Many years ago, my husband, Allen, was unexpectedly unemployed and pounding the pavement for a job. A couple of opportunities looked like possibilities, but each time we went to the Lord, He emphatically said one thing. “Wait.” We didn’t understand. We were sweating bullets. As difficult as it was, we chose to wait upon Him.
One afternoon, a small check came in from the photography business. I tucked it away, knowing we needed groceries. About this same time, our youngest daughter became sick and I purchased a $5 pillow, shaped like a mouse, to comfort her while she was in bed a few days. She loved the pillow and kept it even into her teen years. This pillow became the catalyst for an adventure our family will never forget.
The Lord directed me to take the check I had tucked away and use it to purchase as many pillows as it would buy. We were to take them to the pediatric floor of the local hospital and pass them out to the children.
What?! Surely, He couldn’t be serious? I must have heard Him wrong. It sounded too crazy. Needless to say, I really sought the Lord on this directive. I asked for confirmation, even making out my grocery list to show Him we had material needs. As if He didn’t know! But, He was adamant. His instruction stood. I told Allen. He looked at me as if I’d grown two heads. But, Allen trusted what I had heard and we both trusted the Lord. We took our grocery money, purchased over twenty pillows and drove to the hospital with our four small children in tow. We were quite the sight. The pillows were large and it was all we could do to get the children and the pillows on the elevator and up to the pediatric floor.
Our family spent the next hour visiting each room, passing out pillows, and offering words of encouragement to parents and sick children. I trusted God to protect our own children from illness as we stepped out in faith and obedience.
As we were leaving, a young mother hurried down the hall toward me. “I thought you all were with the hospital staff. The nurse told me you weren’t. Thank you so much. He just loves the pillow. What a blessing!”
What a blessing our family received that night. But, the story doesn’t end there.
The next morning, we received a phone call about a job opportunity. Allen interviewed the following afternoon and was offered the job, which included health insurance and benefits.
God knew exactly what He was doing. He just wanted us to trust Him to do it.
To this day, I am thankful Allen and I listened. We didn’t understand. Nothing made sense. But, we believed in our God. We lived out II Corinthians 5:7 which says, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (NIV)
I wish I could say we have responded to every difficult situation with the same kind of faith. Unfortunately, too often our attitudes resemble that of the Israelites’ in the desert. They beheld God’s miraculous powers many times, yet grumbled and worried and refused to believe He would meet their every need. They feared because they could not see.
Just as He rained down manna for the Hebrew children, God desires to shower His blessings upon us today. He also greatly desires our trust and our obedience. We can do things His way or our way. Sometimes I still stubbornly insist on my way. His way might take longer, require a deeper commitment, bring me out of my comfort zone or cause growing pains I am unwilling to suffer. I fear because I cannot see. I have learned, though, that His way is always best. His way brings about Kingdom results where my way falls short every time.
So what do we do when we see no light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel? What do we do when we can’t see around the next bend in the road? I believe II Corinthians 4:16-18 has the answer:
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (The Message)
God speaks in the most surprising ways sometimes. He gives voice to a donkey, a child, a man who stutters, a woman who weeps, and sometimes, if we listen very closely, we may even hear a pillow talk.