At the intersection of our needs and our plenty stands our heavenly Father, meeting the former while supplying the latter.
In mid-October, while having another nail or something removed from a tire, the owner of the service station informed me that I needed new tires. He also handed me a quote of $401 for those he recommended. I put the paper with the tire estimate on a bulletin board at home.
Shortly after that day, I saw my dad and asked his opinion of the tires. He took a brief look and concurred right away.
As I visited with the Lord soon after the news, I put into my prayer journal, “Father, the car You’ve provided for me to drive needs tires.” I told no one else of the need; ‘just knew that I needed to start with the Lord and see what He would do or would lead me to do.
Over the next few months, I’d mention the tire need to the Lord. As the winter weather picked up its intensity and frequency for snow and ice, I continued to pray about the need. In the midst of that period, at the start of February, the Spirit prompted me to begin to set aside funds toward what would be needed, so I did. I just simply wrote checks to myself in each pay period and tucked them away.
Finally, I found time during business hours to call for a second estimate through someone I knew at a different tire place. That quote was $315 and went on the bulletin board with the other one. And I continued to pray.
Near the end of February, I had a few moments to check with different banks about their savings account features. At the beginning of March, right after receiving some monetary birthday gifts, I opened a savings account at a bank with the best features for my situation. I banked away what I’d tucked away.
In that same week, I also emailed my uncle, who used to own a service station and has connections with tire dealers. He emailed two quotes–$255 and $235. Those went on the bulletin board and my prayers continued.
In late February and early March, I also felt a “green light” to enlist others to pray about the tire need. On a couple different weekends during worship, I wrote on a prayer request card “—for tires for the car I drive.” During that time, I also mentioned it to the small group Bible study I attend on Tuesday evenings.
So, there was praying, seeking, saving, interceding, and waiting going on. The “saving” was getting closer to the lowest quote and seemed feasible and reachable. Then, the pace of things changed!
On March 12th, a Wednesday, I spoke at a conference held at a YWCA camp in a neighboring country. After leaving, I made a stop in the nearby town. When returning to the car, I noticed the rear tire on the driver’s side was REALLY low. Checking it with a tire gauge showed only ten pounds of air pressure! At the closest air hose, I added more to get it to what the tire says it can hold.
Needing to find the problem, I contacted tire repair places in that town and found one that was reasonably priced. However, when I got there, it would’ve been a 30-minute wait before work could be done. That wasn’t going to work, since I had an hour to cover a 30-40-minute drive and to fulfill another commitment. So, I just chose to trust the Lord to deal with the tire pressure and got on the road.
After returning to the city where I work, meeting appointments, getting back to the office and handling another commitment after work, I headed for a place that services vehicles and was open after 5:00 p.m. Before going inside, I checked the tire pressure. It had dropped by about 20 pounds.
The repair shop was short-staffed. A manager listened to my need and situation, but said, “We’re not doing tire tickets now. We don’t have enough techs.” A few feet away, one of the staff who works on cars overheard. She said, “I’ll do it.”
There were a few cars ahead of mine, so the wait allowed me to do some reading I’d wanted to do. Every so often, I’d look out to see the progress in the work area. They’d brought the Sonfire inside. (Sure, it’s really spelled “Sunfire,” but I like to give credit to the One who provides for me.) The wheel was off, and I could see the gal wrestling to get something out of it.
Well over an hour after they were to close, the persistent tech came into the waiting room to show me two “prizes” she’d dug out of that tire. One was a tiny, shiny carpet-nail-looking thing, no longer than an fourth of an inch. The other was a two-inch long nail with no head that she could only see from the inside, once the tire was off the wheel.
The tire received two plugs. However, she had discovered another plug after putting in the two that night. She was very clear that the tire needed replaced. Of course, I totally agreed on that and knew I was working toward that—yet, the timetable had moved up on the need!
The next morning, after I’d loaded the car with things to take to work, I noticed the tire had gone flat! After changing into some old jeans, I removed the tire and put on the little spare. The need for tires was quite present, no longer a recommendation!
Since my uncle had gotten the best quotes, I called him to set up the deal. The plan was to get them put on Thursday afternoon (the day of the flat) at the place that quoted $235.
Next, I needed all the funds. I’d not saved up quite that much yet. On the way to work the Lord reminded me that I hadn’t turned in mileage for reimbursement for a few weeks. I calculated the amount and turned in the request, but later learned I’d used an old mileage figure and was pleasantly surprised to receive a check for a bit more than I’d expected. A lady at work was willing to loan me the final $40. to finish off the amount needed.
When I called about getting the tires that Thursday afternoon, the place had only one in stock and couldn’t get anymore until the next day between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. The guy on the phone also said they operate as “first-come, first-served.”
Friday would pose some timing challenges due to needing to get to meetings. After getting home on Thursday evening, the Spirit plopped an idea in my mind of contacting a couple ladies whose workplaces are on the same side of town as the tire place and who would be going to the same noon meeting I was attending. The idea was to drop the car off ahead of the delivery for it to be in line for the tires and be ready after the meeting. I emailed the request to the ladies but knew I’d not be able to see replies until after getting to the office mid-morning after an earlier meeting.
As I left for work on Friday, I noticed Doubt and Worry trying to join me for the ride. But, I had trusted the Lord with the need for tires since the day I got the news and I chose to believe in His ability to handle the details of the matter. So, I “locked the door” on the would-be mind-jackers and rode with Jesus alone.
Needing to move funds from savings to checking, I did that after the first meeting. (Plus, an additional blessing came: While in the bank I use, I learned their current giveaways for new accounts were backpacks—something quite helpful to our clients. So I was able to pass that on to our staff to look into any donations possible. The same bank had given sleeping bags the previous year after that promotion ended.)
Before I could get back to the office, my cell phone rang. The man on the phone was from the congregation where I worship most regularly. He said, “I’ve been praying about your need for tires.” He continued to ask about the situation. I told him of the saving, the moved-up timeline due to the week’s happenings, and of the plan to get over to the place with tires for $235. He had an idea and ended the call so he could look into it.
Ten minutes later, the brother in Christ called again. He had contacted an owner of a tire dealer (a place from which the second quote had come) and had arranged for me to get four tires after 1:00 p.m. that Friday afternoon at only $120 cost to me. Someone else was picking up the rest of the cost.
“Thank you!” and “Go, God!” both came out of my mouth as we rounded out the phone conversation. As I continued on to the office, Jesus and I had a little celebration on the way. Then, He reminded me of how much I’d been able to save up to the point the need became imminent: $122.
He had whittled the price down to what He had helped me to save back at the time of the greatest need!
(With the price of gas, I’m sure the $2. was used up in getting to and from the tire dealer!)
When I realized this, I pulled in to an ATM to get cash. Upon arriving at work, I returned the $40 loaned by the lady there. She was the first to get to hear me brag on what the Lord had orchestrated.
The evening after God’s day of provision, I learned even more of how He had worked in those involved: When the man from the church called the tire dealer to settle the account, the tire dealer told the man that nothing was owed, to consider it his donation to the need.
This isn’t the first time in my life that I’ve had a very practical need and have seen the Lord meet it. Sometimes He’s done it by leading my decisions. Sometimes He’s had me wait for a seeming eternity. Sometimes He’s surprised the socks off me with how He’s met the needs. At all times, He’s been faithful to take care of me, just like His words through Paul say He’ll do: “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
Let’s see … what’s next on the needs list to chat about with Him?
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©2008 Kat Kreations/Kathi Isbell, author