After a week of vacation, I find myself sitting at the keyboard looking over the 2nd chapter. Sometimes it’s great to just check out for a while. Much like our golfer, who finds himself wandering away from who he is, our lives require us to do the same. For me, the last week was a time to enjoy the warm weather and do very little. Yet there was an element of discovery in it as well.
I preach, teach and proclaim a lot of things in my everyday life as I lead a ministry; God’s faithfulness, God’s orchestration of divine appointments, God’s desire to use us as instruments in the lives of others are just a few of the topics that I regularly speak about. But there are times when those topics just seem like words. Have you ever felt that way? You believe what you are saying and you have seen it in action but…
Many would say that is where faith comes in. After all faith is believing something in spite of the fact that the circumstances look otherwise. I used to believe faith operated that way but I have come to discover that it is far deeper and profoundly simpler than that. Just as our golfer found himself renewed at the range of Utopia, we can find ourselves renewed in the simplicity of faith.
As we travelled south for spring break, Cindi and I, along with three of our daughters, found ourselves in the middle of a traffic jam in Orlando. We were still 4 hours from our destination when the right rear brake of our car began to make a lot of noise; the metal to metal kind. Fortunately it was a rear brake and I was confident we would make it to our destination. I also knew that it would have to be repaired before we made the fifteen hour journey home. All I could think of was how expensive the repair was going to be during peak tourist time. That is if I could find someone who could get the job done while we were there.
As the girls left for the pool on the first day of our vacation, I stayed behind to try to find a repair shop. After a dozen calls I had a pretty good idea of what the price range of the repair was going to be ($500-$1000) and there were at least 6 shops that seemed pretty eager for my business. One even offered to come get the car from me right then. But as I looked at some of the reviews on-line I was amazed at how negative many of them were. How could I find a reputable repair shop in a vacation area that I was totally unfamiliar with?
The answer of course is to pray. You know, stop what you are doing, drop to your knees, fold your hands, close your eyes and plead with God to make one of the shops miraculously pop up on my computer screen. Well I didn’t do that. In fact I don’t really ever “pray” like that anymore. What I did was deeper yet simpler than that. I simply sat back in my chair and asked my Father if he had any suggestions. No kidding, a few seconds later I remembered that the friend we were going to see on Sunday had mentioned that he had recently had to have brake work done on both of his cars. Dave would surely know a reputable shop and he might even know a Christian mechanic. A simple text was all it took to find a name and number. But what about the cost; how was I going to pay for this without it messing up our vacation?
It was already after five o’clock on Friday and the shop was closed on Saturday so I decided I should start enjoying the warm weather and make the call first thing Monday morning. Sunday afternoon Cindi and I met with Dave and his wife Diane at the open house for their ministriy’s new location. We spent a couple hours hanging out there and as we were helping them close down I lent a hand to a guy who was folding up the canopy they were using. As we talked I learned that he used the canopy for the ministry he was involved with. He and his wife were retired and were pretty involved with the large Baptist church in the area. The church actually owned the canopy and Ed used it to park cars under while he was repairing them. Ed had an auto service ministry to widows and people of the church. As I told Ed about our brake dilemma, he suggested I come over to the church on Wednesday morning so he could take a look. He though we might be able to just replace the pads if the rotors hadn’t been damaged too badly.
On Tuesday evening, Ed got word to me that he would have to look at the car on Thursday instead of Wednesday so I rearranged my schedule a bit. On Thursday morning we got the rear wheels off and Ed didn’t look too hopeful about the rotors. Fortunately, when he ordered parts the day before, he included rotors, just in case. I learned a long time ago that car repairs seldom go smoothly and this one was no exception. It seems the calipers were frozen as well so Ed sent me home and told me that he would call me later in the day. When I heard from him next it wasn’t good news. The rotors were not repairable and new ones would have to be ordered. None of his regular suppliers, including the dealership, had the parts on hand but they could get them to us in two days. The only bad part about that was we had to start our 15 hour trip home early Saturday morning.
Both Ed and I started calling every supplier within a hundred miles to try to find the parts and someone who could get them to us by Friday morning. At 5:30 Thursday evening I called Ed to get an update. I got his voicemail. After leaving him a message I shared my concerns with Father again and asked him if he had any suggestions. At 5:59 Ed called and said that he was at the counter of a local parts supplier with the calipers in his hands. They had somehow gotten them delivered from their warehouse in a matter of hours instead of days.
I felt the way our golfer felt as he hit the golf balls from his trunk on the range at Utopia. It was as if the simple precision of my Father’s care for me had returned. I knew that faith wasn’t believing in something in spite of the fact that the circumstances look otherwise. Faith is trusting that my Father loves me and will care for me in any and every circumstance regardless of what the circumstance seems. That is the deeper and simpler truth of faith. We have a Father who loves and cares for us so much that no detail is missed.
When our golfer relaxed and simply swung the club trusting in both the club and his body, the results were dramatic. When we, as coaches of young men, learn to trust our Father and his ability to work in and through our lives, the results will be dramatic as well.
Well Ed, this minister of Father’s love, got the car back together Friday morning. When I picked the car up I asked him what the bill looked like. He looked at me with a smile on his face and told me I only had to reimburse him for the parts. Seems the suppliers charge him below wholesale to support his ministry.
Our golfer had to return to the simplicity of just swinging the club without thinking about the swing. He had to stop “noodling it” so much. He had to find the enjoyment of the swing. We too have to return to the simplicity of believing that Father loves us; he isn’t impressed with our performance. He wants us to find the enjoyment of just being his child.
Please share your experience and comments. I’d love to hear how you found your swing.