Keep Dreaming!

We laid hands on him for healing and the tears immediately began to flow as this mountain of a man, once hardened and resistant, began asking if we would not only pray for his health, but his addiction and his marriage.  I was there to buy a car, but God had much more in mind when He sent us three states east to fulfill a long-held childhood dream.  The story largely began 43 years ago in a little town called Odessa, MO.  My dad was and old drag racer from the 60’s and cars were in his blood.  He’d tell stories of his late 60’s Roadrunner that blew the doors off the competition, (though it had no aftermarket alterations), or the 55 Chevy that would pull the front wheels off the ground.  This love affair with hotrods and motors resulted in my dawning a number of car shows over the years.  And, as usually happens with children who idolize their fathers, I was infected.  The same car guy blood that ran through his veins now ran through mine.  This was something that I could relate to him on.  I don’t know how many middle school weekends I spent hand waxing his truck, just to make that thing shine (and ultimately to make him proud), but I know it was a number.  He loved cars, and so did I.  Until this day, there is nothing like the sound of an American V8!  Sorry ricers!  Though he had many different cars over the years, an 85 Monte Carlo, a 63 ford pickup, etc., one car he never had, but always exclaimed over, was the Chevy Corvette.  It was his dream to have one.  If you didn’t know, the Corvette is an American icon.  It has always represented something more than a car.  It’s freedom, class, American prosperity & ingenuity, and believe it or not, it represents family.  While other groups have certainly picked it up, Corvette owners pioneered the “Corvette wave”, kind of an exclusive handshake that says, I saw you and you are in the club.  To be a Corvette owner is to be a part of a legacy that has spanned over nearly 70 years.  It’s an exclusive club of people who, though they don’t know you from Adam, immediately pull you in and relate to you.  Of course, it also happens to be America’s answer to very expensive exotic sports cars from Europe.  The only difference is that it’s always been available at half the price!  Knowing that this was my dad’s love, it didn’t take me long to follow suit.  Every year I would get another corvette model for my birthday.  I had a picture on the wall of my bedroom that had all of the years of corvettes represented with all of the changes that were introduced for that specific year.  Needless to say, I studied it.  I could tell you what happened with every model year change and exactly when it happened all the way through.  I’ve slipped a little over the years, but truth be told, I basically still can.  I know, I’m a nerd!  When my dad was 45 years old, his dream of becoming a Corvette owner finally came true.  He spotted a beautiful blue, metallic, 1976 Corvette Stingray with low miles, pull out T-tops, and black leather interior.  It was gorgeous!  He couldn’t help himself; he had to own it, and now it was official.  Instead of just going to car shows, now he could actually enter them.  And so, he did.  I was proud of the various trophies that he had won and thought that it was just the coolest thing when he joined up with the local Corvette Club.  There was no question in my mind, I was going to have one of these someday.  Time went on and high school approached, which meant prom and homecoming dances.  Not only would we dress in our best, we would also attempt to drive our best.  Some would rent limos, but being a car guy, my personal favorite was getting to drive something cool, especially something that made us feel set apart from our otherwise basically impoverished upbringing.  To be fair, my mother was excellent with her money and always knew how to take care of our needs and make us feel richer than we were.  We just didn’t have much.  So, I asked my dad if I could take Ol’ Blue to the dance, and with hesitation he allowed it.  These were such tremendous memories for me.  Here I was all dressed up, driving an American icon as a high schooler.  I felt like a million bucks!  Eventually my dad sold Ol’ Blue to my older brother Mike (also a car guy), and purchased a black 86 convertible with a black top.  This was my dream car.  It was set up exactly how I would have wanted, and it too won a number of trophies at various car shows.  Some years went by and my dad’s life situation changed, making it more difficult to store the car and to keep it at its showroom condition.  It began to decline, needing paint and interior work.   It even stranded him at a car show once, which was an absolute embarrassment, as far as he was concerned.  By now I am married and living in Northeast India as a missionary with my wife Misty.  The dream of owning a Vette was still there, but that reality seemed so far from practical, and definitely bordered on the impossible.  