Somewhere along the way someone talked to us about taking a “Step In Faith.” It sounded perfectly logical. The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
By the summer of 1981 we had outgrown the first flush of “new- believer-itis.” In other words we had more or less stopped button holing anyone who crossed our path so we could tell them about Jesus. We both knew, without question, the desire of our heart was to serve God in some way. We just weren’t certain what that way might be.
At the end of August our vacation took us to central California. We wanted to visit the places Dick was familiar with from his former life and just get away for awhile. Our trip turned into what seemed to us a series of signs and signals from God telling us He wanted us to take the steps necessary to move us into a full-time ministry.
Were we reading the signs and signals correctly? Well…maybe. Then again…maybe not. That’s pretty drastic. And we’re still pretty new at this business of hearing from God.
So…we enjoyed our vacation; went to the mountains, saw the Redwoods; went to the ocean, stayed in a quaint little fishing village and dreamed away two full weeks. We returned to Colorado, went back to work, and tabled the signs and signals—or so we thought.
Throughout the autumn life happened as usual. We enjoyed our home, our friends, our work and it was all really comfortable. Only thing was—we were both still praying to be useful to God. We were still excited by the possibilities we had seen on the coast and intrigued by what appeared to be several “go ahead” signs from God. Our thinking was, “Maybe He wants us to move out there! Maybe that’s where He needs us now.”
Just let me say right here and now, if you don’t really want something, don’t pray for it ’cause God does answer prayer.
So, guess what. Either we talked ourselves into a “step in faith” and God blessed our little kid enthusiasm or He actually wanted us to move to the coast. Either way, we went back to California the first week of November.
We arrived in the Central Valley on Sunday afternoon and drove to the semi-large town where we had stayed in August. On the following Tuesday we flew back to Colorado after closing escrow on a new home. (Just in case you’re not familiar with California real estate procedures—that’s impossible!) During those three days there were several other impossible obstacles that simply melted away. We truly saw God’s hand at work, laying out the steps we were about to take. It wouldn’t have surprised either of us to find someone waiting on our front porch in Colorado demanding to purchase our house.
No one was waiting. Never mind, we’re going anyway.
Our friend and financial adviser said, “Wait! Don’t go until you’re certain…at least not until your house is sold.”
“No, we’re going. We know this is what God wants us to do!”
We left Colorado on December nineteenth, headed for the promised land.
And Colorado bid us farewell with a howling winter storm. Dick and his older son, Monique – the poodle, and Tsu Ling – the Lhasa Apso took the lead. The back of their little pickup was loaded with plants and hamsters. Honest. Joseph Nathan Hershel the third – the black cocker spaniel, and I completed our convoy. I was driving the faux sports car Dick built for me over my VW bug’s chassis.
I LOVED that car!
Over the Continental Divide, via snow packed Loveland Pass, to Grand Junction the first day. Smuggle all three dogs into a motel room. Sleep? HA! Are you kidding me? Everyone was too excited to sleep. So, off we went at about four A.M. on day two.
Snow packed roads from Grand Junction, Colorado all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Let’s stay here tonight,” says I. At this point we’ve been on the road for about ten hours.
Oh, by the way, the heater in the Brad (for you car buffs, that’s a Bradley GTII—but if folks wanted to think it was a Lamborghini, I let ’em.) wasn’t working so Joe and I were each wrapped in a sleeping bag trying to stay warm.
“I’m frozen and getting very tired.” (Also a touch irritable. I didn’t say so, but my tone of voice should have been a clue.)
“No. It’s too early to stop. We’ve got a couple hours of daylight left. We’ll stop in Elko, Nevada for the night. It’s only two or three more hours,” Dick replied.
Guess what accommodations were readily available after dark in Elko, Nevada. That’s right—zip. Zero! NADA!
So, at about 1:30 A.M. we’re coming down the mountains into Reno, Nevada. It’s raining and as black as the inside of a pocket. We’re moving right along—65 mph or so I suppose. As I drove around yet another curve a stiff gust of wind caught the underneath edge of my gull-wing door and snapped it wide open. It popped up over the roof of the car turning into a perfect sail.
Was God with us? He must have been, because at that moment of certain disaster I heard myself scream, “NO! Jesus is LORD!”
I had been driving with my tape player in my lap all day…in 1981 there were no iPhones, iPads or MP3 players. Listening to God’s Word had filled my spirit with faith, leaving no room for fear.
I pulled to the shoulder of the road, reached up and caught the door, closed it and drove on—thanking God with every shuddering breath. I had been shaken. Severely! But I was safe.
By that time Dick had missed my headlights in his rear view mirror and pulled over. I stopped behind him—long enough to assure him we were okay and we drove on into Reno for the night.
Nothing but good luck you may say. Maybe. Almost certainly, even with good luck, the heavy gull wing door would have been torn from its hinges. More likely, with the weight of the door acting as a sail, the car would have been thrown off the road and rolled down the embankment. Instead, we believe God’s protection surrounded us once more.
In Reno we smuggled the family into a hotel and slept for a couple of hours.
At 5:30 our little troupe was back on the road again.
Going over Donner Pass before daylight a light snow began falling. Gradually the flakes came faster and harder. As the storm increased and the temperature dropped the windows in my Brad fogged over with condensation. The heater was still out and there were no defrosters. All I could do was run the wipers and swipe at the inside of the windshield with my gloves. Visibility was almost zero and the only thing I could see was the twin red dots of Dick’s tail lights on the pickup ahead of me.
I drove on toward our dream, following the lights ahead of me, seeing only them—trusting them completely. At that moment I recognized God’s still small voice, “This is how I want you to follow me. Not looking at the canyon to the left or the solid rock wall to the right. Just trust me to guide you on the path in which you should go.”
“Okay Lord, I’ll try!”
A step in faith? Maybe. But after all these years I realize our step was really QUITE a Leap!