Category Archives: God is Good
So it has been a little over 3 years since I have been here. God has been doing a LOT. Let me just share some. Many times we wonder what God’s will is…Most of the times it is given to us in black and white! For example:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”1 Thessalonians 5:19
So, pretty clear, eh? Or how about this one:
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified [set apart for God’s use]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…1 Thessalonians 4:3–5
So again, pretty straight forward – especially when it says “It is the will of God..” There is much more to be said about this will of God stuff…very important!
But how about things that are not so “black and White”?? 2 years ago, I was in a job that was threatening to have layoffs and/or even pay reduction due to COVID’s ugly impact. I – had just before that – been laid off from Gateway Church along with 200 other pastors due to poor management, so was not about to have yet another layoff! So I put my application “out there” to find another job back in the public sector. I am pretty much done with the whole ministry thing – don’t get me wrong, I love the Lord, and am committed to Him all the days of my life. And I am committed to His people as well! You can’t commit to just one without also committing to the other! But since people are fickle (God’s people less so, but even they tend to be fickle unless they let God do His work on their lives!)…I was done trusting in people’s character to support me. To be clear, trusting in God’s people for supporting the ministry is something the Apostle Paul said was quite Biblical and proper. However, I have always been amazed at what people will allow themselves to live under when God’s people do not support the ministry…how pastor’s could allow their children to live in such poverty is beyond me.
Anyway! I digress…I had put my application out there all over the country and received several interviews in places such as Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas and even Alaska! I asked God to please open the doors to where HE wanted me to be. I had a follow-up interview in Alaska, but no offer…waited several seeks, and nothing. I was about to go with a small Texas offer when I got a call from Alaska again. I received an offer to be a principal of a small school (K-12) school in a bush village only accessible by air or boat. Not on the road system. That was the one God offered me, so I took it. I had told God that I would take the first offer HE gave me.
Now for years I had a best friend when I was an assistant principal at Haltom High School in Birdville ISD named Leonard. It was one of those God appointed things. We were both believers, so we got to school early every morning circa 6 am so we could pray EVERYDAY for things – from faculty, to leadership to students. God truly did work! Well, one of my favorite things about Leonard was his past an Army Paratrooper Jump Instructor…he was a Master Sergeant and Jump Instructor. I truly and greatly respected Leonard!
One of the things he told me is that when he was to go on a mission, the army would always send all the supplies they needed FOR that mission. When they would jump out of the airplane, they would land in a place where their supplies were already waiting for them. Housing, food, weaponry, etc. The first thing they would do was set up a perimeter and stand guard against the enemy. See the parallel??!!
I thought about that. God send us on missions too. And He promises to meet all of our needs in Christ Jesus, and to NEVER abandon us!
So what about my new job? I had just taken a job in Alaska, but didn’t know how I was going to get there?? How do I get all my stuff up there? My car? This all takes money, and I was working at a Christian School, and they don’t believe in paying their teachers well. Even if given the opportunity! I heard the president of our board at Grapevine Faith say just that! I knew I had to drive – 5,000 miles from Ft. Worth Texas…let me do the math: Just the gas alone was $500, let along food and lodging…I was looking at easily a $1500 trip. I will have to mail a bunch of stuff up there ahead of me…that is roughly $75 to $125 per box. That is easily another $1000.
God gave me the idea to take all of my paperback books that I truly want to Kinkos/FedEx and have them cut the bindings off and send each one through the copier at school and digitize them into a PDF file, and bring them on a thumb drive! Yep…here they all are – over 200 of them!
But still…I need to live until my first paycheck from my new job – two months away. And working at the typical Christian school, when I put in my resignation, my pay stopped immediately. Even though every other education contract says I will be paid through the full 12 months ending in August. I was given a “Special” contract that says pay will end when I terminate. So there is that. Why are Christians to bad at treating other Christians well? My Bible says to give our Christian leaders double respect.