Then one morning as I was spending time with the Lord in prayer, I hear God whisper.  “Your dad is going to try and sell you his corvette.”  I think God even put a price tag on it, if I remember correctly.  But then He asked me what I would do about it.  It never ceases to amaze me how the all-knowing God of the universe operates.  He could have just simply told me what to do, and frankly sometimes I like that better.  But instead, He was inviting me into something.  What in the world would a missionary have to do with a corvette?  I didn’t even live in the country.  It wouldn’t have made any sense at all for me to buy this car, but after speaking to my wife and wrestling in prayer, I decided that I would.  I felt the Lord say that it was about relationship.  My dad and I haven’t always had the best of relationship.  My parents were divorced when I was 5 and I think my dad kind of wanted his independence after that.  To be honest, I also gave my heart to Jesus when I was 16, and he didn’t really know what to do with that either.  But no matter how weird my relationship with God was to him, or how distant we seemed to be at times, cars, particularly Corvettes, were always something that we could talk about and connect over.  What’s more, my dad and brother are more sentimental than I am, and this was my dad’s Corvette.  My older brother had the first one, so it was only natural that I had the second one.  This way my dad felt like he was leaving a sense of inheritance, (though I purchased the car) and we would, together, keep the cars in the family.  This car would be a bridge that keeps us all tied together.  A couple of years passed and Misty and I found ourselves coming back to America, as God was calling us home to “minister to our own people”.  In some ways I was excited to kind of be headed towards a more “normal” life situation, but more than that, we would get to experience the ownership of this car really for the first time since I purchased it.  I was finally a corvette owner, and a black on black convertible was always what I had wanted.  This was going to be fun!  Sadly, the car needed a lot of love.  Imagine driving a corvette convertible down the highway with a huge cloud of smoke out behind you and oil spitting onto the windshield of anyone brave enough to get that close.  Yeah, people would literally move over and speed around us because they couldn’t stand the smoke.  For weeks I chased that leak and finally got it straightened out.  We didn’t really have any money, so sending it off to a mechanic was absolutely out of the question.  If this thing was going to get fixed, it depended entirely upon me.  I bet we hadn’t put 500 total miles on the thing when the head gasket blew, leaving Misty stranded on the side of the highway.  Well, so much for that!  Several years and two mechanics later, I got the car back.  The last mechanic had had the car in his shop for 2 full years…the previous at least 3 (to his credit, he was helping me on the side).  During this last stint, I would call regularly, but the mechanic just wasn’t taking the time to repair it.  Finally, one day the call came, and the couple thousand-dollar bill came with it, but I was finally going to get my car back home.  Except, it wasn’t fixed.  I could barely get it to drive at all.  Something was wrong with the clutch and the mechanic apparently just didn’t want to fix it. But at least it was finally running and was finally coming home!  I noticed immediately that it was leaking an inordinate amount of oil again, but this time it was engine oil.  Not only was it undrivable, it now had a massive leak.  Within two weeks it blew a main bearing and starting knocking like the persistent widow in Luke 18.  Was this saga ever going to end?  Another 4 years would go by as we discovered that the car didn’t even have the original engine and that it blew up because all of the previous mechanics had inadvertently put the wrong parts on it.  The machine shop said that the block wasn’t even salvageable, which meant that our only hope forward was to build a new motor for it.  Have you ever had a dream and it felt like all of hell was levied against that dream, such that you despaired that you ever even dreamt at all?  I can relate.  Every car I owned had higher miles that this Chevy, yet the Chevy sat broken for years and was now on its third engine.  Crazy!  So far, this dream had brought me nothing but pain.  But the dream was more than just simply owning a Corvette.  I wanted to pass this along to my children someday.  I pictured my kids following in my footsteps and taking it to their very own dances.  I saw this as a family thing, a way to honor my father and his love for these cars and make him proud.  After 4 years and $5,000 to $6,000 invested in a new motor, the car had still never moved.  