Monday, March 07, 2005

Here is a letter I am planning to send to Alabama today.

Dear Friends at Grace Bible Church,

I have a testimony to share with you. God is great!

In early November of 2004 I was thinking about depositing some money in the bank when I remembered I had a sum of money in the bank that needed to be moved into a CD, or a high interest account. I thought it would be really great to be earning interest on it, and who knows what I would need it for down the road! I was trying to figure out how many years I could do without it, when I was struck with a thought. What if the Lord should return before then? The money would be wasted. I felt a sense of urgency, all through out the Fall Tour to the Grand Canyon I had a strange feeling, a feeling that the world had abandoned God, and they were speeding toward their doom, going about their business, unaware of God’s wrath. I remember several times at Walmart I had felt like I wasn’t there, like I was just observing the people there, and becoming more and more aware of the terrible things that would be upon them if they didn’t turn from their ways. All of this had built up to this point, and I knew the money could not go into that CD. Still I asked myself, how are you going to pay for car insurance? Well, I figured I’d have to trust God for the insurance, for the new guitar, and I’d just give up the laptop (since when did God give us things that are not necessities??) and so I resigned myself to the fact that I‘d get used to living this way. Besides, what account would I be able to give to God in the case that he did return? “Lord, your money was stuck in the bank because I was worried about my future“. And because of that, the families of martyred Christians in third world countries died. Children starved to death while mothers watched. People died without a Bible in their hands that would have led them to the Gospel. And all this is because I was worried about where my money would come from later??! I withdrew the money on the 16th of November, nearly ran home, and dumped it in the offering plate that is sent overseas. I felt so good! If you are ever in the dumps because you’re depressed about money, try giving it wholly to God! Instead of feeling a sense of dread because my car insurance money was gone, God had given me a sense of peace. I knew whatever was to come in the future would be taken care of. I still knew that I was going to have to change some things. My attitude had always been, “let’s see how big I can get my bank account to be”, and now I would no longer be able to come home from the bank and say “It’s up to x amount!”. I would have to learn to trust God in a different way. Yet I had seen God move time and time again even within my own family. I still thought about the guitar, and the motorcycle, but I had just about given up on the laptop. Maybe God wanted me to grow without it. I had been slightly resentful when my younger brother bought the laptop he had, because I had not seen the ad in the paper first. Now I knew that I would always submit myself to my brother, asking permission, and I knew that this was what God’s will for my life at this point in time.

On the 24 of November I was at work and I got a call from my sister at home.
“A package just came from Alabama with your name on it right after you left, are you expecting anything?” I thought for a second, and then replied “No, but if it has my name on it it’s definitely mine!”. I was sort of expecting that they might think it was mistakenly labeled instead of on of them.
“It’s a big box! And you have no idea what it might be?” She said.
“Um, well, no. Look, I’ll be home in 3 hours, just keep it there until I get home.” I replied, which point my mom got on the phone. Well it turns out they were just dying to open it, and not wanting to be responsible for their deaths, I gave them permission to open it with the STRICT stipulation of not breathing a word to me of what it was until I had opened it myself. All I could envision was a big ceramic trumpet someone had found in their attic and wanted me to have (don’t ask me where that idea came from!) or a stack of books I had left somewhere on the trip. I was trying to expect the worst, but I figured at least I’d have something to wonder about the next 3 hours at work.

My boss drove me home, and all of my brothers were standing on the porch in the cold, wet weather. They were waving their arms, and yelling for me to hurry. My boss asked if she could come in, so we both walked up, I expecting a big practical joke, and she totally not knowing what to expect! I went inside, and my mom had her camera out, I was thinking, oh my my, they must be playing a really big practical joke. I still assumed it was schoolbooks. They were all screaming and yelling, and it got quiet when I read the note on top of the book. Then I opened it up, and there was a laptop! All the cards were signed anonymously, but the one inside had a passage of scripture in it. The giver said if I wanted to thank him/her, I ought to memorize this verse, which I have! Phillipians 4:4-8. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, for the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in everything through prayer with petition and thanksgiving present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Whatever is pure, whatever is right, whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, think about such things. Finally brothers, whatever you have seen in me, put into practice. And the peace of God be with you.

When I had opened the package and put the laptop on my lap, I realized what had happened! I counted the days back to the withdrawal, and I looked on the packaging of the laptop. The date that I took the money out, and the date the laptop was purchased was the same! I started to cry, as I realized the faithfulness of God. He is truly our loving Father, taking care of our every need. This was not something I “bought” with my savings by , nor did I try to “grow” my money by planting “seeds of money”, but it was something that God used to show me his faithfulness. If you give your all to God, your life, your money, your hopes, your dreams, your career, you will never go without what you need! And God does know your needs. He is the ultimate, the all knowing, the ever present. And I praise God that He has allowed me to see in this way, that He will supply my every need!

I would like to say one more thing about the last portion of the passage I quoted. “Brothers, whatever you have seen in me, put into practice. And the peace of God be with you.” Even as we trust God for our needs, let us allow God to use us to fulfill the needs of others. Let us follow the example of those who bless us in obedience to God and love for Him, and bless others with the abundance God has given to us out of love for God, the greatest of which is the gift of salvation, the Gospel.

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