“Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:8, Living Bible).
One of my earliest learning experiences in faith came in the strangest of ways. The year was 1973.
At that time Belinda and I were struggling in Denver to launch a coffee house street ministry called The True Vine. It was a spin off of a thriving ministry we had been involved with in Texas. The leaders had sent us to Colorado on a mission. “Do there what God is doing here.”
Therein lay the problem. We were trying to God’s work – without God’s blessing. You see, the leaders had got it in their heads that since the ministry was being blessed in Texas, surely God wanted to have “copies” of it everywhere across the country. They had even changed the name of the ministry. The True Vine was now called — are you ready for this? — True Vine Ministries for Christ International, Incorporated.
We were the first to be sent out on this ambitious cause, and the future of the entire ministry rode heavy on our shoulders. If we could successfully replicate what God had done in Texas — then it would surely spread all across America….and the World!
But, as I said, God was not backing our efforts and so, after a year of banging our heads against the wall with no success, we decided to pull out and reboot the system.
Packing up what little we possessed and putting it into a small u-haul trailer hooked to the back of our worn out car was relatively easy. However, closing out our meager checking account would be a little more challenging.
Turns out our records and the bank records didn’t match. Due to an unseen charge the bank had assessed to our account – we were ten dollars short. I realize that doesn’t sound like much today, but in those tight times it was huge.
I complained at the bank — it was pointless. I complained along the highway, with only Belinda hearing my frustrated rants. It, too, was pointless. Finally I hushed and simmered internally over the unfairness of it all. Again, pointless.
We were on our way from Denver back to Texas, but were going to pass through Kim, Colorado — a ranching community in the southeast corner of the state. A friend pastored a church there and asked me to preach on our way through.
You can imagine my bewilderment when, after turning off the Interstate and driving on a Colorado state road for over an hour — the pavement suddenly ended. No more road. Nothing in front of us but a gravel swath going through a pasture filled with cows. We couldn’t turn back, because we were almost out of gas and wouldn’t be able to make it back to where we had last seen a gas station miles behind us.
So onward we went. On and on and on for miles with the gas gauge dropping by the minute.
What happened on that unpaved stretch of road has stayed with me all these years later. And I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.