I (Sheree) think I take after my Grandmother. For Christmas one year, our entire family got together and bought her a state-of-the-art computer, hand built by one of her grandsons, with all the technology she needed to stay in touch with her entire family. We were very excited to give it to her. When she received it she said “Thank you” and we moved on with the festivities, happy that we had done a great thing for her.
After she passed away we were reading through her daily journals (which she had asked us to do). On December 25th of that particular year she had written only 2 sentences…
“They gave me a computer. I didn’t want it.”
We all laughed until we cried at that entry. My poor grandmother! That computer could help her stay in touch with all of us but to her it was scary! She would have to learn new technology. She wasn’t sure she could ever figure it all out. She felt overwhelmed and didn’t want to venture into the unknown. The unknown is scary. And often lonely. So she would rather have forgone the computer and stayed with the status quo, which was to only be able to talk on the phone with her grandkids instead of actually seeing them and her great-grandbabies on a video call. Oh what she would miss!
But here I sit, remembering that story and thinking about how much I am like my grandmother when it comes to accepting the blessings of God. Allow me to tell you a story – a story of God’s goodness and my foolishness.
We were given a travel trailer 6 years ago. It slept our whole family comfortably and worked well for ministry travel. However, over the past few years it had become “no longer roadworthy” and needed to be permanently parked. But there we were, on the cusp of being full-time with GraceWorks Global, knowing it would require many weeks “on the road” visiting churches and supporters. What were we to do?
Well, let me tell you what I wanted. I wanted to pack our little mini-van and stay in hotels. To be honest, I’m not a fan of pulling large trailers or driving large vehicles – and when I say “not a fan”, I actually mean “terrified”. There have been some accidents in my past that have led to some overwhelming fears and, to date, I have not been successful in overcoming them. So Sheree’s idea of a great ministry trip is to pack our Toyota Sienna with 6 people, luggage for 6 people, food for 6 people, and all the sound equipment, musical instruments, and ministry necessities needed for us to present GraceWorks Global at various churches around the country. Yes. That really is as ridiculous as it sounds. I’m pretty sure our vehicle would look astoundingly similar to the Grinch’s sleigh after he had stolen The Who’s Christmas – piled 10 feet high.
Fear is a funny thing. While my husband was telling me this wouldn’t work, I was insisting it could. But, being the reasonable person I am, I decided I would pray about it. And I did. I figured a motorhome would be best for the long travel days we would have, so for a solid year I prayed that God would provide us a motorhome we could afford, but I didn’t pray very hard because I didn’t actually want it. Besides, motorhomes are very expensive and I have an aversion to debt, so I felt pretty safe in the fact that we wouldn’t find one in our price range. I knew God COULD do it, but I figured He was on my side and wouldn’t. (I know. I’m so mature.)
So the year went on and on and no one gave us a motorhome. All the motorhomes we looked at were very expensive and would require a loan. Plus, we found a homeless couple who needed a home. Our travel trailer was perfect for their needs. So we were now completely RV-less! Hotels here we come, I thought! But my (wise) husband was still looking. Surprisingly, he didn’t think the whole “Grinch Sleigh” thing was the best ministry travel plan. Enter God. (Okay – God was there all along but sometimes it’s easier to see Him than others.)
In a conversation my husband had with his dad, we were informed that a friend of his had a motorhome for sale. As it turns out, this friend has a heart for missions, and foster care, and adoption. Ugh. How much could we possibly have in common??? But hearts don’t pay for motorhomes, so we asked how much the Motorhome would cost us. The answer? “Well, he owes *this much* on it but is willing to sell it to you for your ministry for less than he owes. Yeah. The same amount I had decided in my talks with God was the most we could possibly afford.
Me: But… we still need a car hauler and those can be a couple thousand dollars!
Hubby: Oh! I forgot to tell you. The owner is throwing in a car hauler.
Me: But tires on these things always blow up! And they are expensive too!
Hubby: Oh yeah – he just put new tires on it.
Me: Surrendering. So, God literally just took our old travel trailer to take care of people who were living in the freezing Payson winter. AND He threw in the motorhome I had prayed about, for the price I asked Him to give us, with all the accessories we would need. And I’m whining.
I’m indescribably thankful for a forgiving God and a patient husband.
So here I am… traveling across I-40, typing this at the table of our “new” motorhome. I just fixed my family lunch at this same table, while we drove. (Just meats, cheese, and crackers. Don’t email me with cooking safety warnings. :.) We are all traveling in more comfort than we have ever experienced on a long trip. 2 kids are on the couch, cuddled up in blankets (and seatbelts), reading and eating lunch. My oldest daughter just finished some beadwork across the table from me. My oldest son is riding shotgun and chatting with my husband who is behind the wheel.
All of this because God answered my prayer by giving me something I didn’t want.
So if today you are afraid of the unknown, or overwhelmed by circumstances, or thinking God isn’t listening or answering, be encouraged. For one thing, you couldn’t possibly be as pathetic as I am, so you’re already one step ahead. And for another thing, God IS working. But He is not just working on your circumstances; He is working on YOU – to conform you to the image of His Son.
And maybe He’ll even use a motorhome to do it.