"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let’s Make a Deal!


 “Do you want to go for the car or trade for what’s behind the curtain,” Monty Hall asked, after we nervously priced some grocery items. Though my husband worked for a beer distributor, we only had to be off a little and we’d lose everything. After a whispered conference, I shouted, “We'll take the curtain.” 


A huge photograph of the beach revealed an all-expense paid trip to HI. Tim was ecstatic, but all I could envision was the money we’d have to spend once we got there. So when Monty came back and asked if we wanted to go for the big deal of the day—I was ready. Deep inside I knew it was behind door #2 and we need to take the risk. Tim wasn’t quite so sure. “Quick, ask God what to do!!” When Monty pressed for an answer, my husband said, “Let’s go for it.”


Sure enough, we won the big deal of the day. Yet, when the curtain opened, I could hardly believe my eyes. Not one thing we needed, and we needed everything. As the mother of two young boys—aged 2 and 10—I fought back tears as Jay Stewart described our prize: “Direct from a Beverly Hills showroom, a satin-finished white couch, ultra-modern chairs, brass-and-glass tables and the ugliest modern-looking television ever invented.” Oh, he didn’t really say that, but that’s what I saw. Though the designer furniture was worth over $11,000.00, all I could think of was that we’d owe taxes on it.


Part of my frustration stemmed from an even bigger risk we'd taken when I quit a good job a few months earlier to stay home with our sons. For months I’d asked for wisdom and finally received a clear indicator that this was the right direction for my family. But sometimes the results of our conversations with God, don’t look the way we think we should. By the time we went to Let’s Make a Deal, financially we were running on empty. Now, I couldn’t believe we'd won such a useless prize.

Some people might think it strange to believe God would care about the details of our lives. But from silly game shows to life-changing decisions, each time I’ve deliberately asked for answers, He’s responded in ways that built my confidence to trust Him more. Hannah Whitall Smith—a woman who lived from 1832 to 1911--explains this concept in her classic work: The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life.

“The will of our God is better and sweeter than health or friends or money or fame or ease or prosperity. It gilds the darkest hours with a divine halo and sheds brightest sunshine on the gloomiest paths. He who has made God’s will his kingdom always reigns, and nothing can go wrong with him. Surely, then, it is nothing but a glorious privilege that is opening before you when I tell you that the first step you must take in order to enter into the life hidden with Christ in God is that of entire consecration. I cannot have you look at it as a hard and stern demand. You must do it gladly, thankfully, enthusiastically. You must go in on what I call the privilege side of consecration; and I can assure you, from a blessed experience, that you will find it the happiest place you have ever entered yet.”

There's a direct correlation between remembering that my life has been set apart for God and being happy. Even when that furniture sat piled in our tiny family room with the doors closed for over a year, I found contentment when I contemplated His purposes. Finally, just before tax-time, we sold everything and cleared about $2,000. The money was enough to buy my first computer. That purchase took my tiny stay-at-home business to the next level—something no trip could have ever done--something we probably wouldn’t have realized if we hadn’t waited so long trying to figure out what God had in mind.

To devote my circumstances to God’s purposes and be willing to “wait on Him,” makes jumping into life’s adventures take on meaning and purpose. And, discovering what they are fills my heart with joy. Tomorrow, maybe another fun story about the benefits of waiting. Oh, by the way—we even had enough money left over from the sale of that furniture to buy a new television--one that suited our tastes far better.

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