God's Behind The Wheel
Have I ever told you about the time that John, myself, and our children drove across country by faith? Literally. We had $150 in our checking account and no savings to dip into. Do not misunderstand me, we did not set out with the intensions to drive across America with next to nothing to fund such a trip. However, God was teaching us to release the steering wheel and allow Him to drive our destiny. We were learning to yield to even deeper levels to God, who deeply desired to show us, by experience, that He can still do the ridiculous…just like He did in the Bible (both the Old and the New Testament accounts of His Glory).
He once again, showed up and showed off, and He did it extraordinarily well. One of the things I love about God is we can always count on Him to be consistent and extraordinary. Simply Magnificent and Magical in a way that the LORD alone can do and none can duplicate.
It was the spring of 2006. John received a call from his father inviting us to visit them in June. We already had a trip planned to vacation with John’s family in North Carolina at Holden Beach in August. In our mind, two trips to the east coast would be more than we could afford. John’s Dad shared that they were missing the children and couldn’t wait until August and they also had a gift for us that we needed to collect. John’s Dad continued to share that he wanted to purchase a new car and after discussing it with John’s mother, they decided they wanted to give us the car they had, rather than trading it in.
For us, this was an absolute miracle. We were in need of a car, but John’s family did not know this. We strongly felt we were not to go finance a car. Sometimes, you just have to trust God even when you have to wait for His timing to answer a need that is very real and pertinent in your life. So, instead of “making it happen” ourselves; thus meeting our own need, we waiting on the Lord in prayer. We shared with no one that we needed a car. My parents were the only people who knew our need. This is how we always handled our needs before the Lord. We never petitioned or bartered with man, we only petitioned God in prayer. We always felt it was a greater demonstration of HIS power to make a way if we pursued our needs in this manner. Though I believe there are times to ask for help, this was not one of them. With all this being said, you can imagine our joy to hear those unexpected words, “we want to give you a car.” Not only was it extremely generous, but the car they were giving us was only a few years old and was in pristine condition with minimal mileage. John’s Dad continued on that they would help us pay for airfare to Connecticut (where they live) if we did the footwork and found decent prices on the plane tickets. Again, God came through. We found ridiculously low priced tickets and our entire family was off to Connecticut in June, for a fraction of the price we should have paid.
The plan was to visit a few weeks, then I would fly home with the children and John would drive our new car back. This was a great plan. John is a survivalist by nature and we had no doubt that he could pack water and food and plow his way cross country with minimal stops, making it home in only a few days. He had done it several times before. So, why was it that for most of our visit back east I had this nagging feeling in my chest that it wasn’t what God wanted us to do? In fact, I had this overwhelming sense that the kids and I should also ride home with John in the car. BAD IDEA! At least, that is what I kept telling the Lord in prayer. No matter how I tried to reason with God I could not shake it, like a knowing in my gut. I finally told John what I was sensing. He agreed with me, “BAD IDEA”! All of our common sense pointed out together, in agreement, how much more expensive and time consuming it would be to bring the entire tribe of McBride across country. Even though our children are seasoned traveler and they do great on the road or in a plane, it would still mean hotels, meals, and more stops than I could imagine!
As our time in Connecticut was coming to a close, only a few days left to visit, I began to feel afraid. We had already been through so much the previous few years with the selling of our home and giving everything away. Even though it was a wonderful season of miracles, it was also very hard.
The growing and development of extraordinary faith is for the spirit what an intense workout, beyond your ability, would be for the body. It hurts even if it’s good for you.
I wanted a time of rest and recovery, not more faith stretching workouts! God, however, had more for me in mind. I feared that we would run out of money for such a trip and would be forced to pan handle for provision (which shows you how ridiculous fear is. For if needed, either set of our parents would have given us a credit card number I am sure). I wondered if this was all part of God’s journey for me? After all, nothing would give me more grace for the homeless beggar than to make me endure it! Just when my fear was beginning to tug fiercely at my heart, God dropped this bomb into my mind and my spirit…Psalm 37:25. Peace washed over me and caused my every doubt and fear to flee. I had a new boldness and confidence appear that I hadn’t had before and I knew everything would be just fine. All it took was this simple promise from His word:
“I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25
Truth so pure it cut straight through any trepidation I was feeling, allowing me to break free into crystal clear vision, faith and courage to do the very thing God was asking of me. Now, if I was yet lacking in the faith and confidence to follow through, later that same day I received a phone call from a friend who lives in Texas. (Can I just say, I am beyond blessed to have faith filled friends who know who they are in Christ all over this country! It. Is. Awesome!) She knew nothing of the internal battle I was having with God, but she heard God speak to her about me. He told her to call me and tell me that she hadn’t any peace about me flying home, but she felt I was to ride in the car with John. ISN’T GOD GOOD!? YES, HE IS!!! So, John and I had to work up the courage to tell his folks, who would no doubt think we were nuts!
We told them and they did think it was a bit foolish, but they love us and know we have wisdom and common sense and hear the Lord. So, they supported us in our decision and showered love and grace upon us as they always do…they took us to Sam’s Club and bought us a bunch of “car food”. John and I are both so blessed with amazing parents!
Here is where my story truly steps into the realm of walking by faith, just as Peter walked upon the water. If you are from Northern California and you remember anything at all about 2006 you may recall it was a very wet year. In fact, John couldn’t work for six solid weeks because he did all of his consulting/training of athletes at a local park. It rained every single day and every day it rained represented a day that we didn’t make any money. It was a very lean year for us. So, when it was time to drive across the country with babes in tow, we had only $150 in our checking account. We didn’t dare tell John’s parents. We knew they would give us money and we felt like God wanted us to do this alone, relying only on Him. You may feel this story too far outside your realm of faith, but I know what God did for us on that journey. I know what He was doing inside of me. He was asking us to test him in the finance. The book of Malachi speaks of testing God in the tithe (giving). Consider this journey a sort of tithe or giving if you will. He wanted to teach us abundantly clear, over and over, driving His point home…He is our Source.
