I sit inside the van, stay dry.  My kids and husband, they don’t care about the rain, stand outside in the glow of the headlights, watch the man back our new Mercedes off the truck in the empty parking lot.  This is a first, buying a used car in Knoxville that we have only seen in pictures on the internet. Turns out to be an illustration of grace for me.

When H is fourteen, his Dad buys him a blue convertible, a 1961 190SL Mercedes. A dream car before he even earns a license. He drives it around the neighborhood for two years, waiting to drive legal.  Friends still talk about how he stands out like a neon sign in the city driving that distinctive car.  His Mom says that car is the best insurance policy to keep a teenager out of trouble.

His grandfather owns car dealerships in Canada, sells Mercedes.  His family takes trips to Germany, they purchase cars, drive them in Europe, ship them home.  Mercedes isn’t just a luxury car for this boy, it is like the beloved family pet.  

For me, a car is utilitarian.  My mother once picks out a Mercedes in Germany, has it shipped to her in the United States.  She trades it for another Volkswagon, less than a year later.

Despite automobile roots in my husband’s family, in our twenty-one years of marriage, he chooses to drive the worn out second car. The one with windows that don’t open, headliners that hang down, seats with springs loose, locks that don’t work and seats that don’t scoot back far enough to accommodate his long legs. 

Even drives through four summers in Phoenix without air conditioning.  Comes home every day with clothes soaked through with sweat and never complains. Drives without heat in the cold winters our first years in North Carolina.

During some of those years, we just didn’t have the extra money to fix the cars.  Mostly, he just puts the needs of everyone else before his own.

Last week, because of extravagant generosity, he transfers the keys of the worn out second car – a 1995 Mercedes – to my daughter the day she earns her license and he gets the new car.  A rite of passage for her, a lesson in grace for me.

This “new” car that just rolled off the truck, it is nearly ten years old.  His heart sings.

The word Mercedes, of Spanish origin, means mercies or grace. It sounds silly but this new car brings awareness of how my husband represents grace to me all these years.  How he lays down his own desires because of love, walks in humility.  This receiving something the heart longs for, but doesn’t dare ask of, is like a gift from heaven.

I revel in watching him enjoy the goodness of God in this gift.

Have you ever received something you felt was more than you deserved, yet it fulfilled the longing of your heart?  Tell me about it.