IX. Answer the Call to the Faith of Abraham.
by Bill Hunt
In the battle between good and evil, we can find ourselves tempted in hard places, difficult situations, which will ultimately reveal the hidden purposes of God.
Mary and I lived for a brief time in her home area, rural Upstate New York. We rented an old Victorian house for our four little children under five including one baby. We lived very simply on little money. God took care of us as we eagerly searched to hear his direction.
I have learned in life that God provides for the way in which he points!
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV: Ps. 27:14).
Sudden winter weather returned in April, below freezing cold, with fresh snow falling in heavy, silent, white flakes covering everything. The windows were frosted thick with “finger painted” crystallized ice designs. Early Sunday morning before church, I realized our furnace oil tank guage set at zero. We were about to run completely out of heat in the house at any moment.
My wife, Mary, reminded me the oil companies were closed on Sundays.
Being new in town, I phoned and phoned hoping to find an emergency number, but no answer came anywhere. Not a single area oil company could be contacted. Secretly, so Mary wouldn't see my fear, I stopped and prayed for God's help at the icy window panes off the dining room. The thought of my wife and four children in a cold freezing house severely gripped my heart. I breathed scared.
“Father, help us....”
Less than one hour after my prayer, an oil tank truck with no markings drove up outside that dining room window!
In amazement, I quickly scratched a peek-hole in the icy frost with my fingernails and watched. An elderly driver dressed in worn workman's overhauls, a tattered winter cap, and charcoal coat with a plaid lining got out, gloved his hands, dragged his black truck hose to our pipe, and refueled the house tank. I couldn't believe my eyes. Then he got back in to the truck, closed the door, and drove away before I could get my own coat on and rush out the front door to question him. He left no tank invoice statement.
We never received a bill for that delivery. We never knew how it came to pass.
Employment made itself scarce in Lewis County, so I worked in an area paper mill filling huge dark vats of churning river water with discarded forklift rolls of paper, decomposing the paper so the mill could make new products.
As we prepared to leave Philadelphia a few weeks earlier, God spoke quietly to Mary that he wanted us to go to "O-R-U." She didn't know what the abbreviation meant and soon forgot it.
As I drove our rented moving van north to Upstate New York on a long night, God spoke to me to go to "O-R-U." Again, I really didn't expect or recognize the significance of this word and did not take it to heart.
I went to work in this dark paper mill warehouse among the watery vats of churning river water that decomposed the discarded paper rolls in preparation to make new paper. I truly felt I was in the belly of the whale. In fact, I stepped very carefully to avoid falling into the deep vats which bottomed out into the river below. Watching down into the force of the churning water in the dark warehouse one day, the Lord spoke to me very clearly.
"Why are you like Jonah in the belly of the whale? You have not obeyed me. I am sending you to Oral Roberts University."
That night at the supper table, I said to Mary, "I believe I know where we are supposed to go." She interrupted me....
"We are supposed to go to Oral Roberts University," she said looking directly at me.
I looked backed at her with an open mouth, absolutely amazed. Then I told her how God spoke to me that day while working in the paper mill.
"Where is Oral Robert's University?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. "We'll have to find out."
"I have called you to the faith of Abraham," God first told us at the beginning of our spiritual walk. Now, he was clearly calling us into his ministry.
"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you” (NIV: Gen. 12:1). Mary and I answered the call wholeheartedly. We both felt very excited to receive our divine direction.
My wife set out to purify and simplify our possessions.
She really exercised the faith of Abraham to sell our wedding gifts, the silver tray, the cedar hope chest, the children's bicycles, everything except bare necessities. We simplified even more our already simplified lives.
One evening in front of our fireplace, Mary, sitting on the floor, read to me our packs of past love letters written during our courting days and then burned them in the fire, giving their memory to God. Mary felt even these were excess we no longer needed to carry around.
That part of our lives was over. God called us ahead to new missions.
(#9 True Story in series: Life is 100 Million Miracles.)