Well God saw all of that and already had a plan before time began. I had a POC Chevy Silverado Pickup Truck that was near death, and was parked on the street outside of my house. It sat there for months. I was afraid the city would tow it as an abandoned vehicle! Soon as I signed my contract for the new job, it was just a couple of weeks and I saw this orange tag on my truck while I drove by it one day. I figured, “Great! The city wants to tow it!” Well I checked the tag and it was a little card from some guy who said he wanted to buy it! Now I figured “Awesome!” But then thought that when he finds out my truck has all of these problems (I will never buy American vehicles again – let alone diesel!) he will back out or greatly reduce the price. I had a mental idea of $3,000 I wanted for it…thinking that $3k is what I would need to live on and get me to Alaska. I called the guy and he comes over, and in full disclosure, I tell him what repairs I have had done to it, and what it needed to be repaired – probably over $1,000. He said he can fix those things….and offered me $3000 cash for it! Remember my paratrooper friend Leonard’s story about the supplies being sent ahead? This just happened!
I was now set! a month and 5,000 miles later, I was in Anchorage! Next step was to board a little plane and get to Koliganek! I had 700 lbs of freight and my own $300 ticket, so $1100 later I landed in Koliganek.
It was a great village. Great people! Right on the Nushagak River – full of Salmon! The school year comes and goes, and pretty soon I am asked to apply for a position in the district office. I do, and I get the position as a Director.
This will mean a move to the city of Dillingham, which has roads. My car is in storage in Anchorage – 300 miles away. Remember, no roads between Anchorage and Dillingham! I check and it will cost me $3200 to have it put on a barge to Dillingham. Well, that is money I do not have! I could probably pay it out…but AML does not see it that way!
Moreover, there is a housing shortage in Dillingham. It is a city of 2500 people until summer time when it swells to over 7500 people due to commercial fishing…I would be moving in June. Yep, going to be tight!! I hear just a basic apartment is over $2000…ouch!
But God’s promises are still true. In fact, 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God…” Okay, I have only seen it happen hundreds of times before, so why will now be any different?!
A week before I am to fly the 80 miles to Dillingham in the little single engine propeller plane for $100, I go online to get some tax info from an old account I had when I was with Gateway Church. I had long since closed it and cashed in that old account. So I was surprised when it said I have over $4,000 in it! I was like “This has got to be some mistake!” So I called them. Sure enough, there was money actually in the account! But I was curious why it was there…I truly had closed it out when Gateway got rid of the 200 of us! Ironically THAT VERY DAY when I checked my mail, there was a letter from Gateway church saying that when they severed our relationship, they accidentally took too much of the retirement account , and they were refunding me the error! Now timing is everything! I Needed $3200 pretty soon, and just found out I had $4000! Once again, God went ahead and confirmed my next step in life.
What is next? I do not know…but I will say it again and again: There is a God, He is actively involved in every aspect of our lives. His promises are true. His Word is true. He is good. I am honored to have been called by Him to serve Him. Word up – EVERYONE OF US is called by Him to serve Him…not just a few. Now I live here:
Then there is this view just a few miles from my home…
Want to know God’s will in a more intimate way?
“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”Romans 12:1-2
So, it is clear that we CAN know the will of God beyond that which is in the black and white pages of scripture…we can follow the bread crumbs of the clues we are able to see. It is a lifelong pursuit! Look at what HE says to us through His apostle Peter:
As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.– 1 Peter 4:2-5
Will you choose to do the will of God? It will be difficult…no lies here! But really no more difficult than living in the world! And it will be far more rewarding than what the world could ever offer! HE truly does go before you and provides what you need to do what He has called you to do! God is not like the federal government that gives unfunded mandates! LOL! God is faithful..What will it require? Go to God and seek His voice…Listen to it! Ask Him! Present yourself to Him. Say, “God here I am! I am all Yours! What do you want me to do?” If you can’t hear anything, or if you are hearing crazy things, then take a minute to rebuke satan or any of his emissaries…just say, “In Jesus Name any spirit of darkness I command you to leave. I belong to Jesus, and I desire to hear HIS voice above all others!” Then ask Jesus to speak…make sure you are ready to listen! It may take a little while of silence. He may speak in a voice, maybe an idea, maybe a vision, maybe a picture or maybe in a dream that night?
