I can’t help but be humored by a remembrance soon after we took the small church in Greensboro North Carolina. Sixteen people voted us in, but the church immediately got even smaller after we became pastor, through no fault of our own. Some folk just used this time to move on themselves, since they didn’t know us. Such is life.
We had evangelized non-stop, hardly ever taking a week off except during Christmas for five straight years. Revivals often started on a Tuesday or Wednesday night back then, and went straight through to Sunday without a night off. I was deeply over it all!! Exhausted, needing my own space.
Thankfully we had had found favor with many great preachers and had ministered in many of the larger churches, often returning yearly to some of them. I bring this up, so you will be able to understand my dilemma. After being in a different church every week or so, with people at every place, complimenting our ministry, needless to say we felt capable to move this church forward into a soul winning power house church! Yet it was very worrisome, with so few people, a building that desperately needed repair and not a dime to fix it.
After the first couple of weeks I will tell you this much. We were confident. We were afraid. We were filled with faith. We were very worried. We were so excited. We were filled with dread. We believed revival would happen today. We were worried it would never happen. It just depended on what particular minute you caught us, as to which we were. These same adrenaline surging thoughts turned my husband into a bike riding soul-winning preacher. While I stayed with my son, who was only 6 weeks old, in a 24-foot trailer, without a car, and prayed God would lead that preacher on a 10 speed, to hungry souls.
I realized after a few services that there were only 3 Sunday School rooms and no offices at all! This was weird to me. I kept bringing up this fact to my husband. That he had no office, anywhere. And in his adrenaline surged state he would say, “I don’t need an office, we have to fill this church!“ Actually, that answer caused me a few adrenaline surges too!! Like, who on earth is going to come to a church in which the Pastor has no office???!!!! Looking back now it’s quite humorous. But I can assure you that everything I ever knew to be true was invested in the answer, to this question. And I was dead serious; a pastor with no office? This can’t be! I could tell that my husband had no skin in the game concerning this. Because every time I brought it up he told me he could use a Sunday school room if he needed one! So I figured this was between God and me.
I asked my husband one day to keep my son because I had to get a hold of God about some situations. I did not tell him what they were. He knew there were a multitude of things that needed divine intervention, and quickly sent me on my way. I locked myself in that church and knelt down in the altar and got to talking. Things got real serious quick! I remember crying so hard, telling God all about my concerns and eventually I ended up face down on that stained lime green carpet. And there I stayed for about 3 or 4 hours. During that time of crying and praying with all my heart, for revival and souls to be saved, the subject of my husband’s lack of an office did come up! I told the Lord, “I can handle a lot of stuff, but a Pastors office means something to me”. It represented a place for a preacher to be, to study, to pray and to help folk. I wanted it to look nice, and represent us, and God well. Finally I got up off of the floor, numb, stiff, exhausted from prayer and went back to my little 24-foot trailer.
Two weeks later the baptistry overflowed, all night long. In fact it flooded the church sanctuary! My husband called the insurance company the next morning, after trying to clean up the mess by himself, to tell them about it. That evening he came home with some unbelievable news. They were going to pay us three thousand dollars!!! I was stunned. My husband told me (out of the blue) that it was enough, if he did all the work himself, to create an office. And I sat there and just cried.
I understand now looking back, that the Pastors office, represented stability, a place to be, after 5 years of endless travels. And God knew me, he really knew me. Not just like a God would, who was high up looking at me from a distance. But like he was looking directly at me. Like he cared if I cried. Like he cared, even if something didn’t mean that much to my husband, meant something to me.
And that is the God I want to talk about. The one who though I rarely understand him, really, really gets me. The mystery of him, what he thinks, and the way that he does things, draws me in, even though I get frustrated sometimes by not being able to understand him. Nor can I predict how he will respond to stuff. When I think I really know what he will do, he up and surprises me out of nowhere.
But even with all that, I cannot tell you what a comfort he has been to me over the span of my lifetime. The saying, “the more you pray, the more coincidences happen” is true. But the thing I began to find out was that the more I prayed, the odds, of such coincidences occurring, increased to such an extent, that they could no longer be called coincidences any more. They had to be defined as a pure out miracles.