Not long ago, I made the decision to get a tune up for my vehicle at a place that I knew honored the Lord (Gallagher’s Garage in Kanata, Ontario, Canada — a good place, by the way). In my spirit, I felt so “satisfied” knowing that these people served the same One that I knew and believed in, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And these people didn’t just serve him with their lips, they put their money where their mouth was, too, for they were financially sponsoring a radio show that was and is still being broadcast in the Ottawa region, Focus on the Family, with Dr. James Dobson (a real favorite with many people, Christian and non-Christian alike).
So I called them up and spoke with a fine sounding gentleman on the other end of the line. I explained to him my situation, saying, “My van is acting up. I think it needs a tune up.” I told him some of the symptoms, and he said to me, “Depending on what it is, you’re looking at anywhere from about $200.00 minimum to a maximum of $500.00 (Canadian dollars, by the way, which is about 2/3 of the value of a US dollar). One of the reasons it would cost this much was it was a Ford Aerostar, which required a lot of labor even to do simple jobs! (Ouch!) But I had clearly mentioned to the man that I would be bringing my car in. That was my conviction, and I had a real peace about that. I knew it was the right thing to do. My spirit told me that this was a good decision and there was no complaining about it.
But lo and behold, I found myself soon afterwards at a meeting in which a good friend of mine suggested, “Why take it there? Why don’t you take it to such-and-such a garage down the road? For they are cheaper.” But what my friend did not really realize was that: he was comparing his little car to my big van in terms of how much it would cost. He also did not fully understand that I had essentially made a committment to bringing the van into Gallagher’s by virtue of what I had said with my lips! My friend was only trying to make a good suggestion that could save me money. But what happened was that I followed him up on this advice and brought my van to the ‘alternate’ place that he suggested. Yes, it looked like a good place to bring a van for a tune up. But when they called me up on the phone and told me how much it would cost (410.00 plus tax = $471.50) I had second thoughts.
Actually, the ‘second thoughts’ that I had were thoughts of conviction of sin, because I had earlier on essentially promised that I would take my van into the first place, and not the second place. By bringing my van to the second place — for the sake of saving money — I was essentially ‘breaking my vow’ to God to bring my van to the first place. Could it be that God was not too pleased by this decision? Well, I got that very ‘aweful’ feeling in my stomach, and mind – – and whereever you get those feelings — and I was fully convinced (now) that I needed to call up the first place and have them cancel the job that I had only minutes earlier told them to go ahead with. Something inside told me, “If you don’t cancel it now, there will be consequences down the road.” I didn’t want those consequences. I knew what those “consequences” could be like. Making up for sin is always a LOT harder than repenting of it. I decided that NOW was the time to act, so I did.
“Excuse me”, I said to the man over the phone. “But have you started that job yet?” “Yes we have,” the man told me. “Why? Do you want us not to go ahead with it?” “Well, yes,” I replied. “I’d like you to stop it.” I knew there would be a charge for that, but I didn’t care. All I cared about now was getting right with the Lord. The man told me it would be less than $40.00 to start at square one and pick up my van, and I told him I’d be over to pick it up, which I did soon afterwards. Later, driving to the ‘other’ place — the first place that I had made the vow to bring my van to — well, lo and behold, God began to move in that vehicle to the point where I was in tears and I could feel the presence of his Spirit. It was real! By the time I had gotten there, by the grace of God, the tears were all dried up — but I must have had 15 solid minutes of God’s powerful presence in my midst; ministry and all (deliverance, tears, etc.).
When I got there, the Lord instantly put me in touch with the only non-Christian around, an employee by the name of John (please pray for John). We talked for about 30 minutes. It was obvious that the Lord had set this up and that this was no ‘coincidence’ that I was talking with him. Even though John had worked with this fine Christian family-owned business for about three years, yet he still did not know the Lord. I felt the Lord’s direction in our conversation. I shared with John quite a number of things that I know that God will be using to draw John to God’s side. This was, to put it mildly, a ‘divine setup’ something like I experienced 15 years prior to that time when God sent a Christian woman to speak to me about Christ for 4 long hours (in John and my case, it was only 1/2 an hour, but it could extend beyond that, who knows, in the future).
Now the whole thing turned into a glorious time of sharing with not only John, but the Christian woman of the family, who I was able to share with about what I could see that God was doing in John’s life. She confirmed everything I said and I could see that God was lifting both me as well as her up and giving us mutual encouragement in the Lord. Then, it was time to go. I got the loaner car, and was off. Upon arriving back at my workplace — wouldn’t you know it — but the Lord immediately directed me to take a break. I like french fries, so I ordered a wonderfully greasy plate of french fries from the cafeteria. Now you have to know me, but I get a little concerned when people are skimpy on french fries and all too often I have found this to be the case. But this time was different! The lady not only heaped on the french fries into a ‘mountain’ on my plate, but when I asked her for some mayonnaise on those french fries, she heaped on one, two, and then three GIANT spoonfools, equal to the equivalent of about 1/2 a cup, which is what I LOVE! After heaping on the third spoonful, she glanced up and with all sincerity said, “Do you want some more?”
I knew what God was saying to me! It was clear! He was saying, “Follow me, and I will heap it on; it will be so much that you cannot contain it.” There was no coincidence here. God had seen my ‘turn around’ as I was willing to lay down my agenda of saving money for his agenda of obeying his word … and, as I would soon be reminded of, saving souls.
“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9)