For God does speak—now one way, now another—-Job 33:14-18
though no one perceives it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword…
I would love to help you on this journey if you so desire! God is already there waiting for you! 🙂
Well, there might be others, but I heard this one on the “christian” radio station this morning, and it made my heart hurt. I have heard it before, and sadly, even used it. That was before I grew in my understanding of the the nature and character of God.
Here is the analogy as heard on the radio – and there are various different versions: The dad works at a train station as a bridge operator. He must operate the bridge so when the train is not there, ships can go under the bridge, but when a train comes, he must then flip the switch so the train can pass over the bridge without killing all on board. One day his son ends up on the tracks while there is a train coming.
While the child is oblivious to this, the dad quickly catches on and must make a quick decision: Either save his son and let the hundreds of passengers on the train be killed, or sacrifice his son to save the many on the train.
While the dad tries to get the son’s attention, his efforts fail to rescue his son in time. Dad makes the logical move to save the many at the expense of the one, but his heart is broken. These pictures are from several different versions of the story that have been found to be popular on the web. One such variation is where the son ends up crushed by the bridge.
At any rate, the father is in anguish over the loss of his son. We are then further guilted by the analogy by how carefree the people on the train are – not knowing that someone has paid dearly for their lives by sacrificing his own.
Do you see the error in this analogy? I am sure the inventor of this story meant no harm. Silly people have gone even further by trying to tell us the story is actually true. I shake my head in chagrin! While it is true that Jesus did pay dearly, nobody killed Him. And His Father did not send Him to die without choice. That would be on the level of child abuse…who would want a Father like that?
I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
-The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (John 10:17–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
He Himself said “…nobody did this to me! This was my choice!” But He didn’t stop there. Keep listening! “,,,I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, AND I have authority to take it up again. This charge I received from my Father.” The Son came up with the idea, the Father signed off on it, and because God is good and God is love, we can all be redeemed, healed, set free, discipled, empowered and serve Him. Way cool!
To be clear, we are indeed talking equivalencies here! This may stretch a few brains, but here is what God Himself says in His Word: Jesus was fully God …
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form
-The New International Version. (2011). (Col 2:9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
If that is not enough, (the following is a passage a certain cult hates…), take a look at Revelation 1 (a few selected passages, but if you track who is talking, you will see!). The Apostle John is on the Island of Patmos, and Jesus appears to him:
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. – Revelation 1:12–18
So what is interesting is that Jesus Himself tells he was alive, then dead, then alive again. If you were to look at that same passage in the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness Bible) it ascribes those words to Jehovah God! When did Jehovah ever die? On the cross!
So you see, God and Jesus the Son are one and same…nobody killed Him, or sacrificed Him. He laid down His own life, and took it up again. Why? Love! Redemption!
Okay, so I was not raised in a Christian family. But the picture here is from Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior’s north shore – that is where my life and God’s mercy finally intersected in my conscious mind when He let the air supply in my scuba hose get stopped while I was diving on a ship wreck in 60′ of water. At that point, I never knew God. I didn’t even know God existed. Correction: I did know, I was just really mad at Him, so I pushed Him away so He would not exist in my life. This is why I do not believe there are any true atheists in the world. There are those who are angry at God like I was, and keep Him away, and there are people who just don’t know God yet – we call them agnostics: “a” meaning without or against, and “gnostic” meaning knowledge. Back to reality…
So that day back in 1978, my diving buddy asked me if I wanted to pray before the dive. “Are you kidding me right now? Since when did I EVER need God? And why would I shoot meaningless words into the sky? And what could He do for me anyway? He was way too far away! Besides, all the things He COULD have done for me in my life up to that point HE chose not to! Why give me an alcoholic dad? Why all the anger and abuse? Why make my mom and dad divorce and marry EACH OTHER 3 different times? Why did I have to be born with a cleft palate? Why did my aunt molest me? And that is my short list.” So perhaps you see the source of my anger against God. That is also before I knew that one of God’s names is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” He has been by my side – and YOUR side – every day of our life. NEVER has He left us! WE just give Him the cold shoulder.
