I’m not perfect.
I realize that’s a strange way to begin, but I thought I’d set the tone of transparency early. I’ve been told that I always smile. I’ve been told that I always look happy. I do my best to smile and be of encouragement to others, but in no way will I sit here and say that I “have it all together”. Sorry.
I fail every day. I stumble in my walk. I’m a sinner. I don’t have all the answers. I do fun things from time-to-time, but I have to sacrifice a lot behind-the-scenes. I went about 5 years in Los Angeles without a car. I have attended cool sporting events and eaten some tasty foods along the way. I’ve also not attended social functions because I didn’t want to awkwardly be the only one not ordering anything. Many people see pictures of me getting on airplanes and think I have it all, when in reality, I haven’t been on a vacation in about 6 years.
In September 2014, I had just returned to America after a season of intense output [of service]. I was in Texas on a Sunday and, while at church, heard the pastor use the following passage:
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”
1 Kings 17:8-16 (ESV)
I didn’t know the season of life I was about to enter, but God did. My financial situation began to get a little tight, so I made adjustments where I could. I received and served on a trial. During the 5-week civic duty experience, I wasn’t able to accomplish much work for Walk The Talk. My finances got pretty scary. I had to find excuses to not have lunch with the jurors. I came to a point where I had to make decisions to pay certain bills on time or have some money to eat that week. I panicked. I cried. I prayed.
God led me back to the that passage.
I went to church that Sunday and bumped into an old face who worked at the same school I once did. She had retired a few years back and I had since left, so we had not crossed paths in quite some time. While in the hallway, she asked to see me after service. I obliged, and we chatted outside after service. Before we parted ways, she reached toward my hand and gave me a $50 bill. Mind you, none of our conversation spoke of my current financial hardship. The next Sunday, another member of the church did something similar. This continued for 4 consecutive weeks. I cried in gratitude when I went to sleep. There was no answer besides the Lord’s provision.
I have a car today. The Lord provided me the means to eat today. He also gave me the strength to put two feet on the floor this morning, so He had a purpose for me being here today. He has purposed me here on Earth to bring a smile to people’s faces. Every morning that I can put two feet on the floor, I shall keep bringing Him praise.
When I was growing up, when you’d enter the house from the garage, there was a poster of “Footprints in the Sand” at the top of the stairs. I stared at it, read it, and meditated on it day-after-day for years. I was secure in knowing that when I was caught in a storm, the Lord wouldn’t leave me to drown. May the words that comforted me speak to you at the perfect time.
THIS is why I smile.