Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mystery of Providence - Chapter Five

Family Affairs

In 1986 I was a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. My wife Barbara's father was in poor health in El Paso, Texas. Because we knew that we might need to travel quickly across the state due to his condition we purchased the first new car of our marriage.

On a Saturday morning while driving to participate in the intercessory prayer ministry of our church I was rear ended by a semi-truck, causing significant damage to the car, and putting me in a neck brace in considerable pain. Early the next morning, on Sunday, we received word that Barbara's father had died.

We went to church that morning with heavy hearts, and requested prayer for guidance and that God would direct our paths. A member of the Sunday School class that I taught offered us the use of a vehicle, and several members of the church put money in our hands, somewhere around $200, knowing that we would incur some expenses. We were truly grateful for these expressions of love, but were totally unprepared for what happened next.

One of the ministers on staff approached me, and placed a note in my hand. Contained on that note was the phone number of a travel agent. He told me that an unnamed church member wanted to pay for us to fly to El Paso for the funeral, and that all I had to do was call the travel agent for tickets for Barbara, our two children, and myself. I asked him whether he would like the cash that I had been given to help reimburse the cost of these tickets, but was told that this was not necessary, and that we would probably have need for those funds.

As I look back at that week I am continually in awe at the way that God worked out that situation for his glory and for our benefit. It was painful enough to endure a short plane flight due to the pain in my neck, and I don't think that I would have well endured a 12 hour road trip. The funds that we were given helped to make up the shortfall to our budget that we would have experienced until I was able to return to work and receive some insurance funds. We were able to attend the funeral and grieve with family members. To this day I do not know who paid for our tickets, but I am thankful, both to them and to God, for their generosity.

You know the promises God has made to His people: ‘The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing’ (Ps. 34. 10). And have you not also seen the constant performance of it? Cannot you give the same answer, if the same question were propounded to you, which the disciples did: ‘When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? and they said, Nothing’ (Luke 22. 35)? Can you not with Jacob call him ‘the God which fed me all my life long’? (Gen. 48. 15). Surely ‘he hath given meat unto them that fear him; he will ever be mindful of his covenant’ (Ps. 111. 5). (pg. 85)

Yes, time after time, we can give the same answer.

1 comment:

joyce said...

Wow. When your father-in-law died, I remember our middle son was only a month or so old, so staying home with him seemed the best plan. Our firstborn told us later that he thought his Granddad had been struck by lightening, as we obviously did not explain "stroke" very well. We visited with your father-in-law's brother on Saturday. 92 years old. In great health, and needing to tell the WW2 stories.