September 5, 2006
I’ve seen my husband lose a lot of things over the past 3 years of our marriage. I watched as he lost his entire financial savings—IRA’s and investments stocks—because of a turn in the road we didn’t expect. I watched him lose his dream job overseas in his dream country, New Zealand, and I saw him suffer the loss of a business that failed. I saw his heart be hammered with blow after blow after blow, until I often asked the Lord, “When will this stop? How much more can he take?” My husband is a pilot and loves to fly, but I remember two years ago when he sold all of his flight equipment on ebay because we needed the money for rent and groceries and diapers. I watched him lose his light-hearted, carefree spirit because of the weight of providing and leading our little family, and I watched him suffer humiliation because of “failed ministry.”
Another thing he lost along the way was his all-time favorite car—a Toyota 4runner. He especially loved the older models that look more like trucks. We had owned two and sold them both because of moves overseas. We would always have discussions about which 4runner models and colors we liked best, knowing that the likelihood of us ever being able to afford one again was slim.
And yet, I prayed. Ever since we moved to Woodland Park, I have been walking many early mornings, and I would ask the Lord for that particular car for my husband. I knew it was such a specific, extravagant, illogical request, and yet, I so wanted a 4runner for Matt, so wanted him to be restored a bit, for his masculine heart to be awarded. I would also walk with my kids around town, and whenever we would pass 4runners, we would ask for that kind of car to be given to daddy.
Two weeks ago, we were down to one car. Though people offered to let us borrow a car, Matt chose to ride a bike or walk because he felt deeply that somehow God was going to provide something for us more permanently. My husband has a gift of faith, a gift of believing God can do the unusual, the gift of expecting great things from Him. And, so, he pursued another older 4runner in the hopes that it would be given to our family, and he continued to ride his bike and pray.
Then Kelley Leigh asked if I would have Matt at the park so people could “love on him some.” An odd request, I thought, but then I dared to hope. . .
The morning of Sept. 5th, I was reading in Psalms 84 from The Message . . . “God is generous in gifts and glory. He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.” My three-year-old and I talked about how God gives his kids big gifts, how his heart is to bless us extravagantly, beyond our expectations, defying logic. And in my spirit, I had hopeful expectation all day, that maybe, just maybe, God would provide for us with a car or money. I knew that if we were given money, Matt wouldn’t go out and spend it on a 4runner. He would probably put it in savings and use a part to buy a cheaper car for himself. Or, IF we were given a car, surely it wouldn’t happen to be a Toyota 4runner. I mean, what are the odds? Could God? Sure. But would He?
He did. Before we had breathed a word to anyone that Matt Parker loves Toyota 4runners, people were already making moves to purchase one on our behalf. Money was raised in 30 hours, and extra money was raised and given to us, as well. Amid a sea of people we have grown to love, we turn around and there in a parking lot is a beautiful white 1997 Toyota 4runner (older, truck model!) with a big red bow on it.
Amazing. Unexplainable. Beyond expectations. That’s the kind of God we serve. The kind of God that does long to give extravagantly, and the kind of God that knows what particular gifts will be extravagant to each of us, in our different stories. He doesn’t scrimp. What a God-story we now have to tell.
Despite my emotional blubbering displayed here, this is a good one to watch . . .