Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ever Increasing Wonder

Like a fat black “REJECTION” stamp right on my forehead, the letter read:

Adverse Action Notice
Action Taken: Requested Credit Denied

Car shopping isn’t quite as fun as I hoped it might be. I almost had a sexy, stormy grey set of wheels. The nicely quoted price and mediocre financing crumbled upon my head just after I asked to see it all in writing, instead of signing on their dotted line. The day was one fiasco after another in paperwork – an uphill climb that culminated with a cliff instead of greener pastures. I had been bamboozled.

But God had helped me prepare for the day. Not setting my heart on the car, I walked through the dealer’s doors content to wait upon Him - though the purchase seemed like a sure plan. More than helping me to be prepared, each fiasco that arose in the paperwork slowed the process down and gave me courage to speak up amid the frenzy of six people all working my sale.

God has a way of protecting us from what we do not see. In the whirlwind, I gained breath enough to refuse my signature and say, “Wait. Not yet. I want to see this all in writing.”

I walked out the door without a car.

Back at square one, I did more research and planned for another full day of car shopping around the metroplex. Before I took off for the city, I gave into the thought that had been on my mind since I first visited a particular dealership. A salesman there needed to see God at work, and I had a strong feeling that I should return.

I wanted to roll my eyes. “I have been to the lot, Lord. They don’t have what I’m looking for.” But I called the man and asked to look around one more time, fully planning on driving on my way into the city to get the real shopping under way.

Long story short – I bought a car before I even left town.

But in the process God did some amazing work before the salesman’s eyes. I had told him of my experience at the last dealer – how I had prayed and how it had all gone wrong. He later recounted that “something” told me not to go through with it.

I thought, “That ‘something’ is about to begin to show you that it is a Someone who is very real.”

Prospects on my loan were not favorable because of no credit history, and he was honest with what they were expecting to hear back from banks. I suggested we take a break for lunch while waiting on one banker to return a call with my sealed fate.

I began petitioning the Lord for favor from this banker and for its witness to this salesman about the Living God. I smiled so big when he called me back into the office to say, “I’ve NEVER seen this happen before.” My situation and the low interest rate completely broke all the normal trends. (I've not yet found anyone who hasn't been surprised when I tell them.)

When it began unfolding and I saw his response I thought, “Mr. Salesman, let me introduce you to that “something,” who really is a Someone called God.” I didn’t share the gospel, but seeds were planted. What an exciting day!

That big fat rejection letter I mentioned above. . . I got it after I bought my new car. Rejected credit was another thing the other dealership hadn’t told me about. But reading the letter made me smile. That closed door was perfect and good. God had a plan in store so much bigger than my own transportation needs. My heart is ever increasing in wonder of my amazing God.

He cares.
He loves.
He lives.

He is revealing Himself.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

deep southern roll

I got a ticket! An elder from our church was sick, so I took his spot.

Denver Moore, whose early life was spent on plantations picking cotton, didn't speak much. He gave a poignant and quick word with wisdom that God allowed the homeless streets to teach him, then closed in song. The kind of song that spills off your toungue with the rhythm and sound of a slow but hopeful train - full of soul, a deep southern roll with moments of shrill reality.

Monday, November 03, 2008

same kind of different as me.

Ron Hall and Denver Moore will be at our annual community prayer breakfast on Thursday as the keynote speakers. I am so sad that I waited to get a ticket! Seating is at capacity.

The hope of attending motivated me to read the book this Saturday. The book engaged me so well. I was sweating in the heat, pulling cotton in Louisiana and watching people file through the food line at the Fort Worth homeless shelter. My heart broke, too, at the recognition of suffering and loss.

The book helped me to prayerfully remember and to focus on what God called me to do on this campus in His name. I remember the moment of walking through it with selfish pride in my heart and hearing God whisper, "Feed my sheep." Though it was far from the purpose of the book, I grew in conviction of my place to feed Christ's sheep in the campus where I live.