Our stove was broken. The oven burned everything and the biggest burner, the one I used every meal, either ran on high or not at all. It was one more thing we didn’t have time for, didn’t have money.
Not long ago, when our finances led me to consider applying for a full time job, God told me clearly, “Just wait.” I was relieved to hear from God with such clarity. But after a pause, I reminded God that this meant “he” would be “supplying all our needs.”
After burning yet another meal in the broken oven this week, I scrolled Craig’s List obsessively searching for a replacement. Then I remembered that conversation with God.
Maybe God has a whole warehouse of stoves somewhere and all I need to do is ask, I thought.
I don’t claim to know how these things work, but I stood on the porch and pictured a white stove floating down out of the bright autumn sky. (Ought I mention that the stove had big black wings? It was really quite a delightful image.)
That afternoon I found a decent stove on Craig’s list, but it was still $100 that we didn’t have. My husband suggested we just fix the burner on the old stove and continue using the broken oven. But I didn't have the heart to burn one more loaf of bread.
Later that night a friend stopped by and standing in the darkening driveway, my husband mentioned that he was stressed about money.
“Really?” the friend replied, “We've got an extra $100 dollars floating around this week. I want to give it to you guys.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out cash.
My husband said no three times before giving in. We're so tired of needing help. But when he came upstairs to tell me, as I was putting the twins to bed, my eyes lit up.
“That’s our stove!” I said, telling him about my prayer.
I wish the story ended there. It would be a good one, wouldn't it?
The truth is the guy with the $100 stove didn't get back to me and we ended up buying one for $125. Then the cord on the new stove wouldn't work with our outlet, so my husband pulled the cord off of the old stove to attach to the new one.
But that old cord? It was broken. So we ended up spending another $25 for a new cord. That brings the new stove tally to $150.
(Maybe God isn't the best at math?)
We'll fix the old stove and sell it, it's got to be worth something to someone. And maybe then the math will work out.
All of this has got me thinking about faith and trust and how the way things appear on the surface can often be deceiving. I'm thankful for all of the graces, big and little that come our way. But I want to remember also that each and every grace is only a fragment of a greater truth - the Love and Grace that dwells in and around our lives.
Sometimes the little graces add up and sometimes they don't. Sometimes that which is manna one day has soured by the next.
I keep reminding myself of all the things we have, the things we take for granted that come floating down out of the clouds for free. Things like the field of soy beans across the street that turns a brighter shade of gold with each passing day. Or the view of the mountains along with the blue sky and sun. Who am I in the midst of all of this abundance to say what is and is not enough?
Last night I made pizza from scratch in the "new" oven. It had a perfectly browned crust. Examining her slice, my daughter exclaimed, "It's not burnt!" and the look on her face was priceless.