God’s Timing is Always Perfect

About 7 years ago, I bought my musician son an acoustic-electric guitar for his birthday. There was a special sale on this guitar, because it was a “slim” model that had been recently discontinued, so while it originally sold for close to $2000, I was thrilled to have gotten it for $800 and had arranged to make 4 payments so that I would not stress our finances. He was excited to get it, and was able to play it with or without his amplifier. This made it possible for him to take it wherever he went.

I picked him up one day from the “Urbana Gazebo” where he had met some friends after school, played a few songs, and left it aside unattended for a few moments, only to discover that someone had stolen it. I hadn’t even made the first payment on it! He apologized profusely, but that didn’t help me recover this expense, and it made me angry that he was so irresponsible with such an expensive gift. I filed a report with the police department.

Later I went back to the Gazebo area to look around assuming someone may have tossed it under bushes to wait until nightfall or to see if anyone might be walking around with it, but to no avail. I was upset and cried out to God…”Lord…I haven’t even paid for the thing yet! I know that this is a small thing in the scheme of world affairs, but we don’t have the kind of money that we can afford to just lose it like this!” I continued to pray in like manner for the duration of my car ride, and in conclusion promised God “Alright, I’ll search Ebay, I’ll post a stolen guitar notice online, tomorrow, I’ll post a notice at the church in the neighborhood in case a parent recognizes that this might be the guitar their kid happen to bring home, and then I’ll stop at a couple of pawn shops with the posters…but after having done that, I’ll just let it go”.

After posting the message online, I created a poster with a picture of the guitar, and included the serial number and contact phone number. The following morning, I drove to the church in Urbana, to ask if I might be able to post this poster on their bulletin board. There was a lot delay waiting for the people to figure out who had the authority to allow me to post this notice, but I finally got the “OK”. I only knew of 2 pawn shops in Frederick so in order to consolidate my driving, I first went to the one on Route 40 west of the “Golden Mile”.

I walked in to the pawn shop and the man immediately in front of me had an open guitar case on the counter, with guitar in hand, discussing with the shop employee how much he should get for this guitar. I immediately recognized the guitar and cried out “Is that a Takamine? Is that a Takamine?” (pronounced Tak-a-mee-nee) The shop owner looked at me as he saw me waving a paper adding “My son just had his Takamine stolen yesterday…check the serial number!!!”.   Oddly, the one who brought in the guitar looked straight ahead, as if he didn’t hear a word I said, or was in another dimension altogether. Another employee, or perhaps owner, waved me down to the other end of the counter and whispered “That is your son’s guitar, let us take the guys information, you don’t want to scare him out of the store taking your son’s guitar with him”.

A few days later I picked up the guitar at the Police station. I believe the Lord was not so concerned with the return of the guitar, as He was in showing me His Divine Providence in action. If it weren’t for the delay at that church, the timing would have been different. What were the odds of coming into the store, just moments after the thief to identify my property he was trying to sell? I’ve learned to trust the Lord’s timing, He is in control!

Deborah Claypool

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Looking Back God’s Way

She’s cute.

Sometimes that is the only nice thing we can say about the new member of our family. She came to us with a sketchy background and possesses very little in the way of common courtesy. She is wreaking havoc at my house- running around furniture at break-neck speed, leaving toys scattered everywhere and impressing her teeth on all naked ankles and toes. They think she is part St. Bernard and part German Shepherd. I think she is ALL nuts.

But she’s cute. And she has already taught me a lesson I wish I had learned long ago.  God really does use the foolish things to shame those who think they are wise. (1 Cor. 1:27)

This pup of ours has a dangerous habit. Both inside the house and outside on walks she looks backward as she moves forward. Fascinated by what she may have missed, her head is looking behind and her legs are propelling her ahead. She has tripped up curbs, run into street signs and trees and one time she smacked her head so hard on the wooden post of my bed that even I could see the cartoon birdies circling her head as she was knocked onto her keister.

Looking back while moving ahead can be dangerous. I know it, not just because my dog has taught me but because I too have suffered the injuries of doing it.

I have lingered too long on confessed sin. I have replayed over and over painful conversations. I have revisited, for giant blocks of time, past hurts. And none of it has been God’s will for the way I should spend my time.

Looking back is necessary. But we have to stop moving “forward” while we do it. If we don’t, we aren’t really moving forward at all. Time may be passing and the lines on our faces may be increasing but we aren’t really moving forward in the way God desires. If we don’t deal with our past “stuff” and just rush ahead, we aren’t growing; we are stuck.

We need to stop and confess sin. Then we can move forward in repentance.  We need to stop and seek healing for old hurts. Then we can face the future from a place of emotional health. We need to stop and ask forgiveness for our part in strained relationships. Then we can let go of the relationships that weren’t God ordained in the first place and be reconciled in the relationships that were.

When we deal with our past in healthy ways, we are then ready to truly move into the future God has for us.
Let’s look back in the way God intended-seeing the way He has been faithful through the journey, counting His amazing blessings and recognizing the ways He has grown us to look more like Christ.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.~ Isaiah 43:18-19

 Cyndi Word

His Planned Trip

As a person who works in the school system and now has summers off, I am able to see the last day of school coming, long before it’s actually here. I am up every morning at 5:00, so just cancelling the alarm for the first morning of summer break is quite a joyous occasion for me.

This year when the bell rang and all the children were on the bus, I headed out for a 3 hour drive to my mom’s. The plan was to stay the night and then bring her back to my house to stay the week. The first hour of my trip was great. There was not a lot of traffic and it was a beautiful, but very hot, sunny day.

A little while down the road, my trip took a different turn. I “happened” to look at my temperature gauge and it was definitely climbing. I confess I panicked. I was miles from home and miles from my mom in an area where I knew no one. I pulled over and my friend talked me through waiting for a bit to see if it was just a blip in my trip. As I waited, she continued to talk to me in a calm voice, even though that wasn’t exactly the tone I was using. The temp did go down some and I continued on my trip.

Not long after, the gauge again returned to HOT and the warning light came on. I knew if I took the route to my mom’s, there would be nothing but fields of corn, so I decided to stay on the same road. I knew there was a town coming, a town where my niece lived. I continued on, praying for green lights and a safe place to pull over. Finally I got there and was able to get off the highway and park on a side street in a neighborhood. My friend, who talked me through all of this, called AAA, and I called and broke the news to my mom. I asked her to call my niece and see if she could bring me some water, because the heat index was near 100 degrees and I was melting! I also told her that instead of me coming to get her, she was going to have to come and get me.

My niece came with her 3 little children and brought me some water in a super hero “sippee” cup! She recommended I have the car towed to her trustworthy mechanic, and she took me to her home. I had never been there. I was given a tour of her house and was able to see all the special touches she has put into it. I loved looking at all the pictures of her children. We talked about her great grandmother and some of the treasures I have in my home that were hers. It was a blessed time I would have missed had it not been for the overheating.

My broken hose, praise God that was all it was, was repaired the next day, and my mom and I were able to continue with the plan for her visit. Was this the way I had envisioned my trip on my last day of school? Not really, but I would not have changed the precious family time I had with my niece and her children. I could see she loves her husband and children dearly. I discovered she is also sentimental about family history and the “treasures” of long ago, as am I.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

Donna Bowles