Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 15: Five Dollar Bicycle

     For many summers, our family went camping with two other families.  A variety of children, tents, trailers, chairs, firewood, and marshmallows mixed together with stories, laughter, some friendly competition, a few assorted tantrums - not all of which were the children's, and lots of activity.
     One year, in the midst of my frenetic packing for our trip, a very important item did not make it into the truck.  Anthony, who was eight at the time, was crushed to learn that his bike had been left behind.  A bike for Anthony was not just a convenience, it was a necessity.  I humbly begged the master of tag sales in our group, Mary (of The Red Lion Inn fame), to take me with her the next day so I could try to find Anthony a bike.
     Mary leaned over to comfort Anthony and decided to pray.  Her prayer went something like this.  "Lord, Anthony needs a bike for camping.  Please let us find him the perfect bike for five dollars tomorrow morning in Jesus name.  Amen!"  Mary, apparently satisfied with her prayer, sat back and told Anthony not to worry; he would have his bike tomorrow.  Anthony went off smiling to roast marshmallows.  The bike was practically his.
     Meanwhile, I was the one who was way beyond worried.  I was in a state of panic.  My mind raced. Saying, "...in Jesus name," is not like using a magic wand.  In fact, that was rather presumptive on her part.  God can not be strong armed into doing something.  I would never pray like that.  I wouldn't have the nerve.  But now, I had been backed into a corner - by someone else's prayer.  The pressure was on.  I had to find a boys bike, of the right tire height, the next day, FOR FIVE DOLLARS!  I couldn't even go with Plan B, which was to buy a bike at the local Walmart, because Mary had prayed so specifically that it would cost five dollars.  Five dollars for a bike!  Who ever heard of such a thing?
     I felt incredible pressure.  I was afraid that God wouldn't pull through.  I reasoned, five dollar bikes are just not possible.  Anthony's faith for a life time was going to be trashed, if I didn't find a five dollar bike!  I needed to help God make this miracle happen.
     The day arrived bright and sunny.  I hustled Mary into the car.  We were on a mission.  I asked Mary for directions.
     "I guess we could just head into town and look for signs,"  she calmly responded.
     My heart rate tripled!  GUESS!   LOOK for signs!  I thought she KNEW!  I needed a plan guaranteed to find a bicycle and she didn't know exactly where the sales even were.  The plan was to drive around and hope to stumble on signs for tag sales!  I mumbled some things that ought not to be repeated.
     Sure enough when we got to the next town, there were signs.  In fact, we discovered that I had built in radar for finding those tag sales.  We found about seven tag sales in a one mile radius.  Mary bought toys for her grandchildren, dishes, and things to excite her seamstress heart.  I found, but did not buy, a whole fleet of exercise bikes.  I was pretty sure that Anthony would not want a stationary bicycle.  I began to chew my nails.  I never chew my nails.  At our seventh tag sale I was completely discouraged.  Mary, came up with her own Plan B.  She asked the home owner if there was a local thrift store.  Armed with directions, we continued our search.
     As we pulled into the parking lot of the thrift store, I could see the bike!  It was a bright green boy's trail bike.  It was the perfect height.  I excitedly raced over to it.  It looked as though it had hardly been used.  The brakes worked.  The tires had air. The bike was in wonderful condition.  I searched for a price tag.  None.   I wheeled it right into the store.  I was determined, that bike was going to be Anthony's no matter what it cost!
     Of course, the first clerk I asked didn't know how much the bike was.  It had just come in.
She went to check with the manager.  God has a sense of humor and left me to stew for a few minutes.
    The manager arrived and appraised the bike.  She pursed her lips, "Well...I think that five dollars would be a good price."
     I about fell over.  Of course, Mary and I told the ladies how they had been used as an answer to a little boys prayer.
     Mary and I loaded the bike into the car and drove off in triumph.  Anthony was thrilled to have the bike that God had given to him.  He wasn't as impressed as I was, because he had never had any doubts.
     God taught me a lot through a five dollar bicycle.  First, God is God and I will trust HIm.  It is easy for me to trust God for other people.  I know that He will save you.  I even know that He will watch out for me.  Because I am a control person, it's harder to trust Him for my children, and yet, they have always been His.  I have an illusion of control over their lives and happiness, but really they belong to God.  He loves them much more than I ever could.  Finally, I learned that God does not need my help.  He is perfectly capable of performing a miracle all on His own.  He even wants to.  Our God is a mighty God.  There is nothing that He can not do.
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart, 
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name 
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.   ~Proverbs 3:1-6
     This post is Day 15 in the 31 Day Series: Welcome to My Mess.  You can read the other posts here.
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