Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)
- TITLE: The Fish's Mouth
By Dusty Fontaine
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About a month before my wife and I were married, we answered a classified ad in the local newspaper about a house for rent. It was located in a neighborhood halfway between our parents’ homes. The ad read: $275 Deposit, $275/mth – 1st & last required. The listed amounts were about $25 per month over what we had budgeted. Though we weren’t poor by third-world standards, making only $4.25 per hour, we certainly struggled to make ends meet. Being naïve, we thought we could talk the homeowner down to our price.
Mr. Daidone, the homeowner, was a New York lawyer. We met him at his office to discuss the rental. He seemed to enjoy intimidating us with big words and stern legal warnings. He wasn’t budging off his price. With mixed feelings of excitement and fear, we signed his lease, and left him a check for $825.00 -- our entire savings. As we turned to leave his office, he startled us with one last boisterous warning: “Remember; I expect to have your check in my hand on or before the first day of each month! No excuses! I like you two, but this is a business, not a charity. The first time I don’t have that check on time – you’re gone!”
We hand-delivered the June and July rent checks to insure they were in Mr. Daidone’s hand in time. Both times he thanked us, but reiterated his warning before we could leave his office.
Both of our families have quite a few birthdays in the month of July. It wasn’t long before we realized we had spent some of our August rent on gifts for loved ones. With only one week to the first, we began to worry.
We woke early on Thursday morning, July 31st. Neither of us could sleep knowing we were eighty-six dollars short on the rent due the next morning. We got on our knees together and asked God for help.
After the “Amen” we knew it was now in God’s hands. I kissed my wife as I did every morning and headed off to work.
Driving to work, I tried to prepare a speech for asking my parents for the money, or my boss for an advance. I couldn’t think of another way we were going to come up with it. My stomach was in knots all morning as I worried about how our Scrooge-like landlord was going to react to the news.
In 1980 there was no such thing as cell phones. My service van was equipped with a two-way radio that could communicate with the base unit at the office. In deep thought about the rent situation, the voice that came blaring over the radio startled me:
“K-R-D-4-1-3 – base to unit 81 – come in!”
“This is unit 81 – go ahead.”
“Your wife just called, she wants you to call her right away.”
“Ten-four, will do. Thanks.”
“Unit 81 clear.”
I pulled into the next gas station, where there was a public pay-phone; dropped a quarter in the slot, and punched in the number for my home. My wife answered on the first ring. Since she was anticipating my call, she dispensed with the usual hello.
“Dusty, you’re never going to believe what just happened! I usually don’t check the mail until after lunch, but, I’ve been thinking all morning about how God might answer our prayer – so I went out to get it early. Guess what was in there!”
“Mail?” I answered sarcastically.
She ignored me. “I just opened an envelope from our car insurance company that I thought was another bill. Babe, they sent us a refund check for eighty-three dollars. That’s almost exactly what we need.”
“Wow” is all I could manage. I was awestruck. Our God had just assured us He would always be there to take care of our every need. Like Peter when he was told by Jesus to catch a fish and look in its mouth for a coin to pay their taxes, Matthew 17:27 (KJV) my wife was led to open the mouth of the mailbox and take out a check to pay our rent.
God is good.
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