A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "Get in, get in!" The religious man replies, “No I have faith in God, He will grant me a miracle."
Later the water level is up even higher, another boat comes by and the driver tells him to get in. The man on the roof responds that he has faith in God, and God will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again because "God will grant him a miracle."
With the water at chin level, a helicopter flies over; the pilot throws down a ladder and tells him to get in. While mumbling with the water in his mouth, the man again turns down the request for help due to his faith in God. The man finally succumbs to the floodwater and arrives at the gates of heaven. With broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grant me a miracle and I have been let down." St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don't know what you're complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."
Sometimes miracles happen in ways we could never dream up. However, God is not in the business of doing what we think He should do for our lives. God is in the business of doing what He knows is best for us. What is best for us is hard to understand at times, but sometimes what He determines is best, is purely wonderful. Recently, I had a miraculous event occur, which only God could have orchestrated.
With every area of my life shaken and redirected last year, I knew the only way to stay on track was to turn to the Lord for guidance with each new challenge. It was a step-by-step, day-by-day, sometimes moment-by-moment process, which I had had to accept a lot of major changes. To say my finances were tight would be an understatement, and I had to work hard to find creative ways to earn extra money. When my rent went up an additional $100 a month, I knew it was time to move. Some people find moving an adventure; I am not one of “those people”. However, after all of the ways the Lord had shown His faithfulness to me, I knew He would provide. Therefore, it should have been no surprise that He gave me the most beautiful apartment, and that it is brand new! However, this amazing apartment is very small and meant I have to downsize.
Here is where only God could weave a series of events into a miracle. One of the initial steps I needed to take to downsize was to sell nearly all of my furniture. For almost a month, I labored to make sure the largest items sold. In the area that I live, Hendersonville Tennessee, there is a wonderful group on Facebook called Girlfriends Trading Post. The “GTP” is a closed group of almost 5,000 members who sell items from clothing to furniture. It is akin to an online yard sale, but with the good stuff! When I signed onto this group, I made myself a commitment that I would only sell, not shop. These wonderful women not only buy and sell within this community, but also are prayer warriors, and community oriented. It is not uncommon for someone to post that she is helping a single father, a homeless person, or someone who is ill and could we help to provide some necessary items. One day as was updating my items I had listed, I noticed a posting about a restored homeless man who needed a loveseat. Being that I had a loveseat already designated as a giveaway item, I posted immediately that she could have the loveseat for this man. Within hours of responding to her post, the loveseat was on its way to its new owner. It was such a thrill to help someone in need, that I immediately called a friend; and as only a woman can do, I proceeded to tell him the entire story all in one breath. I was giddy with excitement. It all felt so good. However, as excited as I was, I did not expect what would happen next. Within an hour after my loveseat was picked up, I received a text responding to my sales add for my couch, chair and ottoman. These items were what I had the most concern to sell, as I simply had no room for them in my new apartment; and they would provide the funds to get smaller, more fitting furniture.
When I spoke with the woman who was purchasing my couch, chair and ottoman, we agreed to meet after church that Sunday. The more we spoke, the more we realized that we were going to be attending the same church, and the same service. After sharing worship service with my new-found friend, she gave me the purchase price for the couch, chair and ottoman in cash. Being that she was paying in cash, and I had no change, I ended up with ten dollars more than I asked for, which ironically was the amount I was behind in my tithes at church. Since the Lord arranged for the payment to be made at church, and in cash, I did not hesitate to put that straight into the offering. Do not get me wrong, it was difficult, as I would like to have had some padding in my checking account. However, I did not want to think twice because it all belongs to God. When I shared the story about being paid in cash and catching up on my tithes with the same friend I called the day before, he asked me why I did not hold that money back for next month. I said, "It’s God’s money to begin with and I needed to catch up my tithes.” Then I added, “Just watch, God will take good care of me, this is the only area God says we can test him. So keep watching, something will happen." For the record, I was clear in my conversation that does not mean I will win the Lottery; it only means God will take care of me.
A friend of mine has the best swivel loveseat. The size of that loveseat would be perfect for my living room. The moment I sat in her new loveseat, I instantly knew it was what I wanted for my apartment. When I found out she had bought it from a reasonably priced store, I was excited. However, when I visited the furniture store, I found out the chair retailed for $599. Because I still had months to go before I would need the loveseat, I decided to pray for direction and cross that bridge when the move got closer. However, I sold off my furniture piece by piece, and I had to trust God to provide the other pieces that would fit my new apartment.
Remember that pact I made with myself that I would only sell, never buy on the Girlfriend Trading Post; the very same pact I had not broken? A couple of evenings shortly after the sale of my large items, "Something" made me look at items for sale. As I scrolled through the Girlfriend Trading Post page, I sat bolt upright in shock. Listed for sale, as clear as day was the chair I made a special trip to the furniture store to investigate. Let me be clear, it was the very exact same model, not a copy, but the very exact same chair I have wanted for my new apartment. Not only was it in mint condition, it was listed for $220! I posted my interest and then I had to wait, as there was another person who was interested ahead of me. For 18 hours, I stalked the posting. At noon that Monday, I am excited to share that God gave me the chair. Not a cheap version, or something nice and would work, but the very same chair. Every time I think of this story the song, "I stand in awe of You" resonates in my Spirit.
Being a Christ follower is the hardest, most fulfilling aspect of my life. Frankly, He is my life. While I continually fall short of His glory, His grace always amazes me. On my own, without Him in my life, I deserve nothing; and yet with His grace I have abundant provision. It is not because I paid my tithe that God gave me that chair. It is not because I did anything right that he provided me what I wanted. It is because He is God and He said in Luke 11, “11Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” My Father knows how to give good gifts and that has nothing to do with seating arrangements, but position with Him.