In the fall of 1990, life was good for me and Terrie. I had been working for nationally known manufacturing company for seven years. I had just received a VIP recognition award from them, for being the best customer service representative in the region. After sixteen years as a professional artist, Terrie was in her first year of elementary teaching at a Christian school and she loved it.
We had just started going to a new church, which was growing. The preaching was good and the people seemed to love the Lord. We had had a spiritual setback at our previous church and knew that this new church was where the Lord wanted us to be. There wasn’t any shopping around or trying out other places. It was old church one Sunday; new church on the next Sunday. There were certainly some emotional struggles doing it this way. Having served in leadership positions, we loved the people at our previous church and were saddened to leave them, but it was what we were supposed to do.
I have always been motivated and inspired by music. After I became a Christian, my music changed, like my life had changed. Sometime, I will write about how music has influenced and shaped my life. I was a member of a Christian music club, where every month, I would receive a new cassette of praise and worship songs. We had just gotten a new cassette featuring Don Moen. There was one song that really captured my attention. It was called “God Will Make A Way”. The first verse of the song goes like this, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will be my guide. Hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way. He will make a way.” I had read that Mr. Moen wrote the song after his sister’s son died in an automobile accident and left three other siblings badly injured. I would play the song and it would speak to my heart in a spiritual way.
Each year, the teachers at Terrie’s school, would attend a Christian school teacher convention. We were invited and it was going to be in Fort Worth, Texas during Thanksgiving week. The convention was to be in the Fort Worth Convention Center and we would be staying in the Hilton Fort Worth. This was something new for us and we were excited to be able to go. Our plans were to leave Oklahoma City on Sunday, after the morning church service. We would drive to Fort Worth and meet the other teachers, at the Hilton, in the late afternoon.
We left on time and started south on Interstate 35. I was playing “God Will Make A Way” and also, Larnelle Harris “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” as we drove. Our usual travel routine was to stop at Love’s Travel Stop, in Pauls Valley, for a break. Terrie was asleep, as we got close to the Pauls Valley exit, so I decided to keep going and not disturb her. “My Baby” woke up north of Thackerville and said she needed to use the restroom. There was a rest area at Thackerville, just a couple of miles ahead of us. I told her we would stop there, which we did. This rest area is just about five miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas state line. We both took a break. As I came out of the restroom, I noticed an elderly woman looking at an over-sized state map on display there. I went to the car to wait for Terrie. As I waited, I was watching the woman and sensed something was wrong. She had a confused look on her face. Terrie came back to the car and said she was ready to go. I told her about the woman and asked her to ask the woman if there was any problem. I had asked Terrie to do it, because I didn’t want to scare the woman. I have been told I can be scary looking. Terrie got out and approached the lady to talk with her. A lot of people find it easy to talk with Terrie. I think it’s her smile.
The lady told Terrie, she and her husband had been to Norman, OK to visit a friend in the hospital. She had intended to take Hwy 70 East to Madill to go home, but she missed her exit. Terrie called for me to come and tell her how to get back to Madill. I showed her on the map that she would have to cross the Red River bridge and find a turn-around and start north on I-35 until she got back to her exit. She was a sweet older lady, who said she appreciated the help and said she thought she could make it. It was starting to get dark and she said she had a little trouble seeing at night. She said, “I thought we would make it home before dark, but the dark didn’t wait for us.” She got in her car and we went to our car. I told Terrie we would follow her until she made the turn-around. As we were getting back on to I-35, it quickly became obvious; the lady had a lot of trouble seeing at night. She almost ran into a semi. My spiritual sensors were going into overload. I could not let her go without helping her further. The warning in James 2:16 came to my mind, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for their body. What good is that?” She needed eyes that could see at night! What could I do? I was a stranger on my way to a convention. She was in another car trying to cross the Red River. How could I stop her? After she crossed the bridge, I started flashing my high beam lights, like a cop, hoping she would stop. She did. I got out and went to her car. I told her we would like to take them home. She seemed so relieved. She asked her husband if it was ok with him and he agreed. I told her I would drive her car with her husband and she could ride in our car with Terrie. We made the switch and were off.
When I got into her car, I saw she was almost out of gas. She would have run out of gas before getting home. We stopped in Gainesville to get gas and to make sure we all understood what was going to happen. Both cars then started to the North. I couldn’t drive very fast because I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going and I didn’t want to lose Terrie. It turned out, the couple lived in a Baptist retirement center outside of Madill. We got them home safely. They were very grateful and invited us in for coffee. We excused ourselves and said good bye and started back toward Fort Worth. Larnelle was singing, “Let not your heart be troubled, His tender word I hear and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears…” I was so at peace knowing that I did what the Lord wanted me to do. Driving to Fort Worth, I was thinking how God had made a way for that couple. How He used Terrie and me to meet their immediate need and how this older couple must have been resting on His goodness, they lost their doubts and fears. They placed their well-being in our hands. I believe there was an awareness that the same Spirit that was in them was in us, the Holy Spirit. And through us, God was going to take care of them. We were about two and half hours late getting to Fort Worth, but that was fine. We were at the right place at the right time.
The convention ended and we went home Wednesday afternoon. When we got home, I had a message on our answering machine. It was from my team leader at work, who told me they were cutting back and I had lost my job. I had never been laid off prior to this and I certainly had never been let go via an answering machine. I always felt that was something that should be done face to face. I’m kind of strange that way, I guess.
In the kind of work that I do, there were on three main places to work in Oklahoma City. Now only two. I wasn’t sure what to do. I believed that I could start work right away if that was what the Lord wanted for me. When I would drive by my old place of employment I keep thinking of a place that was not a big company but one that did the same type of work. It was as though I knew that was where I was going to go to work. I did not start work right away. I was unemployed for nine month. My song never left me, “God will make a way when there seems to be no way…” During that time, living on unemployment checks, I saw the Lord provide for all our needs. We jettisoned the unimportant things and learned what the important things were. We actually had a larger balance in checking than before I got laid off. I finally got a temporary job, at Tinker, for a construction company who was building the E6a hanger. I was making two-thirds the amount of money that I had been fully employed, but more than unemployment. After the temporary job was over, I was called to go to work for the smaller company that had been on my mind. I worked there for twenty years.
What did I learn from all of this? I saw that God will make a way, when there seems to be no way. I saw that resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears. When Jesus is my fortress, my constant friend is He. I learned to wait on God’s timing and that His timing is perfect. Yes, I learned more about God’s faithfulness during hard times, than I probably have in “good” times and He has been kind to me. You say, but these are just song verses. What does God’s word say? Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young and now am old; yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His children begging for bread.” ESV
Has God ever made a way for you? Are you resting in His goodness? Tell me about it. I welcome your comments.