Now it didn’t just need a new motor, it was approaching needing a full restoration.  After investing $15,000 in this car over the years, there it sat.  I felt stuck.  I couldn’t just go and buy another one.  This was my dad’s car.  I needed to make this happen, but I had also already invested so much money and held onto this dream for so long.  I often prayed about various solutions and even attempted to make some of those solutions happen.  I even thought many times about just giving the car to my brother, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or upset him in any way either (it’s complicated).  Remember, this car was about family and legacy.  I couldn’t let what started as relationship become something that jeopardized relationship.  And then completely out of the blue I got a text from my brother.  “Why don’t you just sell me this piece of junk,” he said!  I was blown away at the suggestion.  I couldn’t imagine in a million years that he would say something like that to me.  This was actually a variation of one of the plans that I had devised.  Now it looked like the Lord was intervening to make something happen.  A dialog ensued, and I said, “why don’t I just give it to you?  God has blessed me and now that blessing can overflow into your life.”  The craziest thing happened; he accepted.  Now this is a guy who would never receive a handout from anyone in his entire life.  He’d rather die than get a handout from someone.  There was no question in my mind that God had just done a miracle.  And then it hit me.  Questions started flooding in and my brow curled in.  Of course he would accept my car.  Who wouldn’t?  Maybe this was the plan all along.  My internal murmuring quickly became external, and my wife immediately says to me, “if you are going to give him this car, there can be no strings attached.  You have to give it to him with the right heart, as a real gift, not begrudgingly.”  What wisdom she always has!  And of course, I immediately knew that she was right.  If I was going to do this, I was going to have to release it as a blessing and give this gift out of a heart of generosity.  And so, I did.  A day later it hit me like a ton of bricks as we commuted to work.  A dream had just died.  That car and all of the dreams of making my dad proud, of prom, inheritance, date nights, and fun just died with it.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was literally crying about a car.  But you have to understand, it was like a piece of me died that day.  This was something that God initiated and something that I had been dreaming about since I was in diapers.  Sometimes you have to let a dream die if it is ever to actually give birth to something real (John 12:24).  Sometimes there are things in us that have to die right along with it, lest the fulfillment of that dream actually poison us or, worst case, destroy us when it comes to fruition.  I can’t pretend to understand all that God was doing in my own heart, but I know that a car can never be an idol.  He’s the only one worthy of worship and all of this earthly stuff is His anyways.  We are but stewards.  But sometimes I think a dream has to die, because it’s not His best.  God is an abundantly, beyond we can ask or think God, and if your dream isn’t big enough, or will hinder you in some way, it needs to die so that an even better dream can come forth. And such was the case with me.  What felt like a dead dream, was actually just the seed bed for a new dream to be birthed.  The truth is that God set me free.  I was no longer tied to this particular Corvette.  Now I could begin to dream about whatever I wanted.  I had already been saving money here and there for the 86, so I already had a head start on a pot towards something different.  But to be honest, this wasn’t something I was budgeting for.  My family had way bigger priorities than a silly Corvette.  There was no way that I could personally save the kind of money necessary to buy something decent.  Have you ever had a dream that was impossible to fulfill on your own?  I’m guessing you have.  This is a good thing.  In fact, some would suggest that this is the mark of a God dream.  If you could figure it all out on your own, you wouldn’t need Him.  Did you know that God can see things coming that you couldn’t even conceive of?  All we have to do is trust Him.  He knows what He is doing.  Don’t give up on your dream just because you can’t see how it could possibly happen.  God is the God of the impossible, and if it’s His dream, He will make it happen.  For me it looked like Covid.  Is it possible that anything positive could come out of Covid?  Well, I would suggest that if you have eyes to see, there are lots of things.  God works all things for good (Matthew 8:28), including Covid.  But in this specific case, the last two presidents have gone hog wild handing out money, and for those at my income level with 3 kids, it was kind of a lot.  