I ended my last post with “It all made sense.” I’ve noticed that, at least in my life, that’s the point where it starts getting interesting. Life tends not to make sense… So, if I think it does make sense, I’m probably about to get thrown for a loop.
So, my plan was in place. It was all going to work out beautifully and everyone would have what they needed. Little did I know, God was going to send me off to TX to finish Seminary and I was going to continue working at Starbucks (because God said to) and I would depend on Him to provide everything in His way, not mine… even a place to live (another awesome story!) … and what about the car? I didn’t worry about it too much. I was being obedient and I know very well that God takes care of His children.
At various points along the journey I’d look at my financial situation and God and I would have serious chats. “God! How will I ever buy a car at this rate? My brother is taking his away and I don’t know what I’m going to do!” I would strategize. I would look for different jobs with no avail. I’d come up with plans and God would say, “Just do what I told you to do! I’ve got this!” So I did… I prayed often and only worried occasionally.
So the summer approached and Ben was getting out of the Marine Corps. He needed his car back. I had a little money set aside but not a lot. It seemed like every time I had a good chunk saved up, things happened and it disappeared. I was frustrated but doing my best keep trusting God. You’d think it would be easy because my whole life has been one miraculous provision after another…
Actually, in all honesty… Sometimes that made it harder for me to trust. As I said, I have this idea that everything needs to make sense… So in my “make sense” (funny Vietnamese man voice here) mentality, I had hit my limit of miraculous provisions. It was time for me to take care of myself now. It was almost as if I sat God down one day and said, “Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me… But I can’t accept anymore. I’m going to do this one on my own.”
Yeah, that was dumb. I started walking forward and as time went on, I felt really really really overwhelmed. I was figuring that things would work out somehow, but I wasn’t sure. I was very willing to buy a piece of junk car… Ya know what I mean? The kind with a dent on every side, pealing blue paint, dull grey doors, and holes in the upholstery. I kinda thought that maybe I would be able to afford something like that. But those cars are not necessarily able to get me from CA to TX… I was getting a little nervous… Okay, I was kinda freaking out on the inside.
The Lord kept giving me verses like “God will supply all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make His Kingdom your primary concern.” I know this should encourage me, but the words really were just causing feelings of frustration. My heart cried out, “But God… I did. I know I’m far from perfect at it, but my life is about Your Kingdom and that’s why I’m here carless and not knowing how I’m getting back to TX… because I’ve followed you. I believed you would provide all that I need, but I need a car and I’m not seeing one!” I heard, “DAY TO DAY!” It repeated over and over in my mind and heart. “Oh…” (said in a humbled voice.)
I sat in the grass at a park and I talked to Jesus. “You’re right. Day to day, you ALWAYS provide all that I need. I don’t see a car today but I guess I don’t need it today. You have an appointed time and I will trust you. It still doesn’t make sense to me but maybe you’re going to provide in a way other than the way I expected.” (He usually does!)
I spent a good while praying. I prayed some very specific prayers and God told me some very specific instructions on how to be obedient to Him. I recalled those two years that my family didn’t have a car and I remembered that it was okay. I resolved to trust God and His purposes no matter what He did or did not give me.
That night I got a phone call about a car. I wasn’t the only one praying and being obedient. Some friends had prayerfully decided they had been blessed to be a blessing and they were going to give me a ridiculously good deal on a car because God told them to and I could pay them whenever I had the money… And my heart lept and I felt so very humbled. God whispered to my heart, “Let this be a lesson. You will never provide for yourself. It is always, always, always from Me… And you must always give me glory for whatever I give you.”