Miracle number one of the drive home was the food from Sam’s Club (thanks Mom and Dad). Miracle two…we had gotten to Pennsylvania before needing to stop for gas. Gas was at an all time height in price. $80 into the gas tank of this little mini van that got approximately 400 gallons to a tank. It consumed over half of our $150. How in the world was this going to work? You better believe I was reciting Psalm 37:25 over and over and over again! “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread!” Just in case God had forgotten his word (smile). About a half of an hour down the road John gets a phone call from a friend of ours who was a young college student. We knew (and still know) countless young people. We have a heart for them, coach them, train them, mentor and love on them. This particular student told us that he had gone to our bank and made a deposit under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He didn’t want to tell us, but he was worried about why God would ask such a thing, so he wanted to call and make sure we were ok. What an incredible encouragement that was. God’s people are all unified, One Body, many parts, called to walk in unity. All we need to do is listen to the Father and yield to His will and he makes all of our paths straight. Though we have many and varied likes/dislikes, tastes, passions, personalities and backgrounds…we have HIM in common and it is possible to walk together with one mind and one heart…beating together for him.
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding, but in all of your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Our dear friend was only able to deposit $80, but don’t you know, it was a tank of gas. To God be all the Glory. Our entire trip looked like this. My faithful friend in Texas interceded us the entire way home. I have another friend I called in Portland who prayed us through also. On the journey home, we managed to stop at a large event for our business so John could be a guest speaker. We mingled with more friends from the southern part of the United States, Oklahoma to be exact. We shared with them that we were driving across country and how God changed our plans, but we didn’t ask them for a penny. God blew me out of the water one more time. Several of our friends, each on their own, gave us a cash blessing for our trip. How beautiful is the body of Christ. One of my girl friends got down on her knee, looked my daughter in the eye, and told her that she and her brothers were so good during the meeting that she wanted to give them a little something for our trip home. Then she pulled out four $100 bills and said, “There is one here to represent each of you.” How beautiful.
But the greatest help came when a friend of ours who lives in Wisconsin. A spirit-filled, Pentecostal, Catholic…heard the call of the Lord on his heart and he phoned us up to check on us. He proceeded to tell us that he had to obey the Lord who was telling him to pay for our hotel room every night. What a blessing, so sweet it was humbling to receive. So, we would call our friend by the end of the day and he would call ahead to the town we planned to sleep and book us a room. We told him to conserve his funds, our only desire was a motel with a pool and continental breakfast, if possible, so we could take the kids for a swim to expend energy at night and the breakfast before we start off in the mornings. The Lord blessed our friend to find us a room every night.
When we arrived in Winnemucca, NV, we were tired, cranky, and ready to be out of the car and in our own beds. As we sat in a little diner for dinner John explained to me that he was determined to drive through and get home that night. He didn’t want our friend to pay another night in a motel for us. I could see a little motel out the window of the diner, right next door, as John spoke. I felt it would be foolish to continue on. Though I agreed with not wanting to cost our friend another dime, we were exhausted and the pass over the mountains of Nevada into California were steep, winding and dangerous. If you know John at all you know how tenacious he is! There was no changing his mind, so off we went. Not 30 minutes down the road, everyone except John was asleep, and John’s eyes were trying to do what we call, “an eye-lid leak check”. He was beginning to get very drowsy when his phone rang. It was our faithful friend in Wisconsin telling John that he sensed God prompt him danger was ahead and we needed to stop for the night. We were in the middle of nowhere. Any motel would have to do, but I was quietly praying that God would give us a motel that did not require we walk the children through a casino to get to. God did it again, the only available hotel our friend could find was in Sparks, NV, upon our arrival, we discovered that the hotel/casino rooms were across the street for the hotel's casino. God heard my heart and granted my request, protecting my children and their virtue.
The following morning we arrived safe and sound back home. Having traveled across country in a car that usually gets 400 miles to a gallon, but averaged on this journey to get over 600 gallons per tank, with one tank of gas making it for 670 miles! That is miraculous! Once again, the Lord had changed me and shown me that he will use the natural to produce the super natural. He needed me to walk into deeper seeds of Belief.
God has overwhelmed me with the quality of relationships I have in this country. America is still full of amazing Christian men and women who live their faith and give from the heart and desire to see all that is good in others. I am so blessed. Even though it was harder to drive home and trust God instead of taking the “sure thing airplane”; I know what He did for my faith. I also know that each person he called upon to either pray for us or tangible help us, they received a blessing greater than I for being a blessing. It’s not about me, it’s about something so much bigger. It always is. In all of these amazing stories I have watched the God of all heaven and earth raise up my kids to have mountain moving faith. They blow me away with the depth of their belief that the God of the Bible is the same God today and if he did it then, he can do it now. How do they have such amazing faith? Because they have seen the power of His Witness alive and well in their own lives. They have first hand experienced that when you pray with belief you will receive what you ask for in prayer if it lines up with the Word and the motive is pure. Have you ever listened, truly listened, to a child pray? It is as pure and sweet as any prayer could be. This is how we should all be, just likes babes; trusting…believing…expecting…all things good from the Father above. His love for you supercedes any fear you could ever contain. If you could only just believe and trust him just a little bit more each and every day. How beautiful…
Believing for the extraordinary to unfold in your life. You are beautiful.
“And my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19