Now add to this equation an incredibly generous wife who could care less about a car, but who loves her husband very much, and you have a fat increase to your Corvette fund.  We talked and she gave me the green light.  I could buy a Vette if I wanted to.  The dream was going to come true afterall.  And no sooner did I start looking when the used car market went straight through the roof.  I kid you not, I saw the market jump over night.  On this particular car, it went up $8 to $10,000 dollars just like that, and it wasn’t coming down any time soon.  Do you know how frustrating that is?  For the first time in my life, I was close enough to taste it and the opportunity zoomed away like a Corvette racing a Ford Mustang.  As disappointing as that was, I continued to look.  Afterall, I am a car guy.  I enjoyed just looking at what was out there.  It became part of my routine, actually.  Every day I got to take a little brain break and go to my very own little car show in hopes that someone would be oblivious to the rest of the market and list their car at a price that I could actually attain.  No such luck, but it was still enjoyable!  Months go by, and one night in the middle of all of this Misty has a dream.  “You were purchasing a black corvette from an older guy who had health problems.  In fact, he was selling it because of these problems”, she said.  “You wouldn’t let him sell you the Corvette, but instead prayed for him that he would be healed.”  Well, that’s an interesting dream.  And that’s about all I thought about it, to be honest.  Our 23rd wedding anniversary was quickly approaching, and I had preemptively made plans to go camping, just Misty and I.  We had wanted to go to this small town near St. Louise, MO for a long time, and after looking at B&B rates, I quickly decided that camping was the way to go.  No matter what, it would be a quiet evening with just the two of us where we could invest in our marriage and rest from all of our labors.  Misty’s parents were all set up to come in and spoil the kids.  It was going to be great.  The week finally came and we were so looking forward to getting away.  Instead, we started our week with an alert from the state park.  Due to a pump failure, they were informing us that the campground was going to be closed.  Well, this was for Labor Day weekend.  At this point, there was absolutely not another site available in the entire country.  We figured we would do something, but 4 month old plans just got ruined in the blink of an eye.  Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.  The next day, now Tuesday, we wrote and fully canceled and got all of our money back.  It was already beyond their normal cancelation deadline, but this was an obvious exception to that rule, so they kindly obliged.  That same night after I had already brushed my teeth and gone to bed, I pulled up Craig’s List to see if anything new had popped up.  The market had started to finally correct a little bit, and Corvettes were beginning to sit on the market for longer than the dealers liked, which was resulting in some reduced pricing.  Low and behold, a new one had popped up.  It was always like Christmas for me when one did.  But this car was actually in my price range, which was strange, because almost nothing had been for quite some time.  As I started looking at this car, I was intrigued, because it had the marks of what I had been looking for.  Curious, I got out of bed and went upstairs to where we have our TV.  I have a little device that allows me to broadcast my phone onto the TV, and this would allow me to really look closely at this car.  I started to get excited.  This was a really nice car and it had all of the checkmarks of things that I was looking for.  My wise wife had also warned me not to settle for less than what I really wanted, so I was being pretty picky.  It’s amazing how readily most of us will settle.  The Israelites get all the way to the promised land and some of the people decide to build a town in the land outside of the promise, rather than to go in and subdue the land.  Subduing the land may take a lot of work, but it is always worth it.  We can’t settle for less than God’s best.  We have to contend for the promise and fight until we see everything that He said.  Don’t settle!  It does make me wonder how often we are right on the brink of breaking through when we, instead, settle having no idea we were that close.  The truth is, no matter what your dream, you can do it.  Don’t give up.  You can make it.  The next thing you know I am calling Misty up to look at this car.  She had just started to walk through to grab something from the laundry room at the last minute, and was absolutely ready for bed.  I said, “this could actually be our car!”  As she went to bed, I started typing out a text to reach out to the guy, and set it to be scheduled for delivery the following morning.  