A transition was coming. I did not know that at the time. I longed for a change of some sort yet continued to struggle. And then the Lord moved in a BIG WAY. Did the man the Lord used to help me know the difference he had made?
I was two years into the role of a divorced woman and much of the rough road had become smoother. The Lord provided a cute condo just for me in a nice suburb of Chicago, a “little black race car,” and good job. Physical limitations required me to work 3/4 time yet gratefully my profession of occupational therapy pays well so I could still support myself. It was still a tough time in my life. The stress contributed to a back injury that put me out of work without pay then right when I might default on my mortgage payment I was able to return to work. Amazing. And that is how the Lord provided for me during a total of 3 tough years: just in time, right on time, and only after completely submitting to my Heavenly Husband and Father.
The Thursday night Bible study at the home of Pat and Mary was an important refuge for me during those years. Pat brought to life the books of the Bible with detailed history and applications that made a difference for all of us. He led us in prayer where we lifted each other up before the Father in the name of Jesus Christ; the love was palpable. Members came and went yet were never forgotten. Most of them knew my former spouse from years together in that living room. It didn’t matter later on. I am grateful that Craig led me to the fellowship that would make a difference then and even this past weekend. Here’s why.
His name escapes me of the younger-than me gentleman who was a part of the Bible study who offered to help me with my car. I understood that he was happily married with children and thriving in the IT field. I needed a new battery for my Honda Civic but could not find the money for it. Through Pat within the following week, I learned that the guy whom I barely knew had offered to pay for it! I was grateful and humbled. Life went on and the car worked great however I did not see this man again for many weeks on a Thursday night. I’m sure I sent a thank you note but never got to tell him in person the difference and encouragement that came from his actions.
And then my life changed again: my mother passed away. I was already exhausted from the grievous circumstances surrounding her death and, at the same time, grateful that I got to see her out-of-state the day before she died. Incredible. Then much to the surprise of my brother and I, she had left behind an inheritance that would meet all of my needs in the near future. Whew. Such a paradox! So many mixed emotions. I had no idea; I thought she had squandered her hard-earned income that came from years working as an office manager at Hercules Machine Tool and Die in the Detroit area. There was more leftover. My brother and I had more to focus on than this so we each proceeded as we thought best while dealing with our childhood home, his ultimate need to find another place to live, etc. An extended family member’s role saw to all of that for sure as my Mom’s chosen Executor of her estate. (No, that was not me.)
So I decided to purchase a new car! And then I felt guilty! So I sought the counsel of my Bible study leader who taught me to enjoy the Lord’s financial blessing yet hold it lightly. As a Christian the stuff of life has no eternal value yet we are to be good stewards of the resources bestowed to us. I tithed then proceeded with my purchase, enjoyed my saweet Hyundai Tuscon. Sure was nice having a good vehicle to take me to-and-from my new love interest in Indiana. Things started looking better in some ways, in others there was still a cauldron of confusing emotions.
The gentleman who bought me the new battery for my old Honda Civic showed up sometime later at the Thursday night Bible study. I was at the stage of purchasing the new car and trading in the old one, sharing my incredible mix of events. The look on his face seemed to express “incredulous.” Not sure if he was happy for me or sad. His donation of a new battery was now in the hands of an unknown party. The look on his face stayed with me for the next ELEVEN YEARS. Did he know that his encouragement gave me the courage to go on with my life? To trust in the provision ultimately of my Heavenly Father? I didn’t think so. And I never got an opportunity to thank this man in person; he left shortly after the end of our prayer time that night.
Eleven years later I ran into Pat and Mary at the Memorial Service of a brother in Christ: this past weekend. We laughed, we reminisced, we spoke of our mighty Lord and how He had restored the years the locusts had eaten in my life, twice! (Well, probably more than that actually!) My intended beloved, Steve, and I enjoyed a lovely time of fellowship with Pat and Mary in addition to many others who helped walk me through those important years when I worshiped at Village Bible Church; many were there on Saturday. Before we left I had to ask Pat one more thing: did the gentleman who bought me the new battery ever knew the incredible blessing he gave me? Did he understand that I really needed it at the time? That his actions gave me the courage I would need to move on when a time of financial restoration would follow, albeit quickly? Pat said that he did. He said that it was a blessing for him to help me. Sigh. Really? Oh Lord, I do hope so.
The gentleman’s name is Rich. Lord, please bless Rich and his family, work, and life this day. Let him know the generosity and goodness that you brought to me so many years ago and lead Him in your ways always. I pray that he continues to seek you and bless others with what gifts you have given him as he did for me. May our Lord be glorified in all this goodness that comes to any of us amidst the trials of this life. Your fingerprint is here for me, for Rich, and for you too, Gentle Reader. In due time for those who believe in the name and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we shall be lifted up and made new one day, sharing in the glory beyond our wildest dreams. Tis a decision worth making, a journey worth taking. Thank you Jesus for Pat and Mary too. I pray that you bless them as well for their faithful teaching and living every day for You.
1 Peter 4:8-10 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Beep! Beep! :J