“Somehow” I survived the mishap in Lake Superior which had every potential of doing me great harm if not death. That night back at the cabin with the rest of the diving crew, I could not sleep. I was faced with the question that few ever stop to ponder – “What if I had died that day in 60 feet of water, then what?” I had no answers.
At that time in my life I was into all kinds of Eastern Mysticism, pyramidology, alien worship, and the like. Now here is a great pause! I would not believe in the one true God, Who has loved me from the day I was conceived in His mind, but I would love beings that don’t exist, worship things that are lies – and I thought I was enlightened! Funny how the world deceives us!
A few weeks later I was driving into town (in Minnesota) to get ice for my dad and me for going out on the lake, and I remember driving past a church, and thinking, “Wait a minute! Churches have answers for that kind of question!” I pulled a u-turn, and drove into the parking lot – might I add that it “just happened” to be time for Sunday school to begin – God’s timing is always perfect!
The church was Calvary Memorial Church in Navarre, Minnesota. I was in my cutoff shorts and muscle shirt (not that I had many muscles, just wearing the shirt!) and was ushered to the youth group. For the first time I heard stuff that rocked my world – stuff Jesus did – healing blind people, healing crippled people, raising dead people. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me?!! Nobody ever told me this stuff before!” Or at least if they did, I wasn’t listening. Truly in a state of awe. Apparently I stuck out as the new kid. Not sure why…perhaps it was my UNSunday like appearance? Everybody else was in their Sunday best – suits, nice clothes, Sunday dresses, then there was Rick – cutoff shorts and t-shirt. Confession – still my preferred mode of dress! 🙂
So after the morning lesson the teacher/youth pastor came up to me and introduced himself to me. Then he asked me the strangest question: “Would you like to come back tonight?” I thought to myself, “You guys go to church twice in the SAME DAY? That is a TOTAL waste of time!” Then he said they were all going out to ice cream afterwards. I said “Sure I’ll come!” Can’t argue with ice cream, eh?
I cannot remember to this day what the evening service was like, but I do remember our time at this place on the shores of Lake Minnetonka called the “Soda Fountain.” It was there over ice cream that Randy Heinsch, Dwight Anderson and his brother Duane shared the Gospel of Jesus with me. The “gospel” means good news. The good news is this: Jesus came to give us life. More than just life. HE showed us how to live, and then gave us the Holy Spirit to heal us and guarantee us the new heaven and the new earth it talks about in Revelation 21.
Currently, we are hurt and dying. Spiritually we are already dead, the body is simply following the spirit to its death. Jesus reverses the spiritual death. In fact He told us in John 6:63 –
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Jesus’ words are spirit and life. Our human effort amounts to nothing in the long run.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:18–19
He is not the distant rule enforcer. He is life giver. Redeemer. Forgiver. Healer.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people…Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:11–14
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13–14
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24
But most of all, He loves. He IS love. Would you open your heart and mind and soul to the Giver of life, the Redeemer, He who would love to heal you and forgive you?
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us. – 1 John 4:7–10
This is the God I never knew! It took decades to get to know Him! You can too! It starts with a prayer. The prayer goes something like this….it is not the words that matter, it is the heart’s attitude in the prayer that matters:
Dear God – thank You for loving me. I am hurting, and I need Your healing. I am a mess and I need Your forgiveness. I am dying and I need Your Life to give me life. Your words are life and I invite You and Your words into my life and I give You total control. I no longer push You away – in fact I ask that You draw me near to You. I want to feel Your presence. I want to live my life Your way from here on out. Draw me into Your Words that I might know how to do that better I ask in Jesus Name! Amen!
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time I want you to do 2 things. 1) write down today’s date and time as when you began eternal life. Today is the day you became a Christian. Nice! 2) contact me so I can stay in touch with you and help you grow as a Christian. Life is not meant to live alone. God made us and designed us to live in community. So reach out and let me know how you are doing!