The next day I started doubting.  What was it about this particular car that stood out to me?  And immediately I pulled up another similar car that I had saved on my phone.  It was the same color, but had a contrasting interior, which I thought I actually liked a little better.  This new one was triple black.  It had really similar miles and looked to be a pretty well cared for car.  So again, what was it that was drawing me to this new car when I had already passed over this other one weeks before?  Honestly, I couldn’t put my finger on it.  Sometimes when you are too close to something, it’s difficult to truly hear God.  Your emotions and doubts all get in the way.  In these moments, invite someone you trust to speak into what you are seeing.  In my case, my wife was such a person, and she helped me see straight, pushing me along in the process.  “Hi Don”, I said.  “I’m inquiring on your Corvette.”  And then I proceeded to explain that I was out of state and had a few questions to ask regarding its condition.  Not only am I a car guy, I had also been researching these and knew what questions to ask to get a more perfect picture of what it was and what it wasn’t.  My questions were specific and demanded specific answers.  He replied, “the car is perfect.”  Well, this wasn’t getting off to a very good start.  I had purchased an out of state vehicle once before and the process was flawless.  That guy even took photos of all of the undercarriage of the vehicle and went above and beyond when I asked him questions, so “the car is perfect” wasn’t going to cut it.  Plus, I live three states away. There’s no way I am going to drive 12 hours to see a car unless I know exactly what I am getting myself into.  So, I politely explained that I would still love to have a couple of photos and would love to have my questions answered more thoroughly.  He responded, “maybe keep looking in your own area. Thank you.”         

Unbelievable!  I couldn’t believe that someone attempting to sell a car was so rude and would be willing to walk away from a potential buyer.  So, I wished him the best and thanked the Lord for a clearly closed door.  And that’s the other thing.  God can make a way where there is no way, and we have to decide if the resistance we are facing is Him closing a door, or the enemy resisting His will.  This is why it says that the sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14).  This isn’t religion; it’s relationship.  We live by the word that proceeds out of His mouth (Matthew 4:4), and that means that I have to be listening.  But this was a clear shut door….or so I thought.  A little later the guy responds and answers my questions.  “Well, that was weird,” I thought.  “Was the door shut or not?”  So, I reengaged, suggesting that if he was willing to work with an out-of-towner, that I’d love to continue our conversation.  Later that night I received a text with tons of information and pictures of everything that I needed.  It was amazing.  The car hit every checkmark.  Every bit of maintenance that usually needed to be done with these cars was done.  It was truly perfect, minus one thing.  I told Misty the night before that the only thing that it was lacking was the upgraded chrome wheels.  It had polished aluminum, which looked amazing, but I had grown to really like the chrome.  Certainly not a deal breaker by any stretch.  But then the guy sends me another photo and tells me that he just upgraded to the chrome wheels to the tune of $1500.  They were so new that he didn’t even have pictures of it.  Can you believe that?  The one thing that I had faulted the car for was just addressed.  That’s pretty amazing, amazing enough to feel like this might be God.  Now I was close, close enough to start getting nervous.  It took me 13 years to save this money.  The car had all of the checkmarks I was looking for with absolutely no compromise whatsoever, but this was a lot of money.  Was I sure that I wanted to do this?  Was Misty sure?  Was this God or just me?  My heart raced as I sat by the phone with my notepad ready to call the owner and have a final conversation that would either result in an agreed upon price, or me walking away.  I was nervous, picking up the phone and then setting it down several times.  This guy had been rude to me previously and I hate being on the phone anyways.  How was this going to go?  Should I just drop the whole thing?  I prayed and submitted it all to God, but frankly wasn’t hearing too clearly.  I had too much interference in my own mind.  And then Misty says, “call the guy.  I think you should.”  Well, I didn’t hear God saying otherwise, and I did have a strange draw to this absolutely perfect car.  Her encouragement was just what I needed to push me over that hump.  It was a great conversation that completely calmed my nerves and made me convinced that this was my car, but we still didn’t settle upon a price.  