The Hobbyhorse Miracle
I will never forget the day.
We woke up that morning knowing exactly how broke we were. No money in the bank, no money in our pockets, not much food in the house, out of diapers.
"We'll just pray for a cash job," Steve assured me as he left for his garage. "That way we won't have to wait for the check to clear the bank. We'll be able to go to the store tonight."
I called the garage at noon, hoping for one of those jobs that pay well and doesn't take long to complete.
"I'm still praying,' my husband's calm voice assured me.
"But honey, it's Friday and-"
"And the day's not over. God will not let us down."
The kids and I ate open-faced peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, using up the last of the bread. I look dubiously at the few remaining groceries, trying to plan creatively for snack. I prayed quickly for God's intervention before dinner.
At three o'clock the kids and baby were still down for nap and I had finished some chores around the house. Time for another phone call.
"Anything?" I asked. I truly expected his enthusiastic response to fill the receiver.
"Nothing…" I could hear the office chair squeak as he shifted position. "I mean really nothing. No one has even come in the shop today. It's like working in a morgue."
We prayed together and I hung up. 'God,' I thought, 'I know what's in that kitchen. If you don't want us to go without this weekend we have to have a job. Even if it's just enough for some diapers and food for the kids that'd be okay."
We had moved to Brownwood not long before. Steve bought a small garage and our family had come to the small town with great expectations. We found a tiny house 'just to start off'. We'd just started attending a new church in this new town. It had taken us several months to find a congregation and preacher we felt God wanted us to be involved in but Southside Baptist had filled the bill. I considered calling one of the women in my Sunday school class to ask her to pray with me but hesitated. I didn't know any of the ladies very well yet. Maybe later, if something didn't happen soon.
When the phone rang at five I smiled. Here it is, I thought. Here is God's answer to our prayers. Steve was calling to tell me about the job God had supplied at the last minute.
"I think I'll keep the shop open an extra couple of hours tonight," he said instead. "Just don't give up. And don't stop praying."
I hung up and glanced out the window. "Okay, God-" I started aloud. I stopped mid-sentence. A van had pulled up in front of the house and a man stepped out, looking toward our home. He straightened his three-piece suit and started for the door.
In the neighborhood we lived in at that point in our lives men in three-piece suits generally did not bear good news. I frowned and stepped out onto the front porch before he could mount the two steps to the door. "Can I help you?" I asked cautiously.
"Hello," the man smiled and nodded. "Does that hobby horse belong to you?"
He pointed to a sad looking, broken horse lying on it's side in the yard. It had broken loose from the springs a couple of days before. Currie, my 4-year-old had carefully tied a jump rope around its neck and played cowboy most of the morning, dragging the crippled hobbyhorse behind him in his imaginary rodeo.
That's what it is,' I thought. He's from the city and wants the yard cleaned up. "Yes, sir."
"I'd like to buy it from you."
His words were so unexpected that I failed to see the miracle taking shape. "Buy it?"
"Yes." He laughed at the look o my face. "My wife and I redo them for craft shows. You know…repaint them, fix what's broken and mount them on a pole. We sell them as indoor carasaul horses."
"Oh." I smiled warmly. "Well, you can have that one. I was going to throw it away in the morning, anyway. I'm glad someone can get some use out of it. And my Dad just bought my Mom one of those carasoul horses. Maybe it was one you did."
"I can't just take it," the stranger insisted. "We make pretty good money at this. It wouldn't be right to take it and not pay you."
The man reached into his wallet, produced a twenty-dollar bill and put it into my hands. "Thank you," he said.
I watched as he scooped up the broken toy and went to his vehicle. As he closed the van door it suddenly occurred to me what God had just done. I rushed to the phone to call Steve, making a mental list of what the Lord had just supplied: diapers for the baby, bread, cereal for the kids-
There was a tap at the door.
I opened it to the smile of the friendly stranger. Did he want his money back?
"My wife says I made a mistake," he apologized.
I felt my heart sink.
"The horse is in perfect shape. We won't have to do much at all to prepare it for painting. She wants me to give you another $10."
I felt stunned and blinked back tears as I accepted the second half of the payment.
"Are you a Christian?" I asked.
"Then let me tell you how God just used you." I told him the whole story-the desperate need, the anticipated miracle of a good cash job, the daylong disappointment. "And then you pulled up," I finished. "and God did our miracle in such a better way than we ever expected."
"It gets better," God's messenger said. "We never drive down this road. Our son is a student at the university. He's a senior and we've been coming to Brownwood for four years now. But today I took a wrong turn and we got lost. We got directions at a convenience store and were told that this street would get u to the campus. If I hadn't gotten lost we never would have seen the hobbyhorse."
"Amazing," I smiled, reflecting on all that God had put in place to make this happen for Steve and me.
"Amazing is right," the man agreed. "I'd never even heard of Brownwood until Cory decided to come to school at HPU. He graduates tomorrow. He's a music major, planning on going into church ministry. He really loves it here and I think he's a little sad to be leaving. He's been directing music at a local church for the last two years ad just really hates to leave it."
"Where does he direct music?"
And the last piece of the puzzle fell into place as the man answered, "Southside Baptist."