I’d like to share some things that have happened in my life and the lives of the people closest to me. It has happened in just the past few weeks and it shows how the Lord works. It shows how the Lord uses bad things for the good of those who believe in and trust Him, as well as how He answers prayers and directs our lives. For me, the events of the last few weeks have been a powerful affirmation of my faith. This is why I want to share it: to invite other believers to rejoice with me, and to show those who are still in the darkness exactly what the Light looks like and how it works.
This latest episode in my story started a few weeks ago. I was struggling to finish a major project in my own business when I was informed that I would have to make time to learn how to build my company’s new web site. In the past, I had always had others help me with this. I knew nothing about designing a web store, integrating a shopping cart, inputting all of my products and getting it all hosted. Nor did I have time for it as I was struggling to finish that major project. However, I had to do both or lose my company, so I did it. In less than a month, I figured out how to build my new web store and finished my project.
Now, as if that had not been enough, it was during this period that the Lord told me to start reading a book I have had for a while. I had started to read it several times before and, each time, I was told to put it away. But, in the middle of struggling to build my new web store and finish my project, the Lord told me to take up this book and start reading it. So I did, and it lead me to another book that I was also told to read. I’ll be sharing what I learned with you soon enough, but the point at hand was these two books prepared me to help several friends of mine who were struggling with a spiritual problem that, had I not read these two books beforehand, I might not have been of the right mind to help them when I was called to do so. The end result was, when it came time, I was mentally and emotionally prepared to do what was asked of me, and I did my part when I was asked.
Now, helping these friends involved a lot of people, including my wife and other members of my immediate family. The situation was both stressful and emotionally draining, but we all got through it. Now, keep in mind, I was still building my webs tore and finishing this major project while this was happening. And on top of this, I was praying to the Lord for guidance in a matter that has been before me for a while.
For some time now, I have felt that the Lord was calling me to a more purposeful service. I have been praying for His help in understanding what that might be, and I still don’t think He has given me the complete answer. However, no sooner had I gotten through helping my friends than I was asked to do something else that will take a great deal of my time. Several readers of this and my other blog have asked me to put large parts of my writing on several topics into pdf format so they can be preserved. Now, please understand, I am not complaining, and you’ll know that to be true in a moment. But I am my entire business. I am a one-man show, so anything that takes me away from my shop takes me away from my primary source of income. This is why I have been praying and begging the Lord for answers. What does He want me to do?
Well, last week, yet another reader contacted me to ask how he could help me make these pdf files a reality. You see, not only will it take time, but there is also a cost connected to it that, frankly, I couldn’t afford right now. It is not that I am unwilling to pay the cost, it is just that all the time that I was taking away from actually running my business had been costing me money and I simply didn’t have it. But this other reader offered to pay the start-up cost, and he has. So I have started working on the changes necessary to move The OYL to an independent hosting site so I can do the things I need to do but which cannot be done if I stay with Word Press. This is going to take time, time I do not have, but I am going to do it.
There is one last piece of this puzzle to share before I tie it all together for you. This morning, I went to mix a product I use in my business. It is rather costly, and, as I have said, my business is under some financial strain right now. As I was just about finished mixing this product, I realized that I had been shipped the wrong item. One of the products I was mixing was not correct, but I had already mixed it. This ruined the whole batch, and I simply did not have the money to replace it which, honestly, would have put me out of business. But I stayed calm and called my vendor, who had made this same mistake in the past, and I explained what had happened. The last time, I caught it before I mixed the materials. This time, I was in a hurry and I didn’t catch it. So I asked my supplier to help.
Now, while my supplier was asking their manager what they could do for me, I received an order on my web store. The order came in just minutes after I hung up with my supplier. I did not look at it, I just printed it and stuck it in my in folder. A half hour later, my supplier called back and offered me a solution. In the end, I agreed to pay 1/3 the cost of the mistake. I still did not know where to get the money, but it was better than having to pay the full cost. So I hung up and looked at the order that had come in earlier. It was for $1.50 more than what I had just agreed to pay!
Now, let me tie things together for you. In the past few weeks, the Lord has shown me that I can trust Him. He will get me ready for whatever task He has set before me (remember those two books?). He will answer my prayers and make provisions for whatever will be required to do what He asks me to do (remember my reader who paid to start the changes to this blog?). He will even take care of my company, thus taking care of me. You see, when I messed up the mixing of my product today, I literally made it so I cannot work until the 5th. It will take that long to get replacement product shipped to me and ready for use. So I was given 4-5 days to set up the new blog page. On top of that, I received an order for exactly the amount I had to pay to cover the mixing mistake. So the Lord has shown me that He does want me to serve Him and others by setting up the new blog, and that He will not only direct my actions, but provide the time and money necessary to support my efforts. And the whole time, I see that I am serving Him by helping others — through my business, through ministry to the people closest to me and through my efforts here on The OYL.
Now, I know other believers will rejoice with me over this because they will recognize God’s hand in it. But I hope others will see that there was too much here to be simple coincidence. There were too many ‘moving parts,’ and the timing was too ‘perfect’ for any of this to have been the result of random chance. This is how the Lord works and I had to share it. I just hope it helps others to feel firm in their faith or, better yet, come to faith for the first time.