Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If God Should Open the Windows of Heaven

(Setting: The great Samarian famine, with Syria's army starving everyone inside the city.)
" ...Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?"
II Kings 7: 1-2

A few days ago I found myself sitting at my desk with a huge bill staring me in the face.
To some people it may have seemed small, but to me it was HUGE - in the tens of thousands of dollars.

It wasn't exactly all mine personally to pay, as it was the legal expenses for the cause I had been working on and directing, yet it was sort of my responsibility to find the resources to pay it, by default... because no one else was doing so.

A sickening feeling gripped me for several days as I thought of the possibilities of NOT having the money to pay the bill. I kept reminding myself, "God knows. He can pay it. It's not a big deal to Him if he wants it paid. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills." But the knot in my stomach wouldn't go away, as the visible and tangible seemed so much more real than faith that somehow, out of somewhere, thousands and thousands of dollars would appear.

I asked friends to pray about it. Most of them smiled and remarked, "That's a lot of money. Okay, I'll pray about it." But they all seemed to have forgotten within five minutes. My family was sympathetic, but again, it wasn't their burden.

It was mine. I was responsible, and in moments like these, responsibility can be a harsh master. I could think of nothing else some days (and nights). How, how, how would we come up with the money? I expected supporters to send money, but they didn't send hardly anything. I tried to have faith that money would appear, but it didn't. I told myself again and again that God is always on time, but seldom early. As the deadline was a couple of days away, I couldn't pretend it was going to be "okay", because owing a huge bill like this certainly couldn't be ignored.

I continued to pray for God's will to be done. I asked him to show Himself strong and glorify His name through providing what was needed. But at the same time, I was surrendered. Maybe He had a lesson to teach me through NOT sending the money. I had no idea what I would do if that was the case, but worrying about it wasn't helping.

The bill was due Monday morning of this week. Sunday I had much of the day to think and pray as I was driving home from a weekend event. (I had suggested to the Lord that He could provide the money there over the weekend, but I wasn't handed even an unexpected two dollars....)

As I drove, I alternated radio sermons with silence. One preacher talked about the great resources of God and how God will never budget Himself out of providing for anything that He wants done. I grabbed onto that thought. I could, I must believe that. If God wanted this done, He would pay for it. And he wouldn't cut Himself short or not come up with quite enough money.

Sunday night I was supposed to hear back from one potential donor if they had decided to donate part of the needed sum. Their answer was that they hadn't made up their mind about giving any money.

Monday morning dawned. God??

I suddenly felt strangely confident that this was God's job, not mine. It was beyond my greatest abilities to make anything happen. It was beyond me devising some great new strategy for raising the needed money. It was beyond me convincing someone to give. It was something that only God could accomplish. I knew I had been faithful in working on what I could do. All I could do was step back and wait for Him to work.

An hour passed. No word from anyone. Another hour.

I met a good friend for breakfast who asked how things were going. I told her about the bill, knowing she had no money and couldn't do anything about it. Her eyes bulged out. "You need HOW MUCH MONEY?!? I thought I had a big problem, thinking about coming up with $14,000 for nursing school by next year! And you have $75,000 to come up with really soon?! And you need $25,000 of it by noon today?!"
I nodded and smiled. She seemed to think I was crazy to be so calm about it. The need was so ridiculously huge that a smile did seem out of place.

About two hours later, I received a text message - "We have just received all of the $25,000 for today's bill, with about an extra $4000 that was just donated towards the upcoming bill."

I smiled. God HAD opened the windows of heaven. I knew He could. He had just proved Himself once again, and yes, He's always on time, but seldom early.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


Laurel said...

Praise Him!

I don't like that you wind up with this on your shoulders, my friend. I guess God is showing that He's really the One carrying the load. But it's hard to keep that perspective sometimes, isn't it?

Jessi said...

Wow! That is so incredible, Mary!! Thanks for doing this blog. It is so encouraging and uplifting. I check it nearly every single day to see if you've posted. :) Thanks for the encouragement!!

Jessica :)

mikestahlman said...

Awesome! I've seen cases like this before, but never with such a large figure and such a short time. Talk about testing the faith!