Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A little more faith and a lot more hope

Last Friday was a hard day—the kind of day that makes you want to curl up in a ball on the couch and have a  good cry.

We were already a little on edge. The tenant who had faithfully rented our property for several years suddenly decided it was time to move on. And with a mortgage payment looming, our financial situation looked desperate. So, it was with some eagerness that we arrived at the property to show it to a new prospective tenant (our regular property manager had taken a weekend trip and wasn't available). But as we showed him around the house, our excitement faded to disappointment. The house had been left very clean and in order, but the walls were shabby and in need of some fresh paint. The deck was peeling and we quickly realized we'd have to have it re-finished this spring. And, to top it all off, the lack of a fenced in yard was a deal-breaker for this man and his large dog.

More than a little deflated, we prepared to head to dinner with some family friends discouraged and frustrated once again. Before we left, Steve decided to load up some empty boxes from our storage shed in preparation for our upcoming move. After filling the back of his pick-up, he jumped in and turned the key. The normally very reliable rumble of the engine failed to engage. He tried again and again with the same result. As the hour grew later, we finally gave up, unloaded the cargo back into the shed and piled into my car. Now our moods were downright foul.

On our way to dinner, I encouraged Steve to call his mother and wish her a happy birthday as it would likely be too late to call after our meal. The cheerful conversation turned dark almost immediately when we were told about Steve's older brother's health. Having been sick for months with a rare cancer, his condition had worsened again.

I felt a little sorry for our hosts when we arrived exhausted, broken-hearted and with a considerable black cloud hanging over our heads. We spent some time discussing plans for our return to Honduras, but our hearts weren't really in it. Our minds were turning our problems over and over in our heads.

Most of Saturday was spent discussing, planning and debating—worrying. What was wrong with the truck? And could we afford to fix it? Should we spend on of our precious few remaining weekends painting? How could we even pay for the paint and supplies with that mortgage payment due in just a few days? Would Steve's brother ever be well? What could we do to help his family? Our grumpy household went about our day with little hope of any resolution or peace.

And that's when God stepped in and reminded us that He is bigger than all our problems. We should have known He would. Afterall, we had prayed and asked Him to do just that for the entire weekend! Still, we were surprised at the unusual turn of events. Sunday evening we met with a couple from our church to share our ministry in Honduras with them. We didn't know this family well, so we spent some time getting to know them a little. Steve casually asked Kyle what he did for a living. Our hearts leapt when he said he was an auto mechanic. Have you ever been in a situation when you just knew that God had pre-arranged everything? This was one of those moments.

Last night, Steve returned to Kyle's home in a tow truck. The two of them spent the evening replacing a faulty fuel pump and Steve was finally able to drive his pick-up home. We spent just $50 compared to the hundreds the repair would have cost at a shop. Maybe this doesn't seem like a great miracle to you. But for us, it was the shot of encouragement we needed. I don't think Kyle has even realized what a blessing he has been during a very dark time!

OK, we still have to paint the house, we don't have a renter, the mortgage payment is still due and Steve's brother is still sick. Oh how quick we are to forget the greatness of our God when we face trials like these! And as we prepare for our ministry, we can expect many more challenges ahead. Afterall, Satan would like nothing better than to discourage and demoralize us. But we're onto him now. And we're facing this week with a little more faith and a lot more hope. Today we remember that the Lord provided a Savior for the world. Supplying a friendly auto mechanic at the right moment is just a walk in the park!

Our next problem to tackle? I just had to put our other car in the shop this afternoon. Well, bring it on. Our God can handle it!

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