An Empty Garage

I had a post scheduled for this morning, but I pulled it back another day, because I wanted to finish telling the Christmas story God has been writing over the past couple days.

Last night, we delivered our garage full of blessing to a very grateful family, in a very empty apartment. Our friends Mark and Elisabeth pulled together a crew from the church, complete with a truck and covered trailer, who loaded everything up at our place in a matter of minutes, and helped us deliver it. Between shoveling snow for the past 4 days and moving this stuff around, my back had pretty much had enough, so I was blessed that I barely had to lift a thing. There was enough help to make the work very easy.

The youth group at church had been out a week ago handing out food to the needy in the community, and had a full turkey dinner left-over, so Nicole prepared that and we delivered a hot meal, as well as the stuff we’d collected. The mom of the family cried as we brought it all in, and their little girl was bouncing with excitement.

It was definitely rewarding to be able to love on this family, and at least make a dent in their needs this Christmas. But I get the feeling that I’m not communicating the point very well: God did this — not us.

And if there was ever any doubt about that, it was gone last night when, after we’d finished carrying in the last of the furniture, the dad of the family gathered us around and explained that he was a Pastor from Columbia, and that his family had been praying for days for provision.

People love to blame God for bad stuff. We say stupid things like “how could God allow this to happen?” when its painfully obvious that most of the crap we observe in the world around us is man-made. But when something amazing happens — something bigger than any one person — someone other than God always gets the credit for that. And we miss catching a glimpse of God’s incredible and mysterious work in our lives.

In this case, God pulled together resources and people from 3 different towns, arranging divine appointments and putting pieces into place days in advance, to answer the humble and simple prayer of a family with nothing.

If God cares about a little group of immigrants from Columbia, and what their Christmas will be like, how can we think He doesn’t care about us? How can we not understand that His love and His blessing is more than sufficient for anyone who would ask.

And how could my family not point to Him in the work He did through us over the past couple days? We asked to be used in our community, and for a few brief moments, He made us a focal point in His work for that family…

A huge thank-you to everyone who helped make this happen! It was a great experience. This family is still in need. They have one bedroom filled now, some stuff for their kitchen, and a bit of a living room. But there’s still 3 kids without beds, no where to sit to eat, and… well, pretty much the rest of their apartment is empty. We’d be happy to collect anything anyone might want to donate to help them out!

And if you don’t live around here, that’s OK too, because I guarantee that within a couple miles of your house, there’s someone in need of God’s love expressed in tangible ways this Christmas (and the rest of the year too!) And you wouldn’t believe how rewarding it is to shut up, and just be God’s hands…

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

– Matthew 35:34-40

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