Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6
Have you ever laid in bed, so thankful in prayer to God for life's trials that you had a full heart about to burst and tears streaming down your cheeks?
If not, you sure are missing something.
This weekend, my husband had preaching appointments in Kentucky and Tennessee. I feel like it is the start of the "Good Bye Tour" for our family. We are moving to Oregon, and although we plan to be back to this side of the country to visit family and friends, we will be a long, long way from our home, in a far away land not too familiar to us, for a time frame known only to God. So it is nice, in the midst of packing, cleaning, and selling things on Craigslist, to take a break now and then to fellowship with family and brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We decided to test out the little RV that we purchased to help us travel West and work out any kinks we had on the road. So we piled in on a busy holiday weekend and headed south. We had plans to visit Mammoth Cave and the Creation Museum, and to visit a few of the many we hold dear.
All was well until about 41 miles north of Cincinnati on 71, when we blew a tire. Jason guided the RV to the shoulder of the busy highway, and we quickly loaded the children off, down a knee-high grassy hill, over a ditch, and up the next hill. For the next 3 1/2 hours the kids and I huddled together on a sleeping bag, including our 2 year old, and read library books and talked---no iPod, iPad, or TV around. We talked about why this had to happen, and how God had a plan in all of it, even if we never knew what it was. We prayed for Daddy, and that the Lord would protect. I am always amazed at the resiliency and maturity of our children when things like this happen.
Jason tried to help me, but the very instant, and I am not kidding in the least bit, that he entered the grass his body responded with hives all over his arms and legs. So he was stuck by the RV, and I was relegated to mothering on the grassy knoll.
For 2 1/2 hours car after car sped by our little group marooned on the highway. Jason held a sign up that said, "NEED JACK", and later I tried too. (I didn't really care at this point if "Jack" was a mechanical instrument or the name of a mechanic.) And NO ONE STOPPED.
Finally, about hour three, a nice gentleman stopped and attempted to help. He didn't have the right type of tool, and he tried his road side assistance program, even offering to upgrade his membership by $30 to help us. But the operator stated he would need to upgrade $60, and he was out.
The sheriff that was paid to help stopped, and he tried too, and by that time our road sided assistance company showed up. The tire was changed to the spare, and at the end of it all we spent from 5:30 p.m. until 8:52 p.m. on the side of 71.
After spending the night in the parking lot of a sister church, we woke up greeted by the pastor, his wife and another preacher. We shared the story of our breakdown, and after visiting for a few minutes we were off again on our journey.
Not 30 minutes later, guess what? Another blown tire! But this time we had no spare.
So we called roadside assistance AGAIN. It was just as user friendly as the day before. Roadside assistance programs should unplug all of their GPS equipment and employ bloodhounds. We would have been found quicker, even if they were released from the company's Miami headquarters and we were in Kentucky. They never did show up.
But this time we made a different call too; one to a brother and sister that are members of the church we had just been at.
They immediately came to our aid, driving two cars to carry us all to their home, where we were fed, showered, and loved. The kids got to play with their friends and made new ones. The search was on for tires that were to be specially ordered on a holiday weekend, and in spite of the brother searching diligently, it was apparent that none would be found in time for us to return to Ohio. So a different brother and sister allowed us to use their much-nicer-than-ours minivan to not only get to our destination, but drive back to Ohio.
Another brother offered to chauffer us back the entire 6 hours to our home, and countless others offered their cars, food, and hospitality.
As I laid in bed Saturday night at yet another brother and sister's home, I was praying and thanking God for His beautiful, merciful, graceful, loving provisions on our little family.
And I thanked Him for blown out tires.
Without blown out tires, I would have missed visiting with brothers and sisters, and little spiritual nephews and nieces, that I love with a Godly love. I would have missed seeing the hand of God work by placing on His children acts of kindness that they extended to us in faith----not in faith that we deserved it, but with faith in the One who supplied their own needs.
And I would have missed out on all the love shown by God to me, demonstrated in the obedience of His children.
You see, there have been times that the Lord has put on my husband and I to help someone----to "cast our bread upon the waters". To help someone in need that we are pretty well certain would not be able to return the favor in the same way. I want to be very, VERY clear that I am NOT advocating a "help to be helped by God" system. What I am advocating is obedience to the Spirit. If the Lord deals with your heart to give to someone, whether it be time, money, or resources, GIVE.
To demonstrate this to the kids I took a piece of their waffle at breakfast----the last piece of waffle-----the one that they could have eaten gladly, instantly, and might have felt that they needed themselves----and tossed it into a bowl of water.
Instantly it began to dissolve, and after three seconds I retrieved the soggy waffle from the bowl. I said to the kids, "Looks like it is wasted, doesn't it? Can you get any use out of it?"
But Solomon said, "you will find it after many days."
To find it at all would be miraculous---but to find it after many days?
That is just GOD. It just is. God loves a cheerful giver. An obedient, faith-in-the-Lord giver. Not a "I'll-give-'cause-God-is-watching-and-I-might-need-Him-one-day" giver; not a "this-makes-me-feel-good-about-me" giver; but a truly faithful, obedient, loving, cheerful giver. One who knowingly throws his last morsel of bread into the water, giving it in faith, KNOWING that when he is hungry he will find it again after many days. You aren't casting it on the waters so that you can retrieve it and use it; you are casting it because it is what God wants you to do. Isn't that a demonstration of sacrificial love?
I detest the idea of karma, and it is such a popular notion in our society. Karma says, "you get out what you put in". So if you are generous, you get generosity. If you are mean, you reap bad things.
But GRACE is so much better than karma. Grace gives me what I DON'T deserve. Grace gives me what I need, abundantly more than I could ever provide or procure for myself, and it does it in HIS time, in HIS way, using HIS methods and HIS children. If I got what I deserved. . . .
I would still be sitting by I-65.
Love your neighbor, brothers and sisters. It is that Godly love that we have for one another that allows this dark, cold, uncaring world to see the Light of a beautiful Savior. One who loves them just every bit as much as He loves you and me. The first tire the Lord showed me how it looks to provide for myself (and He still helped us!). The second tire He showed me what it looks like when He does the providing.
So very, very, very VERY thankful for my Jesus, who constantly amazes me with His wonderful, matchless, abundant grace.
Love to you all,