3 Things a Stolen Car Is Teaching Me About Poverty

By Jarrod McKenna 5-19-2015
Image via Ollyy/shutterstock.com
Image via Ollyy/shutterstock.com

So our First Home Project car was stolen, and was recently found by the police. (Yay!) 

Unfortunately it wasn't insured and cost us $450 to get out own car back. (Booo.)

Fortunately it still drives well. (Yay!)

Unfortunately it now has more graffiti in it than a public toilet. (Booo.)

We use it to teach people how to drive so they can get a job and build a new life. (Yay!!!)

Judging by the damage to the car's front, side, and back, looks like these young locals could have done with a few driving lessons themselves. (Booo.)

But now they know were we live, I guess they can ask next time they come back. ...In fact they have come back, three times now, and have stolen about $4,000 of gear, and we've had to change all the locks. (Not yay. Un-yay. Much anti-yay.)

We were getting the car ready for amazing friends who are working hard to make a new life here in Australia. (Yay!)

Unfortunately it's now going to take a lot more work. (Booo.)

Fortunately the spare tire is still in the boot. (Yay!)

Unfortunately it's now covered in what looks like dry blood. (Booo. ...And a serious amount of "What the!?!" and "Lord have mercy!") 

But all this has actually deepened my spirituality. Really. (Yay!) 

After this experience, I'm left contemplating these three realities:
1. There is a despairing nihilism that poverty, abuse, and drugs produce in our neighborhood. The faces and stories of young people we've walked with through the cycles of prison and drugs and homelessness and pain are present to me as I sit in this car and pray for the healing of those who left a Coldplay CD in here. (Yes. That is the depth of their despair ... Coldplay was the soundtrack to the joyride.)


2. There is a healing that praying for those who mistreat us brings. Becoming numb or callous is understandable, but never transforming. It hurts like hell, but we must let our hearts break again. Love only flows through a heart that is broken.

3. Love has the last word. The stories of the young people who have done this are not over. Prayer changes lives. Yes, love is vulnerable — even crucifiable. But love is also risen victorious over the grave. No love is ever lost in the universe. No love is ever wasted on another, either in prayer or in practice. And no one is beyond hope.

If you pray, pray tonight for those who steal and vandalise little signs of hope, like cars for struggling people. Pray they would encounter the transforming power of God's love.

In conclusion … Coldplay?!?!

Jarrod McKenna is amazed by grace. A peace award winning nonviolence trainer and activist, Jarrod is now National Director of Common Grace and a teaching Pastor at Westcity Church in Perth, Australia. Jarrod with his amazing wife and son Teresa and Tyson, are three of 20 people living at First Home Project; an innovative community welcoming, housing and empowering refugees. Follow him on twitter here.

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