Not your typical church service. But then with God, what is typical? The lady got up in front of the church and was sharing with the church how she is going to Mozambique again to help her friend for a while. She wanted to bring a gift to her friend – a practical type of gift. And as she inquired of the Lord what she should bring, she heard this small voice say “shoes.” Shoes? For her? For others? Who, Lord?? “Bunches of shoes…” Okay then! She didn’t know sizes, types, styles, gender, or anything. Just shoes. There was no email, no Facebook post, not even a phone call. Just this impression in her heart: “Shoes.” So she shared with the church that last Sunday she would be there for a while that the Lord laid it on her heart to ask for people to donate shoes, if anybody was willing. So, at the end of the service, they had a rather strange offering. People by the scores went up and left their shoes at the altar. Nice, ugly (those would have probably been mine!), new or used. The picture above does not do justice. It was a LARGE pile of shoes and boots. And, in keeping with “strange” that day, many families went home barefooted! They literally left their shoes at the altar for unknown people 10,000 miles away – in Mozambique.
On the other side of the world, IN Mozambique, the missionary lady was in pain. She had sickness, she had been digging worms out of the feet of other people for weeks and months. Even she herself had been hospitalized with the worms. They were eventually eradicated from the missionary’s body, but her burden of love for these people she was ministering to was to give them something that would prevent them from getting those worms, or getting re-infected with them. She prayed for shoes. Sandals. Boots. ANYTHING that would prevent these people from getting these worms as they walked around barefooted.
And from a small church on the other side of the world, God spoke the answer to the missionary’s prayers, and an entire church heard a call to leave their shoes at the altar, and a great number did just that, and went home barefoot.
When the missionary’s friend arrived in Mozambique, she asked her, “I don’t know why, but I felt the Lord wanted me to bring shoes?” The missionary broke down and cried. She had wondered if the Lord had heard her request for shoes. Would she even get them? And if so, how? She had thought about sending out a newsletter, or a Facebook post, but the Lord in His infinite love and sovereign power had beat her to the punch! “Shoes you want? Shoes you shall have!” Box after box after box arrived at the compound in the truck. The nice thing was that these shoes and boots were already broken in! People could now walk around in shoes, boots, sandals, anything that fit their feet – and they could avoid a worm infestation in their body that had very painful implications. How beautiful is the body of Christ!
You might ask how I know this story? Is it one of those “urban legends”? Well, this last weekend, Sept 21st, I attended a church called Convergence Church here in South Fort Worth. Convergence is the church from whence the shoes were donated. My son is a student at their school of supernatural ministry, and he really wanted me to come and hear Heidi Baker speak there this weekend. “Heidi Baker??” I asked…I was in like flint! Heidi was that missionary. She and her husband had come to the US on their yearly speaking tour and Convergence church was definitely on their itinerary after the shoe experience. As she stood in front of Convergence church and started sharing the story of the shoes, she broke into tears, and just stood there. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of overwhelming love. Tears of knowing there is God in heaven who actually hears our cry. Trying to regain some form of composure standing in front of hundreds. But she lost it. Probably 2-3 minutes went by. It was truly a beautiful time of love being poured out. Probably not a dry eye in the place. Love is a powerful thing. And those shoes are doing a work of love as people wear them over in Mozambique. I can only imagine what some of the men are wearing.
So this is in perfect line with what the Lord has been weighing on my heart these past few years.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
So the love is there! The first question is then why does the world not see it as much as it should? The second question is how many of us continue block that love? For years I did that. I have a trail of damage behind me to prove it. How many of us have too many layers of paint over the original beautiful wood boards to see the beauty God created in the wood grain? How many of us let our hurts cover over the love HE poured into our hearts? He doesn’t pour it into our hearts so we can just hang onto it and “feel the love” – it is to become rivers of living water flowing out of us.
It is an extravagant love. As I read Ephesians, I am struck by just how extravagant His love really is! And it dwells inside of each one of us who call Him our Lord!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
1 John 4:7-8 says “God IS love” as true as 4+5 = 9. God = Love. If we see God, we are seeing love personified. IF we have God dwelling in our hearts, then to the extent that we allow Him Lordship over us, we will love. Truly love. We will take off our shoes, and go home shoeless so that somebody 10,000 miles away might be blessed to have our shoes by the Love of Jesus. We will give the person ahead of us in line at the grocery store the extra $1 they need to pay their whole ticket when they come up short. We will walk up to a perfect stranger at the mall with an injury and offer to pray for healing from them in the love of Christ (Warning! Healings may occur!)
