Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)
TITLE: Second Mile People - Ten Mile God
By Pauline Carruthers
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The rain beat out a frenzied rhythm against the window of our tiny apartment, drowning out our laughter. In the silence of the night even a whisper filtered like a slinky mist, winding up, down and around our cosy block of four.
On being accepted as short term workers in a Missionary Headquarters, we had prayed that one of these apartments would be ours. The outside shouted ‘space’, surrounded by magnificent and expansive gardens. Cedars of Lebanon towered majestically and a long lake sidled through grounds, rampant with flowering shrubs. Hosts of golden daffodils, reminiscent of the famous poem, bordered the paths and the sweet, heady fragrance of a flowering lime tree, awash with nectar filled bees, dulled our senses. What an amazing provision our God had made. Over and above all we could ask or imagine.
Now, two years later, we had been officially accepted into full membership, having completed a four month, gruelling Candidate Course. Exhausted and excited we had been instructed to take a two week holiday, before resuming work in our Ministry. Was that time enough to de-stress, refresh and top up my depleted store of second mile Christianity? I felt I had given not only my cloak and tunic, but my boots and bulging suitcase as well.
“So where do we go from here?” asked David.
Laughingly I responded, “I guess we need to pray for a big miracle.”
We laughed. We had always been able to laugh, making a molehill out of a mountain, indulging in the ridiculous and unlikely ways in which a situation could be much harder.
Nothing is impossible for God. We had given up jobs and home and after two years without a salary, were totally dependent on Him. Committed to living by faith. There is no way of coming to terms with this way of life, except through the living of it, year after year, building a new and deeper trust. He had called us and He would provide. In later years we were to learn that mostly His practical provision simply provided for our basic needs. Yet there were times when His blessings were poured out abundantly, giving beyond our wildest expectation.
“Please Father, just one little encouragement. Increase our faith enough to take a step.”
Our encouragement came with the gift of a new car. A special and sensitive gift for our children, who hated being driven to their upper class school in an upper class area, in our old car. I had often pondered over the mystery of why God would plant a Faith Mission in one of the wealthiest areas in the country. And in a Mansion! Yet His wisdom is far beyond the scope of ordinary thinking. Outside our earthly imagination. I had dreaded the first children’s party we held in the Mission. Yet it had opened up doors into wealthy lives, that might otherwise have remained untouched by God. His blessings stretch unexpectedly and endlessly.
Encouragement given. Faith and trust boosted. Bags packed. We hadn’t been aware that the kids were praying for a new car.
Throughout our two year preliminary period, our family had been taken to heart by a church located in the beautiful New Forest area. A family from that church ’phoned to ask if we would care for their home for two weeks, whilst they were holidaying in Florida. With a new car and a place to stay, we would be content with simplicity. The little money we had would pay for holiday food and fuel.
“Wait, wait! The Lord told me to give you this.”
We were driving away as an envelope was thrust through the car’s open window. Then the giver quickly blew a kiss and disappeared. We later discovered God’s amazing provision inside.
The house was beyond our imagination. Many rooms making it almost soundproof. A place where children could play and parents could chill out in the quietness of abundant space. A far cry from our tiny, lacking privacy flat. A full fridge, loaded with luxury and with a note saying it was stocked for us, took our breath away.
To feel humbled is a difficult thing. It creates vulnerability, taking away our independence and pride in providing for ourselves. Yet at the same time it brings about such an overwhelmingly thankful worship in the humbled heart. A worship that stretches and increases the boundaries of gratitude to our God, who gives and gives and gives again.
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