Don’t Be Anxious
The drive from Longmont, Colorado to Fabens, Texas usually takes about 11 hours. But for us, it was more than 20!
The day after our great encouragement and anonymous provision we drove to our new home in Fabens, Texas. We had three vehicles in our caravan; a Subaru, a moving van with all of our worldly possessions, and a mini-van with all of our kids inside and two bicycles on top.
We were already destined to have a longer trip because of the needs of little children. But about five hours into the trip something happened to stop us for a while. Traveling in front of the mini-van was a small pickup truck with a plastic bed liner. The truck was empty and the liner was not secured. Suddenly the liner lifted out of the truck and careened through the air to collide with the bicycles on top of the mini-van. The bikes and bike rack were ripped off the top of the van and over the back, smashing out its large rear window. Millions of tiny cubes of glass exploded into the passenger compartment, causing much excitement. Our oldest, 10-year-old Daniel, whose head was full of the books we had been reading, and whose heart was full of the meaning of our adventure, exclaimed enthusiastically, “Dad! This is just like the missionary stories!”
We drove slowly to the next town, where we purchased plastic and tape to cover the gaping hole. After much delay we were back on the road. Thankfully we had no more excitement on the rest of the trip. We arrived at our new home just as the rising sun was peeking over the horizon. We had arrived! Life on the mission field, trusting only in God for our provision, had begun.
As romantic as it sounds to only ask God for all your family’s needs, there is nothing romantic about the harsh realities of daily meals and bills that come due. And yet we knew the promise of Matthew 6:25-34, that we were not to be anxious because the Father would provide for our needs. Our job was to “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” and to trust.
This is the beautiful thing about having no other option than to wait on God to provide. It is very easy to read inspiring stories and to have motivating prayer times which result in abstract good feelings. We come away with a warm glow inside and the sense that everything will be okay. Then, once the glow fades away, the very real realities of life stare us in the face. Where is that next meal coming from? How are we going to pay that bill? It is when the abstract joins with the real that we see that God is real and that He really does care about us.
What does trusting in God’s provision look like? Well, for me it meant spending a lot of time alone in the chapel in prayer. It also meant checking the mailbox every single day, thinking in my heart, “Surely this will be the day that God provides!” But it never was that day…or was it? It was easy to forget that the Father’s provision comes in many forms. We had a place to live on the ministry campus, and we could eat out of the community food bank whenever we needed to. And yet, we still needed money.
The damage to the mini-van, which was far beyond the broken glass, was covered by our car insurance. Praise God we had it since the repair costs were thousands of dollars! But every insurance policy has a deductible. We still had to pay $250 in order to get our van from the repair shop.
The repairs took three weeks. Those three weeks went by quickly and God had not yet provided any money, even though I was wringing my hands in prayer every day. In addition to the van expense, other bills were coming due soon, and we had other needs. I was anxious. I was not simply trusting.
The day came to pick up the mini-van and my anxiety was still there, strong as ever. Our coworkers were able to take me to the mini-van which was 45 minutes away, but they had to leave first thing in the morning. Inwardly I thought, “Bummer! That is before the mail comes. Surely some money will come today. This is the last minute, and surely God will swoop in and rescue us at the last minute!”
All the way to El Paso I wrestled with God in prayer, with all my anxious petitions. I asked Him, “How am I going to pay for this? I can’t borrow from these brothers, since they are as poor as we.”
An inward voice said, “Write a check.”
But I replied, “No Lord, there is no money. The check would be bad and would bounce.”
Again that inexplicable voice, “Write a check.”
And with that also came peace. “Okay Lord,” I said.
But when we arrived the same doubts arose and I again argued with that inner voice. But again, it was confirmed with peace that I should write a check. So I did. I tore the check out of the book and handed it to the office lady. The very instant my fingers released the paper, my cell phone rang in my pocket.
“Hi Thaine, this is Tony. I am standing in your bank in Longmont (Colorado) and I have a check to deposit. What is your account number?”
“TONY! Do you understand what this means? This is God’s miraculous provision!” I was literally jumping up and down with excitement for the ultimate last minute provision, done in such a way as to prove to me that yes, I can trust my Father! God had provided in a way that was way faster than if I had received a check in the mail. The check I wrote was good because the money was there behind it. And, to make it even more awesome, the amount was enough to cover the mini-van and take care of our needs for the month.
Tony did not have the benefit of all my wrestling to prepare for the moment. He simply said, “Yeah, that’s great. What’s your account number?”
This was the beginning of two and half years of living by faith, with many more examples of perfect timing. As I look back on that time, it is amazing to note that we never went hungry, never lacked clothing or shelter, and we never missed a bill payment. And yet we also never asked another human being for support. Praise God who is our loving Father!