From our tub refinishing connection to church planting, old IV friends leading the church planting task force here in Mankato to uncanny devotional reading timings, I keep saying to Brian “you just can’t make this stuff up…”
When we adopted we had a myriad of those stories (Despicable Me forming our decision and then upon meeting XS realizing he was wearing Minion shorts… you can’t make it up!). Here we are again, watching God kind of show off.
Two weeks ago we were in the used car-shopping business. We have had one car for most of our married life (maybe 8 years of it). Public transportation, good friends and rental cars made it possible in Duluth with our jobs. Now we are in a situation where the church is farther away than I can bike and we both felt it was time to get that second car.
Brian decided we should run up to Mpls on the 8th of March to look at a few he found on line. After spending over 2 hours in a flashy, huge dealership, we ate our fill of popcorn and drank water while watching a flipper home improvement show. Brian test drove a car through rush hour, Friday night traffic on 494. There were TV’s, video games for the kids and the huge, movie-theater style popcorn maker to fill.us.up.
We dashed to our second appointment, where a kind man said he’s wait for us (we were very, very late). We walked into a sparsely decorated waiting area where there was a desk, table with a large screen TV perched on it and bookshelf with a bucket of “Pub Mix.” Behind this lovely waiting area was the showroom with about 15 cars in it. As soon as we walked up to this beauty, I was sold. It looked brand new! Less than 73,000 miles on it! Under our budget!
Well, to make a long story short, we felt comfortable buying it on this first visit due to a few things. 1. Gut. It just felt right (plus the facts that the car is in great shape). 2. The man selling it to us was keeping his wife and grandkids waiting so he could serve us. 3. The salesman also shared with us his faith background (Jewish) and the fact that his boss keeps trying to convert him. “It won’t happen,” Larry said. 4. I told Larry I would blog this out and give their business some free advertising and he was all for it. 5. He called his boss, told him our story of why we needed a second car and that we were pastors. “You should be here to talk about the Scriptures!” he said. Then handed the phone to us so we could ask any questions about the car. 6. To seal the deal, there was a palm tree in the corner. Ash Wednesday had just happened and our church practices the traditions of keeping the palms from Palm Sunday the previous year, burning the palms and making the “ash” for the foreheads.
Later that weekend I was driving the “new” car to Duluth for Calista’s field trip with her old 5th grade class. I had planned to rent a car but yay, no need with the second vehicle now! Woot – what freedom you people have had all these years who have 2 cars!!
Well I was praying for our kids and their needs for new friends. I even prayed specifically for them to be invited to a birthday party before the end of the school year. As Calista and I pulled over to eat our picnic dinner about 15 minutes later, I looked at my phone and you’ll never believe it – a friend was inviting Elam to a birthday party. I mean, really people… coincidence? I think not.
Last “you can’t make it up” for this brain tonight. Calista was giving herself a foot bath after playing in wet snow all afternoon. Then she offered to give Elam a foot bath, giving him a book and soaking his feet in sweet smelling water. I sat back, smiling to myself, thinking how John 13 this was. Elam and Calista have had their issues lately. Fed up with one another and likely with this transition we are in… Well, in John 13 we learn that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Maybe that sounds like something Jesus would do, but what’s made perfectly clear in John 13 is that Judas was about to betray Jesus and it would lead to the death of the Savior. Jesus knew it. And yet He still got up and wrapped a towel around Himself, got down on His knees and took those stinky, slimy, muddy or at least dirty feet into His hands that would soon be nailed to a tree. Feet that would run away from the sounds of His agony. Feet of disciples which would eventually turn back around and follow this Man until they themselves might die.
Well Calista isn’t always so much like Jesus, but tonight she was. And I was journaling about it. Then I opened my devotional reading for the night and you guessed it, it was on John 13.
I don’t know how you’re spending this Lenten season, but I am enjoying watching God show off and show up.