Recently, as I was sitting on the platform of our phenomenal church looking over the congregation of a group of people I had grown to love like family, my mind went back. Don’t really know what triggered it…maybe it was a key word someone said; maybe it was the receiving of the tithes and offerings. I don’t like to refer to our present condition as “successful,” even though it does feel that we have finally come to a place where we can breathe a bit. I don’t feel that we ever “arrive” at a place in God, but we should always be striving for more in Him.
As my mind went back to that extremely tough time, even my disposition changed. I could feel that dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach like I was experiencing it all over again. We had just lost several key families to moving away, job changes, etc. We had been at it non-stop teaching Home Bible studies, witnessing and general duties of Home Missionary church planters, while juggling the crushing worry of finances. Not only were we responsible for our household bills, we had ALL of the financial responsibility of the church on our shoulders. I was home schooling my two children, taking care of an infant, working three hard days a week cleaning houses and businesses and my husband was working fifty hours a week in a machine shop AND pastoring our church full-time. To say we were weary was the understatement of the century!
One day, my husband came home and said, “Celi, I walked in to work this morning and the Lord told me plain as day to lock my toolbox because the work He had for me in that machine shop was OVER.” Of course, he obeyed and there we were, out on the frightfully short limb of faith. Later, we went down to the church to clean up, do some maintenance and just hang out in the Lord’s house.
I could see the pressure building on him like a huge, heavy cloud hanging over his head. Now my husband has ALWAYS been the best husband in the world, but the several weeks up to his quitting, he had been so ill-tempered that I was ready to wring his neck! Nothing me or the kids did was right, and he seemed to blow every little matter out of proportion. I walked into the sanctuary just to sit for a while and meditate, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “Go wash his feet.” I immediately started to remind the Lord how nasty he had been to me lately, but I got up and went into the kitchen. When I came into my husband’s office with the basin of warm water and a towel, there he was sitting on his sofa, with his head in his hands, praying. As soon as I walked in the door, I could feel the presence of ministering angels and I began to cry. I didn’t say a word… I just knelt down, took his shoes and socks off and quietly prayed while I washed his feet. Maybe it was my swallowing my pride and overlooking his temperament, – maybe it was his “effectual, fervent prayer” or both, but the Lord opened a window in heaven for our family that afternoon.
A few days later, we received a call from an old acquaintance who had long been backslidden. To make a long story short, he wanted to know what our address was because he needed to send his tithes on his business to our fledgling church. He said “I might not go to church, but I’m NOT stealing from God!” His business became blessed immediately and he send us $2500 a month (which was exactly how much my husband was making on the job God told him to leave.)
Sometimes, the Lord is waiting on us to stop nursing our little feelings, swallow our pride and just TRUST Him.