Monday, July 2, 2012

Perhaps...

I Samuel 14:6b "Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.


So I started using a new smartphone app last week that is designed to help me memorize scripture. I Samuel 14:6b was the second scripture it "assigned" me. God imprinted it upon my heart in a mighty way, just so I would not forget the impact of His Word.To start this post, I am going to go back several months, just to give you an idea of what an amazing thing God has done for our family.

Over the last several years, my family has been hit hard financially. My husband went without work for two and a half years before finding work about a year ago. During this time, we used Trey's retirement from his previous career to live and open a business. In the last two years, our business failed, essentially losing all of the retirement fund. Our car was subsequently repossessed about a year ago and then our home was foreclosed upon less than a year ago. We have been so blessed during this trying time that our loving God has provided for us every single step of the way. We have a home and we both are now employed. We have two beautiful, healthy daughters who make us proud every day. Recently, the provisions of God's hand has been incredible and undeniable.

Our oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, just graduated from high school. Early in her senior year, she went to visit a few different colleges and of course was being inundated with mail asking her to consider colleges and universities across the nation. In the midst of all of this, she felt led to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She was in fact, so determined to attend Baylor, that she did not even apply anywhere else and would not even look at other universities once she had visited and made her decision. Baylor, being a private, Christian university, is incredibly expensive and you could almost feel the level of stress rise in our house with just the thought of paying for her education. My husband, Trey and I talked about it, prayed about it and honestly we felt this was where she needed to attend. I remember looking at Kaitlyn and saying (the first time of many times), "If Baylor is where God wants you to go, then he is going to have to figure out the money. If he doesn't, you will be attending the local junior college, because we can't even begin to pay for Baylor." Kaitlyn understood, but was still determined and sent off her application.

Trey and I struggled with the idea that we knew this was a great school and our daughter's heart was set on attending there, but we knew we could not pay even a little bit of it. We usually have about $15-25 left each week when we are super careful about our money. The estimated cost of attending Baylor University for one year is currently $51,281! Yes I said $51,281!! Nearly $52,000 A YEAR! Talk about impossible! The amount took my breath away!

It wasn't long that Kaitlyn received her acceptance letter and we needed to send in a $250 deposit to start the process of her becoming a Baylor Bear. We didn't have it. Then we received a check from the electric company for $248 as a refund from our previous account on the house that had been foreclosed. Trey and I discussed it and thought we needed to take a true step of faith, so we used that money and I put the envelope with Kaitlyn's deposit in the mailbox. The mailman came by, taking the envelope and leaving one in its place from Baylor. Imagine our shock when she opened this letter, the very day we sent off our faith deposit and it was a notification to Kaitlyn that her grades and SAT scores had earned her a scholarship of $34,000 to be spread out over four years! It was our first sign that we were on the right track.

For the next several months, I just kept thinking and praying that God would figure out the rest of the money. We really were in no position to even pay for junior college. By April, she had received about $24,000 for the first year through the government and another scholarship from the university!  It was still a long way from $52,000, but it was starting to look a little better.

Trey, Kaitlyn and I attended Freshman Orientation at the beginning of June and it was there that I truly felt a peace that this campus, this University was where my daughter needed to be; it was where God wanted her to be. Every meeting we went to stressed the importance of God and faith and the school's desire to ensure students' spiritual well-being while they further their education. After all the fun parts of orientation, the last place we were sent was the financial aide office and cashier's office to discuss the bill and prepare us for our round of payments. We were still about $14,000 short for the first year. Our options were very limited, and the nice man in the financial aide office said we would need to make payments of about $2500 a month, starting with the first one due July 31st. We just nodded and said, "Okay, thank you." and left in a surreal state of wonder. I remember thinking, " I hope this all works out. How will I tell our daughter that she can't attend here?"  Then I quickly found my "faith button" and just prayed, "Ok, God, this one is all you!"

This is where we found ourselves last week. Enter the verse above. Notice the beginning of it: "Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf." summing up my feelings and thoughts completely! Perhaps: not a word very full of faith is it? And yet, I think God understands that completely and even honors it. I really thought He would figure it out, but in the back of my mind I worried that maybe it would not happen.
Then the second part of the verse hits me: " Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few." Did you catch that? NOTHING can hinder the Lord! A really wise man I know once told me "If God wants it to happen, there is nothing they (those humans that think they are in charge) can do about it...they cannot even say 'no'." The second part of the verse, "whether by many or by few." is also very significant. You see, Jonathan was going, with only his armor bearer, to face the Philistine army. He was watching for a sign that this was what God wanted him to do and if he saw that sign then the two of them would go and attack, by themselves. Jonathan was telling his armor bearer that it doesn't matter to God how big or small your enemy is, nor does it matter to him how big or how small you are. God can do great things with a few or with many. Conversely, He can defeat few or defeat many, it really is not significant to His ability to save.

This is the verse God sent to me via a smart phone app (of all things) the very week I needed to know that even though $52,000 was HUGE to me, to God it looks no different than $1. Our only option for the rest of Kaitlyn's funding was to get an alternative loan. However, obviously, our credit was not good enough to be accepted for a loan. It would have to be in Kaitlyn's name with a cosigner since she is just 17 still and does not have lines of credit established. It was what should be considered a long shot, but last week, it was approved. We are fully funded for the first year of our oldest daughter's college education at the institution of God's choosing, with the bill paid by His bank account. If God says it will happen, they can't say no. No more questions, no more arguments, and it should be no more worries. I hope that I have learned to understand this concept a little better. I have committed a new verse to memory that is a very powerful verse to know. Most importantly, our daughters were witness to the amazing way that God will provide for His children. That is a lesson they can hold onto in future difficult times. Praise to God our Father who loves us and takes care of us even when we are still saying 'perhaps' when he has already said 'YES.'

Blessed beyond what I deserve,
Stephanie
srieper89@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/heartiscrossed