We talked about it.  What I ultimately wanted to give, he was emphatic he wouldn’t take, and we left the conversation without a complete resolution.  At least both of us now knew that this was serious.  But I was quickly running out of time.  It was now Thursday.  If we didn’t make a deal quick, we were going to miss this window of opportunity that we had where the kiddos were all set to be watched, and we were able to go.  This was truly a rare point in time.  Then we received notice that the campsite was back up and running.  What!  We had already canceled and received a refund, something that wouldn’t have been possible this late in the game under normal circumstances.  Did God just orchestrate a way out of that contract to set us up for something else?  Interestingly, we had always talked about how cool that would be if I found a Vette while on vacation and drove it home.  Now we were faced with something that looked like it could become that. But time was of the essence.  A 12 hour drive meant that we had to have something finalized so that we could leave the house by 8 am the next day and then see the car that Saturday after staying the night somewhere close to his home.  This was going to have to be executed perfectly if it was going to happen, but we were completely at his mercy.  Then Thursday night at 9pm we finally came to terms.  This really looked like it was going to happen.  He told me he was having marital problems and that his health was failing, hence the reason for the sale.  Remember Misty’s dream?  We immediately began to intercede for this man, asking God to create just the right opportunity for us to share the gospel with him and pray for his health.  The only problem was that he needed to talk to his bank and make sure he was ready with the title and that he had all the other details worked out.  He said, “I’ll give you a call tomorrow by 5pm.”  I said, “I don’t think you understand the time crunch that we are under here.  We will have to leave early tomorrow just to get there before we fall asleep at the wheel after the 12 hour drive.”  He said, I understand.  If you don’t hear from me by 3pm, give me a call.”  I thought, “you have got to be kidding me.”  And again, I wasn’t sure this was going to happen.  But it was what it was.  As I said, we were at his mercy.  The good news is that I needed to mow the lawn that next day anyways, lest it get overgrown while we were gone.  So, I thought the extra time would allow me to get my chores done and get by my own bank to get the cashier’s check that I needed to make this transaction complete.   Alas, not even that would happen, as it was pouring down rain that next morning.  Well, no mowing of the grass for me!  While I didn’t see this as a big deal in this moment, I know in times past I have been quick to grumble and complain, something the bible specifically speaks against.  I wonder how many times God was the one resisting us in order to direct us, and here we are complaining away.  He has to get so exasperated with us sometimes.  So, instead of mowing, I went up to the bank to get this check, a method of payment that the night before he had agreed to.  And then his text comes in.  “Just left bank..was told only safe way to sell car is cash only.”  I argued to no avail, even suggesting that my bank may not even have that kind of cash laying around.  Sure enough, I was right.  “Oh Shawn”, they said.  “You would have had to give us 7 days’ notice.  This is also a holiday weekend, so there is no way we can get you that cash today.”  Mind you it is now Friday morning at 9am, and counting, and we are quickly running out of time anyways.  Again it looked like this wasn’t going to happen.  It’s a good thing I didn’t mow, as it was now clear that I needed all of that time to sort things out at the bank.  Did God, knowing that I was going to need the extra time, send rain to divert me?  Remember when I said that we have to discern whether the resistance we are experiencing is God or the devil?  Well, I just kept feeling like I was to continue to push forward, even though I wasn’t convinced that it was going to happen.  My bank gave me several other options, and when it was all done and said, the owner said that there was absolutely no way that he was going to release this title to an out of state buyer without cash in his hand.  He wasn’t budging!  I even suggested keeping the title and mailing it after the check cleared, but nothing was satisfying him.  It seemed to me that he had massive trust issues, even though from his perspective I could understand his hesitation.  As I am in the middle of this discussion, the bank manager comes over with a look of great compassion in her eyes and says, “Shawn, I have been back in the vault and I have determined that if your guy would take fifty-dollar bills, we can make this happen.”  I was like, 50’s!  That would be a bag full of cash!  