1 John 4:7-8:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
Go. Love people in His Name and for HIS Kingdom’s sake.
I was not raised in a Christian family. My mother took me to a Methodist Vacation Bible School when I was very small, and my grandmother and grandfather would take me with them as well, but that was all I can remember. My dad was quite angry with God. When his sister was coming home from the hospital with her newborn baby, a train hit and killed them, and my dad never let God off the hook for that one.
So it came as quite a surprise to all in my family when I became a Christian in 10th grade (1977). How that happened is the subject of another entry perhaps, but suffice it to say that I was so zealous for Jesus that my dad was convinced I had gotten involved in some sort of cult. Which means that the foolishness of youth coupled with a passion for my newfound faith paved the way for some mistakes on my part! I am glad the Grace of God covers a lot of foolishness too! Anyway, that bought me a ticket to counseling. Just so happened the guy was a Jew and had no friendliness towards Christianity, or faith of any kind. So when he asked me how things were at home, I made them sound pretty bad. After all, all things are pretty terrible when you are 16, right? When Ralph told me it was okay if I left home until things got better my dad took issue with that. I didn’t have to go to counseling anymore.
So, in the summer of 1978 I had a job working in downtown Minneapolis. I lived 45 minutes away on a farm in Maple Plain with my dad and step mom. I remember the Monday or Tuesday when one of my tires developed this “flump” sound (new SAT word!) as I drove. I stopped to see what it was and was surprised to see this bulge coming out of my tire. I remember thinking to myself, “What the heck?! I never seen that kind of thing before! This cannot be good!” I knew the tire would not last long (they were all getting pretty old!) but I could not get new tires until I was paid on Friday. All I could do was pray, “Lord, please hold these tires together until I can get new ones! You are the only One who can do it!” That was all I could do.
My dad was concerned about my driving the car in that condition. He was especially angry that I could have gotten tires right away but had given some money to church that Sunday (tithe). When I told him that God would hold it together until I got paid again, I could almost hear his angry thoughts – “Well, God sure didn’t protect my sister from that train!” He thought I was so irresponisble. There was nothing I could tell my dad. I had no easy answers. All I knew was that God was good, and that somehow I didn’t think that the accident was God’s fault, but that He allowed it for some reason.
Pretty soon my dad saw some tires for sale complete with rims from somebody selling them in the paper. I remember they were just $100. I thought that was a pretty good deal with rims. Only problem was I had to wait until Friday to ge them. It was rather unnerving driving all those miles with that bulge hitting the pavement every time the wheel did one rotation. It was like hitting a balloon on the pavement hoping it would not break. Looking back, I calculated that if I drove 50 miles round trip each day to work and back, that tire (assuming a 24″ diameter) with the bulge hit the pavement over 21,000 times each day – on hot summer pavement. Over a 3 day period that is over 60,000 times the grace of God covered me! Romans 5:20 tells us that “…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” Thank you for your goodness Lord!
Friday afternoon I picked them up and took them home and my dad helped me change the tires. I will never forget the look on his face when he took the tire with the bulge off the car and laid it down. As he laid it down, the tire immediately started hissing like somebody was letting the air out of it. It went all the way flat. He had this look on his face of “You have GOT to be kidding…that is incredible!” I had this urge to say, “I told you so!” but didn’t want to get hit! God had held them together like I asked Him to. It was also a testimony to my dad of God’s goodness. Not that God was trying to be let off the hook – God does not need letting off of any hooks. In fact, he purposefully stayed hooked on the cross for all of us – dying in our place so that we might live.
I remember that story today because I read this passage this morning:
Psalm 20:7-8 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.”
Not that chariots or horses are bad, but they can mask the person really behind the victory – God. It is not good tires that get me to work – it is God, though God may choose to use the tires. It is not my hand that makes my money, though God may choose to use the skill in my hands or the knowledge in my head, I acknowledge that all good things come from God. And for that reason, I praise and worship a God who is good. And He IS good – all the time.