During August we’re focusing on having faith in God’s provision, however that comes. Each of the posts published this month will be about the manners in which God has chosen to provide for the authors. Please see the Prayer page to read our strategic prayer request for this month and to see how we, as a branch, are trying to have faith in God’s provision.
By Jim Bliffin
As I thought about the topic assigned this month, faith in God’s provision, I considered it from two different angles. First, I believe that we must trust that God will provide and second we must trust what God does provide. I have chosen the second idea to focus on.
In 2009 we decided to sell our house in Alabama. We were considering a move and frankly the one acre yard was too big for me to continue to maintain so we put the house on the market. Before long we got an offer on the house. It was $12,000 dollars less than our asking price but the buyer pointed out that there was roof damage that needed repair and other associated costs. He also asked that we pay half the closing cost which was a standard procedure in Alabama at the time. We accepted the deal and made plans to move. Shortly after, a huge hail storm hit our town and did major damage to houses and vehicles.
Unfortunately, we had left one of our vehicles at the church the night before. The storm was much stronger there and the hail much larger; baseball sized as opposed to the golf ball sized hail that hit the house. It beat our poor little Suzuki XL 7 to death, but that was alright because the vehicle was fully covered under insurance. The initial adjuster assured us that the car would be totaled but first we had to take it to a body shop to get estimates on the damage. Joni decided that she was tired of the small SUV and wanted a convertible. I found a Chrysler Sebring convertible at a dealership where one of our church members worked. He offered to give us a really good deal and worked out the financing. The next day I was driving the damaged car when a lady hit the car in the rear. So the day before I was to get the car looked at to evaluate the hail damage her insurance company sent me to another body shop to have the damage to the rear end evaluated. The man at the second body shop wrote me a check for $1,500 and told me to take the money and not to look back. He assured me that the car would be totaled and that God had really blessed me with the hail storm.
The next day I was told that the XL 7 would in fact be totaled and that we would receive, over $5,000 for the car. I called my friend at the car dealership and gave him the news. He told me that I could come soon and sign the papers if I wanted to buy the car because he had other prospective buyers. So I came to sign the papers but told him I could not make a down payment until I had received a check for the totaled car. He said that if I wrote him a check he would hold it until I received the check from the insurance company. I wrote him a check for $3,000. At the same time we found a house to rent, since once the sale of our house was complete we had to move. I had to write a check of $1,500 dollars as a deposit. That was okay because I had the money from the wrecked car already. God was truly providing!
However, soon everything fell apart. First we found out a few days before closing that the buyer could not get his loan so the deal was off. We had to cancel the deal on the house rental so we lost the $1,500 deposit. The insurance claim adjuster for the hail damage on the house said that there was no significant damage and the company would not pay for any repairs. I was already feeling pretty down when we stopped at a drive-in to get some breakfast on the way to work and my bank card would not work. I quickly called the bank and found out that we were $2,500 over drawn. The car company had cashed a bad check. That was going to cause a few other small checks we had written to bounce also so I knew that I would owe quite a sum in overdraft fees. I was feeling extremely low. My daughter who lived in the same town with Joni and I sensed my rotten mood and asked if I was alright. I told her no. I had never felt so down in my life as I did at that point.
Then suddenly everything started turning around. I called the bank and they said that they would just bounce the big check and I would only have to pay one overdraft fee. I called the car company and they apologized for the mistake and paid the overdraft fee for me. We called the insurance company and they sent a new claim adjuster to look at the roof who confirmed there was significant damage. We found a roofer who would take what the insurance company would pay to fix the roof so all the damage was repaired without costing me anything. I finally received the check for the car insurance and satisfied the dealership. Then a new buyer for the house offered us our full asking price and promised to pay all the closing cost. We found a better house to rent that was less rent. We took some of the extra money from the car deal and went on a summer vacation to tour Civil War battlefields in a new convertible. God is good!
So when was I being blessed and when was God providing for my needs? If you would have asked me then I would have said it was when He was making everything work out the way I liked them. However, when we were raising funds to come to PNG we were in a bad situation. We hadn’t had time to do a lot of partnership development. We owned a house and had not sold it. Our jobs were ending and we had only a small amount of money to sustain us. I knew from past experience that God was in control and that if He wanted us in PNG He would provide the means no matter what the situation looked like. I also knew that this was the way God seemed to work things out in my life. He lets things look desperate right up to the end and then steps in to make it all work out so I know that it was Him and not me. I never worried or lost any sleep over any of the details. We got an offer on our house on the last day Joni and I were working our jobs. In the next few months we became 100% funded. Had God not blessed me and provided me with difficult situations, I would not know that He could make everything work out according to His good purposes. I learned to trust Him no matter what life appeared to be like. I now believe that nothing can come against me that does not first pass through Him. If it is hard things, it is for the purpose of strengthening my faith for future battles. If it is good things, it is for my enjoyment. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. It is easy to believe that God is when it seems that He is. It is difficult to believe that He is when it seems He is not. But those are the times when God is most honored by our faith. Trust that God will provide and trust what God does provide. All this is a gift that comes down from the Father of heavenly lights in whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
Jim serves in the area of Scripture Impact.