Larry is twelve years older now. Even at 60 something years old his zeal was unstoppable, he was determined to run his old R.V. into the ground as he traveled where he felt led as he told of Jesus sacrifice to whoever would listen.
He only spent one week in my life, but I remember him still and look forward to our reunion on “that day”.
I’m not making myself out to be some one or something, but the Lord was to do something in that week that shook Larry to the core of his religious being and forever change a notion he’d had for years. I was graced to witness a spectacular act of God, to be sure, but I am also sure that Larry got more out of that week than I did. What I was to learn became evident, but not until years later.
I was in my second year as a single father of three marvelous daughters and an accident at work gave me more time with them at home. The company I worked for denied that I’d ever worked for them and since I had been there less than a week, I had no proof that I was an employee. My only choice then was to apply for my unemployment benefits.
The benefits would run out in six months. I was content, more than that, I was overjoyed.
I would have time with the girls and while they were at school I would have time to read, bake cookies or play golf on my Sega. Life was good!
Each of my girls had a kite and if we weren’t flying kites on the playground after school, then we were either playing catch, on the merry-go-round or we’d window shop at the mall.
The benefits ended and I was not eligible for an extension. The eviction notice came soon after.
I was considering panicking but chose instead to pray. What a novel idea!
“Be still and KNOW” He began. I finished the verse for Him. You know, the way old friends finish the others’ sentences? Like that.
“Yes, I know, you are God.” No sooner had I said the rest of the verse I realized, some where deep within me that He was about to show me more of what He meant when He said those eight words.
It was also at that moment that I began to learn that when we interrupt Him, He is silent, but ever faithful; I somehow knew that in spite of my rudeness He was going to show me something of Himself that you don’t learn in seminary. I can’t put it into words, suffice it to say, I just knew.
As I pondered just what to do about our loss of our home I remembered what He said to do; “Be still and know…”
I did just that. I was still.
My day in court came and went. We had 72 hours to be out of our apartment.
I met Larry shortly after leaving the courthouse. I was at the Laundromat taking care of the domestic requirements of life. Larry engaged me in conversation by telling me about Jesus’ sacrifice. I witnessed to him too by telling him about our situation and how the Lord had only said to “be still and know”.
Larry insisted that I do something and being a man who practically lived in his bible, believe me, he had chapter and verse for his exhortation down pat. Had I not have heard so clearly from the Lord, Larry could well have persuaded me to “do something”, but the word of the Lord was sure and I would not relent. It frustrated Larry to no end.
I told him that I had no other directive and having heard only this I would not consider any other course of action, regardless how persuasive and in spite of how he cited one verse after another. He meant well, but I’d heard and that was that.
The conversation took up right where it left off as soon as we were sitting at my house. Larry was enjoying the cookies that I’d baked the night before more than he enjoyed my insistence to do nothing about this so-called crisis. He was visibly upset while I remained peaceful and he was concerned that I had possibly deluded myself into only thinking I had heard the Lord. He offered countless examples from the Word telling me what he thought I should do. I was not moved.
The third day, the day we were to be out of the rental had arrived and instead of “falling apart at the seams” I marveled that He did His best work on the third day and this was MY third day.
I spent those three days cooking, cleaning house and playing golf on my Sega game system. I didn’t do anything else, nothing.
Larry came over the afternoon of the third day. I heard his dilapidated R.V. before I saw it, so I knew it was him. I put my game on "pause" and opened the door before he had even made it to the walk-way leading up to our apartment. He walked right in.
He shook my hand and his nervousness was apparent as he quickly surveyed our home.
“What in the world are you doing?” Nearly yelling.
“I’m trying to get a new high score, that’s what.” My eagerness to finish at 15 under par spilled over in my answer.
“You have to be out of here and you don’t even have any boxes. You should be packing!” His decibel level rose out of his worry, but I wasn’t about to let his worry become mine.
“Larry, the Lord told me only to be still and until I hear from Him as to what to do next, that is all I plan on doing.” My calmness only unnerved him more.
“You are out of your mind, man. This is crazy; in fact this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.” The blood rushing to his cheeks were probably the only reason the veins in his neck didn’t burst.
“Larry, Larry, Larry, relax, our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and at the price of beef nowadays, that’s a chunk of change. Don’t worry; He knows what He’s doing.” I tried to bring his blood pressure down.
“Yeah, I know that, but you’ve got to do SOMETHING” with the decibel emphasis on “something”.
“Larry, I am doing something. But to you, it appears as if I am doing nothing at all. Does trust always have to be an action?” I queried.
Exasperated and more than scared for me and my daughters is probably the real reason he slammed my door when he left. I went back to my golf game.
Less than an hour after he’d left like an indignant & frustrated whirlwind Larry called me.
“Don, you won’t believe what just happened.” He could barely find the words, something had really shaken him.
“Larry, the Lord has me in a place right now that I would believe most any thing.” I tried to make it easier for him to continue.
“I was driving down this street, right? The Lord tells me to pull over in front of this house. So I did, and then He tells me to go up to the door of this one house” he was speaking so fast I almost couldn’t make out what he was talking about.
His conversation with the Lord went something like this:
“Lord, I don’t know those people!” he argued.
“Son, I never said that you knew them, I only told you to go to their door.” He said gently, but firmly
“Lord, this is crazy. This whole day has been crazy. But because YOU say so, fine! I’ll do it.” His obedience was anything but joyful and in his tantrum he stomped up to their door.
The wife opened the door to see this “grey haired basket-case of worry” standing on her porch; “Can I help you?” She said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Ma’am, I know this is probably going to sound absurd, but…” Larry didn’t get to finish his introduction.
“Oh, the Lord does this all the time. What is it that you need?” She assured him that he hadn’t lost his mind. (The miracle is that the Lord can heal a jaw that has just fallen six feet to the ground). Larry was beside himself in wonder.
“Don,” his excitement while telling me what had just happened was delightful, “they want you to go find a place to live and as soon as you do, then call them at this number.”
“Okay, I guess now I know what to do. I have just the place and I’ll get some boxes on my way.”
The time of “being still” was over, and the time to “know” was moments away.
The couple that Larry met that day have been called to serve single parents and to serve them especially with needs for housing. The day before they met Larry a check for $1600 had come in and both of them were perplexed. There wasn’t a need that they were aware of, but they both rejoiced that for some family somewhere the Lord had answered before they called.
It was the third day and we had until midnight to vacate the premises.
At 11:59 p.m. Larry and I loaded the last few boxes into his beat up R.V. and he followed me home.
“Be still and KNOW that I am God.” He didn’t just tell me, He showed me.
What did I “know” after that? Many things, but I’ll offer just one for your prayerful consideration and that is this:
When others tell you that you should be DOING something, may your answer be “I AM doing something. I’m trusting Him.”
Where did we get the notion that “trusting” always means “doing”?
The “be still” part comes before the “know”.
May we be a people that are more determined to “be still” whether or not we know what will happen, for it may be that, that is the time that we will really “KNOW”.
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