hour traffic, stranding him more than a hundred miles from home. No one was injured.

Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you. . .”

I prayed and asked for prayer from social media friends. One offered a ride through her husband, who happened to be in the same city. I met them halfway. God was good. I was grateful.

The insurance company moved the vehicle to an auto body shop for repair estimates. Preliminary figures arrived. The numbers were staggering, the car deemed a total loss, a settlement forthcoming. Amazing what damage traveling at 15 mph can do.

Meanwhile, another insurance company inquired about the vehicle. Same collision date. Same make, model, year, mileage, color and towing company. The repairman called to see if they also insured us. No.

After investigating, the repairman called back, chuckling. Two vehicles were dispatched by the towing company—identical make and model—for estimates. When only one showed, the adjuster assumed the vehicle identification number matched ours. It didn’t. The estimated damages were for the other car. Bizarre, but back to square one.

After a second evaluation, the appraiser declared our car repairable. We celebrated for a day. Then the mechanic looked under the hood. More damage. Costs mounted. Settlement offered. Though the car had been in dealer-showroom condition, if repaired, it would carry a salvage title. Difficult to insure.

God reminded me of his words in Matthew 6:19-21: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I wish this story had a happier ending. I cried as the call to surrender the title was made. The tears weren’t shed for the car, but for the history wrapped in that mangled piece of steel. College graduation present. Wheels to grad school. A ride to and from an internship. No sum or settlement was great enough to cover the memories.

But I also shed tears of joy. God oversaw the details. Everyone remained safe. Car will be replaced. Life moves forward. Who can ask for more?

2 Replies to “A Bizarre Twist on a Mangled Tale”

  1. Jean Costin says: Reply

    We relate, Pat. We had to give up the Honda Accord my husband and I bought a few months after we were married when it was declared “totaled.” That car had taught us to avoid car payments in the future(!), taken us to tour the San Juan Islands, on skiing trips and many other adventures, carried our firstborn daughter home from the hospital, and moved us back home to Springfield before her first birthday. We thought that one day our kids would all learn to drive in it! Sadly, a few years later the car was ruined when another driver ran a stop sign–but, praise God, my husband was unhurt. We had loved it, but that car also taught us that a vehicle is transportation and can be replaced.

    1. Thanks, Jean. A car is just a possession, like everything else and the Bible teaches that everything can be corrupted by moth and rust.

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