How God Used a Hailstorm (in September)

Last night I woke up at 3 am to Calvin’s crying on the monitor. I found him in bed burning up and having seizures which left him trembling from head to toe and largely unable to respond to me. I wasn’t shocked, the past week he’d been struggling with respiratory issues but it seemed like the antibiotics were “keeping the lid” on it.

After giving rescue seizure meds, Tylenol and a good old momma hug he finally settled in again around 5 am. Today he’s pale, has low oxygen levels and spent most of the day sleeping (seizures wipe him out).

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Even though this isn’t anything new, the call to renew my trust in God and his care is a daily call to faith. It’s much easier to believe we’re alone, forgotten by God and have every reason to despair when we look at what we see. 

It’s easy to listen to whispers of despair telling us our faith is useless, that our so-called God is a fantasy and that our hope of redemption is just a way to plug through the pain.

And it’s exactly in these whispers of despair that God calls us to walk by faith. Circumstances are real, but just part of the story. The bigger story is God’s forever promises to his people, secured by Jesus:

He will never leave me or forsake me.

He is transforming me from one glory to another.

When I go through deep water, he is with me.

He intends goodness and mercy all the days of my life, even when he uses sorrow and pain to make that a reality.

For most of us, our struggles are private, confined to the walls of our homes or our hearts. We’re called to a simple, quiet obedience in God. It honors him, his word and grows our faith.

However, there are times when God pulls back the curtain of the everyday and gives tangible testimony to his presence and care. He allows faith to be sight, even for a moment, reminding us to renew our faith and trust in him.

Two weeks ago that happened. God pulled back the murky curtain of uncertain circumstances and gave us a sweeping view of his provision.

Carly and I had spent a lot of time researching options for the van, measuring his wheelchair and trying to figure out creative alternatives. Most people use wheelchair accessible minivans but with five kids, they were out for us. Our next options were a shuttle bus (the kids thought this would be the coolest thing ever) or a Ford Transit.

What we didn’t realize was the Transit comes in different roof sizes, low and mid roof. After talking with the mobility center, we realized we wouldn’t be able to install the lift in the low roof van. We headed back to the dealership and found one mid-roof passenger van. Our hearts sank when we realized the price was 8-10 thousand more than what we had.

We went home not sure what the next step was going to be. The mid-roof Ford Transit is hard to find, after searching online we found only a few in the US for sale in other states. Most customers get them made to order, they aren’t just sitting around on a dealer’s lot. Used ones are hard to come by since they just started making them in 2015.

About an hour after we got home, Carly got a call from Aaron at Tony Betten Ford.

“You’re not going to believe this,” he said. “We’ve got a truck here, unloading around 8 mid-roof Ford Transits. And they’re all passenger vans, not cargo.”

We went back. Sure enough, lined up in the lot were 8 of the exact vehicles we needed. Every color and option was available.

But the price. That was still an impossibility.

“Yeah, it’s kinda crazy,” Aaron said, “these are actually brand-new vans but we’re selling them as used. They were sitting on another lot and apparently they were damaged by a hailstorm so we’re selling them at a much lower price. We’ll take out all the dents, you won’t even notice.”

Huh.

So let me get that straight. An hour after we left, 8 vans of the exact type we needed, were dropped off unexpectedly at that exact car lot. All of them passenger vans with an extended base for a wheelchair lift. All of them happened to be in a hailstorm which happened to reduce the price to what we had planned on.

It was excessive, undeserved. But then again, that’s what grace always is.  

“You know that what happened is pretty crazy, right?” Aaron said as we signed the papers a week later. “I haven’t had those things on my lot for a year and a half. Then, an hour after you left, I’ve got eight.”

It’s not every day that God sends these tangible reminders of his care and provision. But when he does, it is a grace that gives boldness to our steps and a fresh reminder of his presence during weary nights and lonely roads.

So these days, we are thanking God for his provision through an unlikely source: a hailstorm. In September.

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This is our super helpful and proficient salesman, Aaron Powers, who got to witness the “crazy” with us. 

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This is one of Calvin’s nurses, Roxanne. In tears. Like every other nurse has been when they found out about this gift. What a testimony of God’s grace this van has been.

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Calvin was already not feeling well in this picture, but his cousins and siblings took care of making it an exciting experience for him :).

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When you’re swallowed up by it all

When the circumstances of life overwhelm us, when it’s all too big to analyze and make sense of, come away. Give up trying to organize events in made-up boxes of Good and Bad. They never fit or stay in long anyways. When it seems like everyone else has it so good and so right and yours irreparably wrong, come away. When no one sees or understands your pain and it feels like heaven has closed its gates to you.

When it’s all out of your control what you do have is a tremendous sliver of time to see it’s all in His. This chaos, this pain, this missed opportunity, this trouble you can’t tell anyone else about. If you are in Him–the Almighty, the Provider, the Sustainer, the Redeemer, then it is His. His priorities for it in your life are bigger and different than yours. Better. Not pain-free, but redemptive.

Where can we start? How can we come away from it all and leave it to Him? Cast your eyes upon Him, feast on Him. Marvel at His beauty. For a moment put your pain there, in His lap and turn your eyes upon Him. Open up the Living Word and use it to look out your window. Can you see it?

Psalm 65

“You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for JOY! 
You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it,
the river of God is full of water, you provide for their grain, for you have prepared it.
 

{Look at His delight in His creation! He visits faithfully and provides for it and creates Joy. How much more will He provide all things for you in Christ Jesus?}

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You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges,
softening it with showers and blessing its growth.
 

{He cares with preciseness, He’s not careless or detached. He is exact. With your life too. He is exact, providence does not “mess-up”.}

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You crown the year with your bounty;
Your wagon-tracks overflow with abundance
The pastures of the wilderness overflow
the hills gird themselves with joy. 
 

{Seasons of dryness and pain are dwarfed by His bounty. God is no man’s debtor. Take up your cross–dying to yourself will make you overflow with life in Christ. And there will be joy.}

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The meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.”
 

{Are you stripped now of any fruit? Of any joy? The valleys had dry hot days too; days when their tenders worried there would be no harvest, no growth and all seemed lost. The joy of harvest time was never realized during the uncertain growing season. He’s faithful to the earth, to the smallest grain, the forgotten pile of soil. He clothes them and decks them! Will He not be faithful His own adopted ones? Those He gave His only begotten Son for? If in Him, we’ve been bought with a price, He will never let us go.}

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Photos shared by friend, Karie Ann Bourdet ( www.kbphotography.net). Beautiful, eh?

In His Love


Christ has come to be our shepherd, He has come to be our guide.
Though we walk the path of darkness, Christ will lead us through the night.
Christ has come to bring salvation, He has come to be our light.
Christ has come to bring forgiveness, Jesus is the gift of life.

In His love we have victory, in His sacrifice we have hope again.
In His cross we have glory, in His love we have life.

We will dwell in the spirit of God’s holy gift of grace.
We will worship Him and serve Him, we will sing to give Him praise.
We will tell of His goodness, we will share the peace of Christ.
We will tell the wondrous story, Jesus is the gift of life.

In His love we have victory, in His sacrifice we have hope again.
In His cross we have glory, in His love we have life.

God loved the world and He sent His Son that we might believe in Him.
If we believe we will never die, Christ will bring eternal life.

Faithful Refuge

No matter our circumstance, if we are in Christ, we have every reason to rejoice.  God is our refuge and our strength, therefore even if the earth be moved we do not need to fear, praise Him!

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