Up in Smoke

I'd followed God's lead, and this was the result?

God moves in a mysterious way" doesn't appear in the Bible—British poet William Cowper wrote those words in 1774—but mysterious well describes an experience that took me years to understand.

When our children were younger, we employed a hard-working woman to clean our house each week. An enthusiastic Christian, she lived from paycheck to paycheck, always struggling financially, yet never losing her joy in the Lord.

One spring Tuesday, instead of driving up in her rusty Toyota, she climbed out of a friend's car, then dragged her cleaning supplies through the kitchen door, trying hard not to look dejected. "My old car finally quit for good," she explained. "I found another one just like it at a used car lot, but I don't have $12 to spare, let alone $1,200."

I commiserated with her and promised I'd pray for God's provision.

But my conscience wouldn't let the subject rest. She needs a car, Liz. God has blessed you … can't you bless her? Verses from past sermons prodded me: "The righteous give without sparing" (Proverbs 21:26) and "be generous and willing to share" (1 Timothy 6:18).

The Lord made it abundantly clear what was expected of me. But what about my frugal (ok, tight) husband, Bill? Would he get the same message?

Bill not only said yes, he also escorted her to the dealership and dutifully kicked the tires. Such a good man.

The following Tuesday she drove up to our house, tooting her horn and grinning from ear to ear. "Even if it takes me years to pay you back, it's worth it," she insisted. "How can I ever thank you?"

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