My definition of faith is, believing that something exists, when all your senses tell you that it doesn’t.
Today I accept that from a very young age, God chose me to love Him and along the very rocky road of my life – He has held me close to His heart.
On these grounds, after many very hard experiences I found it quite normal to be attracted to a missionary lifestyle.
One reason for this was the fact that I always felt very close to God and this gave me a goodly measure of peace and security.
The second reason was that, because of my experience of God’s closeness, I felt that I wanted to share this with others.
Missionary life, whilst giving me this peace and security, was very far from being an easy way of living.
Just one example of this was the fact that I had given up a promising career with many benefits, including a very nice company car, in order to be a missionary. As a result, when I resigned from my job, I ended up without any reasonable form of transport.
I spoke to God about this issue and explained that it was quite difficult to do my missionary work without a decent car, so please would He supply me with one. If He could arrange a similar model as the company car I had used, that would be the ‘cherry on the top’!
By now, as a fledgling missionary, I had learned that mostly, God did not answer my requests verbally and furthermore, my understanding of timing, certainly never matched His. But I waited….and waited and no car arrived.
One day a friend asked me to travel up country with him to attend a business meeting and asked me if I would address the meeting with some words of encouragement.
All costs were paid and so it was not difficult for me to agree to his request.
We flew the one thousand odd kilometer trip to the meeting and stayed overnight in a really comfortable and friendly family home of one of the businessmen.
The meeting went very well and I spoke on the subject of ‘Faith in Hard Times’, as I knew that the audience were all businessmen that were feeling the pinch in the economic downturn. I explained how even I had found my situation, regarding my transportation, very challenging indeed; but having spoken to God on the issue, was content (if not a little impatient) to leave the matter in His hands.
At the end of the meeting a young man approached me and asked many questions about the work we were doing in the mission field.
He explained that he was a salesman in an upmarket auto dealership and asked if I would come down to his showroom the following morning. He said he would fetch me and then take me to the airport after the visit.
I said that I would be happy to join him, but he should be aware that I did not have cash to buy a new car. He assured me that he understood my position.
The following morning, bright and early, he collected me and we drove to the showroom. What a sight, all those beautiful new shining cars. Aaah…..the smell of leather seats, topped off with cups of cappuccino, it was almost too much.
“If you had the cash”, he asked softly over his cappuccino, “which car would you choose”? It took me all of a second to make that decision. “Right”, he said, “I will arrange a test drive.” “Whoa”! I stuttered anxiously, “I told you about my situation, how can I test drive a car that I can’t afford to buy”, I uttered uneasily. He smiled and said firmly, “Follow me”. The test drive was about as good as it gets here on this earth.
Arriving at the airport and catching my arm as I was about to step out of the car, the young man said, “Not so fast – let’s pray about your car”.
He prayed a short simple prayer, asking God to supply the means to buy the car. Then he looked me in the eye, “Now, have faith and believe”!
Two months had gone by, after that exhilarating test drive experience with the young salesman, and I had not heard a word from him.
Then one morning the telephone rang and it was the salesman. Without out even greeting me he said, “God has answered our prayer, your car is ready, come and collect it.” My mind was a whirlwind, “What about the money to pay for it”? “It’s been fully paid, licensed and ready to roll; when will you get here? I’ll meet you at the airport as soon as you arrive”. He said, his words concertinaed in excitement.
“Oh, thank God and thank you”, I faltered in a shocked reply.
Then my mind began to race. I would need money for an airline ticket and travel expenses for the return road trip.
The word began to spread about the miracle of my car and within two days, I had the money for both the airline ticket and travel expenses.
I called the travel agent and asked her to book my ticket. Very apologetically, she responded that the airlines were on strike and there were no seats available for at least a week.
I grouped my fellow missionaries together and said, “Miracle number one was my car, miracle number two was the travel expense money and now, we must pray for miracle number three; a seat on an airplane”!
We sat together and asked God to get me a seat on a plane…..
To be continued next week, Saturday March 18 2017.