A STEP UP

We’ve been rejoicing this week in several things the Lord has provided lately for our family. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we had ordered a Sleep Comfort adjustable bed for Robbie. It came this week and we are truly enjoying it. It is everything we had hoped it would be for him and is certainly a big step up from the mattress and air mattress we had on the floor. The first time I raised the head and foot of the bed and turned on the massager for Robbie his head whipped around and he got a look of wonder on his face. He grinned from ear to ear. He still gets tickled every time I raise or lower the bed as if he were going on some carnival ride! It is going to work out just fine. I was afraid it would look obtrusive in the living room since it is a little bigger than his old bed, but it doesn’t at all. In fact, I got a beautiful new quilt for it and it looks even prettier. So Robbie is happy, and Mama is happy, and when Robbie and Mama are happy, Daddy is happy, too! What a happy little family we are!

Something else happened this week, also, that brought a smile to Bob’s face. He got a call from his former place of employment asking if he would come back to work for them. He was laid off from his job last October and was unemployed for three and a half months before a different former employer called him and offered him a job at a quite substantially higher rate of pay. Although he loved the people and had enjoyed his job there, he was able to tell them “no thanks” since this new job is going well and is a step up for us. What a blessing to even have another job fairly quickly in this market, to be making quite a bit more money, and to be wanted by both companies because of his strong work ethic, integrity and good people skills. It makes him feel good to see that many times his testimony has made an impression on his co-workers and employers even years after they have parted ways. It is so nice, too, to be able to pay our bills each month without wondering how we can possibly stretch that paycheck to cover everything. We are truly thanking the Lord for giving us a little step up financially after many years of barely being able to make it.

Laurie and Fernando got a step up this week, too! They have been house-hunting since last July when their landlord told them he was planning to sell the house despite the fact that they had more than a year and a half left on their lease with him. They had put a lot of money, blood, sweat and tears into that house making it livable and a cozy home for their large family and although it certainly wasn’t fancy, it fit them perfectly. Moreover, the rent they were paying was a bargain – only $300 a month. Where would they find as good a price for rent as that?

The truth was – they wouldn’t. For the last seven or eight months they have diligently kept up the house hunt, looking at two or three houses almost every week. Everything they looked at that fit the size, condition and area they needed was $800 – $1000 a month. If the price was under $500 a month, the house was either a tiny cracker box, trashed, too far out of the city, in a bad area of town or something that made it unworkable for them and their special needs. They weren’t being picky but they had to have a study for Fernando, a place to do home-schooling, space for having people over in their ministry, bedrooms for seven people, etc. A tiny patch of yard or patio where the kids could get outside a bit would be a plus. A safe neighborhood was essential, and not having to sink a lot of money, time and energy into just making a house habitable for them was important now that their ministry was growing and demanded so much of them.

They finally found the house this week! It is in a nice, quiet neighborhood and is certainly a big step up from the house they are living in now! It is beautiful, and so much more than they had asked the Lord for. It is large, with all the space they needed – and far more space than they have now for having people over – beautifully finished and move-in ready. They had looked at several other houses of that size and quality and they all were around $1000 a month. This one was $500. That was $200 more than they are spending now, but after looking at more than a hundred other houses they knew they would not find anything for even close to what they now pay that would work. If they were going to have to spend a minimum of $460 or $480 for something that needed a lot of work and money poured into it before they could even move in, than they would rather just spend the $20 or $40 a month more and get this “perfect” house.

They are all thrilled, and after seeing the pictures Fernando sent, we are all delighted for them. They will make the move in April. Laurie says it will be the nicest house they’ve ever lived in and so much more than she would have ever asked the Lord for. He has provided far above what they ever dreamed of!

Isn’t that just like our Father to do, though? One of His names is Jehovah Jireh—which literally means The Lord Will Provide. Our Father supplies all our needs—what we need for our daily lives, as well as what we need to carry out His work. But even more than providing all our basic needs as He promises in Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:19 (“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”), He is able to do far more than we ask or could even think! Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” I am always happy and grateful when the Lord supplies the very basics, and when He goes so much further and provides so many of our wants, too – well, what an extra special blessing that is! And then when He steps it up even a notch further and gives beyond what we could even dream of, it is an amazing and humbling experience!

I have never asked God for great riches or a fancy house or all the material things that so many Americans enjoy. I have tried to take Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11, 12 to heart: “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” We need to be content no matter what our circumstances, and to set our hearts and minds on heavenly values rather than earthly gain or material goods. Someday we’ll enjoy our mansion in Heaven and this house here on earth, no matter how grand, will seem pitiful in comparison. In the meantime, though, when God does surprise us with that little something extra from time to time, we can enjoy it and be grateful, and pray that we will be just as content the next time He allows us to “be abased.” A nice house, a bigger paycheck – even a comfortable bed – are only temporary and can easily be lost. Let us, as the old chorus says, keep eternity’s values in view and be grateful to God no matter what our earthly circumstances!

“With eternity’s values in view, Lord, with eternity’s values in view…
May I do each day’s work for Jesus, with eternity’s values in view!”

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