Oh, that You would bless me indeed . . .
I Chronicles 4:10a NKJV
I don’t like change. I don’t like flux. Flux is that place between what was and what will be. I hate flux. It’s yet another lesson in faith and patience. You’d think I would have learned faith and patience by now. But no.
I mentioned in my last post that, on Friday evening, September 18th, my van was rear ended and that (thank you, God) no one was hurt. That’s only part of the story. The “Isn’t my husband great” part of the story. The rest of the story is the “Isn’t GOD GREAT!!!” part of the story.
I’ve been praying the Prayer of Jabez since Friday, August 7th.
“Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.” 1 Chronicles 4:10
I read the original book by Bruce Wilkinson and prayed the prayer a few years ago, but I was praying “God, bless me.” with my palms open, waiting. I was praying “God, bless me, indeed!” while rubbing my fingers against my thumb. You know, the “money” gesture. God took one look at my heart and said, “NO.”
Years passed. I got another book, “Beyond Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson. In it, he addressed the critics of the the Prayer of Jabez. Specifically, he addressed the idea that the Prayer of Jabez promoted prosperity theology. He explained. I understood. Since then, August 7th, I’ve been praying:
“Lord, bless me with wisdom and discernment. Bless me with compassion and empathy and kindness. Please bless me with patience. Please bless me with the gift of humble service. Please bless my words and my actions. Bless me with an ability to see opportunities to serve you. Please bless me with the motivation and courage to be immediately obedient when those opportunities are presented to me. Please bless me in any way you choose.”
The morning of September 18, the day the van was rear ended, I wrote this in my prayer journal:
“Lord, if it’s your will, somehow get the NewChurchFamily a dependable vehicle. If your will – our van and allow us to somehow obtain another vehicle. I don’t know where this prayer is coming from Lord, but I’m praying it anyway. Your will. I want to help if I can. Please show me how.”
Less than 12 hours later, FirstHusband (who hardly ever drives my van) was rear-ended on the Florida turnpike in evening traffic.
Um. God? That’s not exactly what I had in mind.
Long story short? Friday morning a week after my prayer, the insurance company called me: “Mrs. Mills, I’m sorry to inform you that your vehicle has been declared a total loss. The estimate to repair the vehicle is $5,1xx and the vehicle has been valued at $4,837. blah, blah, blah – When can we arrange for pickup of the vehicle?”
No more van. But I already knew that. I think I knew that on Friday the 18th, when I prayed for God to show me how I could help.
My insurance company was telling me that they would no longer insure my vehicle under my name. For the savings of around $300, they were telling me that my van was actually just a bunch of salvageable parts which – at the moment – just happened to be connected and operating as a functioning vehicle. They wanted to come and pick it up. Then they would sell it at auction and, most likely it would be stripped for parts.
That didn’t’ work for me.
So I said: “That doesn’t work for me. I need to retain the vehicle and transfer the title to a family who needs it. How do I retain the vehicle?”
LRep (the insurance guy): “You could retain the vehicle for a fee of 20 percent of it’s value, but it would not have a transferable title. The State of Florida doesn’t allow transfer of title on a vehicle that has been declared a total loss.”
Me: “20 percent would be over $800. I don’t have $800. And I need to transfer the title. Can I settle for less than the estimated repair cost? Can I settle for the value of the van?”
LRep: “I’m sorry, Mrs. Mills, the State of Florida won’t allow us to settle for a partial repair, it has to be a complete repair . . . blah, blah, blah.”
Me: LRep? I’m trying to . . . I need to . . . (oh for crying out loud) LRep, can I ask, are you a Christian?
LRep: “Yes, ma’am.”
Me: “Great, then I can just explain this to you.”
So I did. I explained how, for the last 7 days, people and circumstances have led to this moment. How, after the estimator left my house Thursday afternoon without cutting me a check, I knew they were going to total the van. How a friend already told me what the value of the van was and it would be declared a total loss. How, on Thursday, FirstHusband took the van to a paint and body guy – a guy we used to go to church with 15 years ago – a preferred provider for our insurance company – and asked him how much it would cost to make the van legal and safe, but not perfect, and how he said “about $500.” How the family in our church had a 3 year old, a 1 year old and that she was pregnant with twins. How they currently didn’t have a vehicle that all 6 of them could ride in when they brought those babies home from the hospital NEXT MONTH. I told LRep what I prayed on Friday morning. I told him how God had given me an opportunity to serve and I felt a responsibility to follow it all the way through until the opportunity completely fell apart.
Then I asked: “So, that’s the situation. LRep, you do this all the time. How do I solve this problem?”
LRep: (pause) “Well, you need a detailed estimate to completely repair the van, which is lower than the value of the van. I’ll submit that estimate the adjuster for review along with your request to re-classify your van from “total loss” to “completely repairable.”
Me: Like . . . an estimate for $4836?
Me: “LRep, who is the decision maker? Can I speak directly with them?”
LRep: “Yes, ma’am.”
LRep is so polite. Little southern accent going . . . he put me on hold. For more than a few minutes. He was talking to the decision maker. Explaining what the pushy woman on the phone wanted. While I prayed. Gave the entire upcoming conversation to God. I’m just trying to obey. He’s the one who’s gonna make this happen. Or not.
KAdjuster picks up: “This is Kadjustor.”
She did not have a good attitude. She was short. Curt. Abrupt. Businesslike.
I led with: “LRep has explained . . . ”
Kadjuster: “Yes, I know. He told me.”
(Lord, I’m giving this conversation to you.)
Me: “I need to make sure I understand what I need to do, but I also need to confirm that it is legal, ethical and honest. If it’s not, I don’t want to pursue this any further.”
There was a noticeable pause.
Then Kadjuster’s attitude changed completely. She was friendly. Encouraging. She explained the steps again, assured me that everything was in fact, legal, ethical and honest. My paint and body guy needed to submit an estimate for repair that was under the value of the vehicle. She offered to fax the insurance company’s detailed estimate to him to use as a guide. She assured me that my paint and body guy would not be obligated to actually perform the repairs to the vehicle according to his estimate. The title on the van would be transferable. I could use the insurance check toward the purchase another vehicle. Legal. Ethical. Honest.
Me: “Then you would review the new estimate and consider my request?
She called me back that afternoon. It’s a van again – not salvage! I got the check in the mail today. I already told the NewChurchFamily at their baby shower on Sunday. They arrived late due to car trouble. The $500 repairs are also covered. (I’m not stingy with the giving opportunities.) I’m supposed to take my van to my paint and body guy next week. God blessed me – and my family – BIG – by giving me an opportunity to give away my van! Never would have come up with that on my own.
What am I going to drive? Dunno. I’m in flux. That place I usually hate – between what was and what will be.
And I’m on such a God high – I don’t even care.
(For a follow-up to this story, check out blessings require change. part 2.)
God’s providence is not in baskets lowered from the sky, but through the hands of those
who love him. The lad without food and without shoes made the proper answer to the
cruel-minded woman who asked, ‘But if God loved you, wouldn’t he have sent you food and shoes?’
The boy replied, ‘God told someone, but they forgot.