|Vancouver's West End from across False Creek|
Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. Nehemiah 9:21.
God provided water, meat, manna, whatever the Israelites needed while in the desert. Miraculously, their clothes did not wear out in 40 years, and none of them ever sprained an ankle, and He delivered them from their enemies.
When my career moved me to Vancouver again in 1995, we bought a house, in a very nice neighborhood, in Abbotsford, about 50 miles out into the Fraser Valley. You may remember hearing in the news, about the Abbotsford killer in the mid nineteen-nineties. He raped two young girls, killed one of them, then taunted the police for weeks until a family member recognized his voice and turned him in. He was the son of a policeman.
It was an anxious time for all of Abbotsford, and we warned our children, who were in their early teens, and any visitors, that they could not go walking any further than the corner store and had to be back before dark. As it turned out, in walking to the corner store, they had to walk right past the killer’s house. He lived around the corner; about two blocks from us.
Remember the woman I visited with Pastor Mark, in the hospital, in Port Hardy? She and her husband were the previous residents of that same house. Weird, eh?
|Vancouver, British Columbia, and the lower mainland|
When I got to Vancouver, I went to see my brother at the transmission shop where he worked. I told him I was looking for a commuter car, and he suggested his co-worker’s VW Jetta. It had a recently rebuilt motor and was in great shape. I bought it. It served my commuting very well for about three years.
It withstood being hit from behind three times, including once when I was about to park in front of my office, and the driver of the half ton behind me was half asleep. I watched him in the rear view mirror, knowing he was going to hit me hard. He hit me without even slowing down. I got the back-end fixed for the third time and then gave the car to my son.
Needing a new car, I searched all over the B.C. lower mainland for something economical, sporty, and in my meager price range. I looked from Chilliwack to North Vancouver and could not find the right car, even though I had no real idea what the right car was. I just knew that I would know it when I saw it.
After weeks of frustration, and my wife asking me if I had prayed about it (which I hadn’t), I finally started talking to the Lord about it.
“Lord,” I said, one morning on the way to work, “I know that you already know what car I’m going to buy next, so instead of me chasing around all over British Columbia looking for it, why don’t you just bring it to me?” I can be awfully blunt sometimes, even to God. Honesty and sincerity are essentials in prayer, I think.
Immediately after I got to the office, and after the customary, "Good morning, Houston", from my staff, the phone rang, and it’s a young lady on whose answering machine I had left a message the night before inquiring about the car she had for sale. She described the Nissan Pulsar, and the price, and told me that she had to buy a new car to keep within a new vehicle reimbursement policy at the newspaper she worked for.
It sounded perfect. I asked when and where I could see it. She asked, “Where do you work?”
“Airport Square,” I replied, “Do you know where that is?”
|Airport Square, Vancouver. My office door|
was just above the car on the right, in the
“Oh yes,” she answered, “I’ll be driving past it in a couple minutes. Do you have time to look at it now?”
“Yes, of course,” I replied, stunned at the remarkable answer to prayer that was about to take place. Sometimes I am certain that the Lord thinks it's very funny to answer my most absurd prayers.
A couple of minutes later, I walked outside my office door, and she pulled up right in front of me. We went for a short test drive, and I bought the car; how could I not?
It was a beautiful, little, white sports-car with a hard roof that could be removed in about a minute. It worked great, was easy on gas, very comfortable, a lot of fun, and a remarkable answer to prayer.
As mentioned above, I related this story to a friend and a few days later got this wonderful response:
I want to thank you for your timely encouragement. I really hate car shopping but with all of my daughter's, and now my appointments, it is difficult not to have one.
Jeannie's daughter suffers from a debilitating and dangerous illness, and now, Jeannie, herself has been physically injured in the car accident that totaled her car, which has served to dramatically increase an existing anxiety disorder.
I had been looking on line for vehicles that were in my price range, low mileage. I wanted a car like the one that got wrecked because it would have the features I wanted and could afford.
I wasn’t up to getting my rental car until Monday and was really pleased when they gave me a car similar to my old one to use, however, right away I noticed that they changed the body style which created a lot of blind spots and I was really afraid to use it. So I started looking on-line for older models but after much searching I became very discouraged.
ICBC paid me out and my rental was up on Thursday when I returned the car and thought I would just try to figure out taxi’s for a few weeks until I felt up to it more and wished, like you did, that God would just bring me a car.
Then on Friday a car looking very much like my old one pulled into my parking spot and my sister got out and told me this story.
My sister is a very caring person who loves the Lord. She lives in Chilliwack and had been praying God would provide the right car for me. She was driving around that day when she felt there was a voice telling her to turn down a road, it was very strong and persistent so she did and there she saw a car dealership. She went in and told them that I was looking for a used car and they directed her to another dealer just down the street.
When she drove up there were a number of salesmen standing in front but she saw this one woman and felt that is who she had to speak to. She told her my story, that I needed something low mileage, what ICBC had given me and that I could only afford to spend a couple thousand more. She said this woman was really touched and wanted to help so she spent about a half an hour on the phone trying to find something but came back and said she couldn’t find anything.
Then she suddenly remembered that a car had just come in that morning on a trade in. She thought it would be perfect and so did my sister but there was a lot of other interest in it and it was for a lot more money. She went and talked to the owner of the dealership and was gone for a long time. When she came back she had gotten several thousand dollars knocked off the price and told my sister she could hold it for me if she put a deposit on it. My sister agreed and as they were writing up the deposit someone else came in with a check for the full price so they told him it was sold. She also told my sister to drive it to me to try out but if I didn’t want it she would get her deposit back.
I was still very skeptical as it was a car I had never even looked at or knew anything about. When I saw the car my first thought was “Oh no, what have you done” and when she told me the story I worried about how I was going to tell her this is not the right car.
I told her I was afraid to drive so she said that she would drive it for me, but I said no, I could not possibly buy a car that I hadn’t test driven. We checked over the features and it had almost everything I had been looking for and much better visibility than my old car. I asked my daughter to pray and we took it for a drive.
I thought I would only go around the block but the more I drove it the more comfortable and safe I felt and I even took it out on the highway. I was still skeptical though, and am not an impulse buyer, but your story kept going through my head, so I called my mechanic and asked about the car he said they were great but recommended I bring it in to be checked. I said that sounded good but I was sure he couldn’t fit me in today. To my surprise he said that he could in about an hour, which meant we could still get it back to the dealer before the 6pm deadline.
The mechanic's report came back saying it was in excellent condition. So we drove back to Chilliwack, I bought it and drove it home. Now I own a lovely car, 6 years newer than my old one, with low mileage and I got it for less than I thought I would ever find something for.
God is really amazing, and I am so thankful for your timely words of encouragement because they stopped me from immediately saying no and not even trying the car out.