We quipped back and forth about being pulled over and mistaken as a drug dealer as I crossed state lines.  But as silly as it sounded, this lady had just come up with a solution that could work.  And it did.  The time is now 11am and we are now desperately late for starting this trip, but start it we did.  Misty had secured a little B&B an hour and a half from his location, which would actually shorten our drive a bit and compensate for the now late start.  What we didn’t realize was that this place was God’s gifted oasis to us.  It was a 10-acre farm with a beautiful house, a warm host, and a huge wonderful front porch where we would sit and unwind from all of our stress.  It would not only work perfectly into our arrival plan, but would also work perfectly with our exit as well, saving us some driving on both sides.  We knew that transporting this car across three states could be an issue without proper tags, but the Ohio DMV site was rejecting our application for temporary tags, and Missouri wouldn’t even offer them to us.  This was something that we would have to do in person, and this guy made it super clear that he was not going to go to the DMV for any reason.  The jury was still out on how all of that would go.  The next morning we arrived at his house, and here is this beautiful triple black corvette sitting there all polished up and ready.  Don’t forget, a black corvette with black convertible top was always my childhood dream, and now it sits before me as a real possibility.  It was everything that he said it would be.  Stunning!  After looking it over and wiping the drool from my mouth, I said, “Don, I am sure this is going to sound strange, but my wife had a dream and I think you were in it.  She dreamt that I was purchasing a black corvette from an older guy who had health problems and needed healing.  It became clear to me with this dream that the whole transaction had more to do with the guy than it did the Corvette.  Can we pray for you?”  As is typical, people don’t have a grid for those who would pray right then, so they usually politely dismiss you and are shocked when you ask to do it right then.  So, he changed the subject.  Soon I said, “we would like to pray for you right now, if that’s ok.  Why don’t you take a seat?”  Now his tune changed.  This was definitely out of his box.  I explained that I was a pastor and that we had seen God heal many people, and then gave him one of my favorite testimonies of Him doing that very thing.  He said, “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I don’t believe any of that crap.”  Ha ha, don’t you love it?  I said, “don’t worry, He believes in you,” and then I asked if I could lay my hands on him.  He responded with a grump, “as long as it doesn’t take forever”, and proceeds to sit down.  I laid my hands on him and he immediately teared up.  God was near!  When I concluded, through tears this once grumpy and dismissive tower of a man broke down even further, requesting that we not only pray for his health, but his drinking addiction and his wife as well, who was standing right there with us.  It was amazing to see the transformation!  Often, we are intimidated to do anything like this, but I want you to know that people are more ready than you think, even if they appear to be resistant on the outside.  It’s time for the church to step out and prove what we believe to a lost and hurting world.  We can’t do that from the safety of the four walls.  At the conclusion of our time, a guy who once displayed what appeared to be massive trust issues, now offers us his license plate to drive back with so that we didn’t have any problems with the authorities.  “Just take it and mail it back to me when you get home.  That’ll keep you protected.”  The best part is that this meant that we now had freedom to fully enjoy this car.  Our real vacation had just begun.  We spent the next day cruising for our 23rd wedding anniversary in God’s beautiful gift to us along the shoreline of Lake Erie.  It was absolutely wonderful!  This is one of our favorite pass times and it was as if the Lord was redeeming 20 years of not being able to do it.  What’s more, He massively upgraded the meager anniversary vacation that I had planned.  Instead of a camper a couple hours from home, now we are staying in a nice b&B, cruising in my dream car, and exploring Lake Erie!  Incredible!  So, while it might be weird to some to see a pastor rolling around in a beautiful corvette convertible, for me it represents the faithfulness of God over a lifelong dream, and a journey of discovering just how faithful He is, even when things don’t seem to be turning out in your favor, or it looks like the dream is dead.  So, keep up the fight;  keep dreaming.  It is worth it in the end!  And, in case you didn’t know, we serve a mighty and incredibly generous God! 

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