“MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN PUT IN PRISON for five years for embezzling money from a family! I only earn minimum wage!” Lorie* cried. “How will I make my house payments? Or survive?”
We often prayed together about her marriage problems, and for healing from childhood abuse. We claimed the promise in Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
I was speechless, my mind asking God for words. The words that came out of my mouth were for us to praise God that her husband was in prison. “You are crazy!” she exploded. I agreed I was crazy enough to believe that God would turn this around for good. As Philippians 4:3 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
“But I earn very little money. I don’t know how I will survive.” Her voice was filled with anxiety and tears. I knew firsthand what she was feeling. My first husband died when he was 30, leaving me with our two-year-old son. I discovered that God promised to be a husband for widows, and I believed it included abandoned or divorced women.
Ellen White sent an encouraging message to a recent young widow: “God, your heavenly Father, will be your husband at hand to counsel, to direct and comfort as you need” (This Day With God, p. 194).
We prayed (actually I did, while she listened), and I thanked God for being Lorie’s husband, adding that when she called on God, she should ask Him to reveal how He would take care of her. I also thanked God that Lorie’s husband was in prison.
WAITING ON HIM
The very next morning, Lorie called sounding desperate. “My hot water tank broke! What am I going to do? I need hot water!” I told her the only answer possible—to call on her husband in heaven and ask Him what He was going to do. (I confess I was silently praying that God would come through.)
What a shock that by the next afternoon a neighbor asked if Lorie could use a hot water tank. It was new and still in the box. And he installed it, too. All for free! We praised God for the miracle.
I counseled her to keep a prayer journal of requests and answers so she wouldn’t forget. And to spend at least 30 minutes every day with God.
For two years, serious problems came and went, such as no food and overdue bills, and God always provided, usually at the last minute. Money from anonymous donors paid her bills many times. Lorie’s daily 30 minutes became an hour and more as she fell in love with Jesus.
I had been out of town for several weeks and stopped by to check in. I was eager to hear the new miracle stories. Instead, out of her mouth came disturbing words. “I can’t handle it anymore! I want to die!”
I was stunned and felt so sorry for her! She went on, “I could not pay my electricity bill, but someone anonymously paid it, and my electricity was turned back on. Then the electrical company realized I was five dollars short and turned it off again! Do you know what it is like to be without electricity?”
“Only when I go backpacking,” I said. She was not amused.
I backed up a short distance and announced that she must not need electricity or her Husband in heaven would have supplied it. She came out from behind her desk swinging, ready to punch me.
When she calmed down, we prayed together. I thanked God for no electricity and that He knew it was best. Lorie suggested that His best would be to have electricity now.
Her husband’s embezzlement victims believed Lorie had the money to repay and were now suing her. If mediation failed, she could be in big trouble also. The following afternoon, Lorie called.
“I am so glad my electricity got turned off!” I thought she was having a nervous breakdown. All the financial problems were too much to handle! Hesitantly, I asked why.
“Well, it was taking a long time in court. The people who were going to sue me were in a room with their lawyer. I was in another room with my lawyer. The mediator was going back and forth trying to help us. I asked my lawyer, ‘How long is this going to take?’
“He said, ‘Why, what do you need to do?’
“I told him I needed to go home because the electrical man was coming to turn on my electricity. (Someone had anonymously paid the bill again.)
“My lawyer then asked, ‘Why was your electricity turned off?’
“I told him the whole story about no money to pay the bill.
“He said, ‘You mean, you really don’t have any money?’
“I replied, ‘No! I don’t have any money! I don’t know how I am even going to pay you!’
“My lawyer immediately went to the mediator and told him my entire story. The meditator spoke with the victims’ lawyer. That lawyer then told the victims, and they gave up the whole case. They said they would never bother me again about it all. Case dismissed! I am so glad my electricity was turned off twice!” Lorie exclaimed.
Her husband was experiencing miracles, too. During the five years in prison, Tim was converted. He gave Bible studies to several prisoners and called a pastor who came and baptized them. When he was released from prison, Tim was a different man.
Recently, I saw Lorie and asked how her marriage was going. Smiling from ear to ear and with teary eyes, she answered, “It is wonderful! Tim is so sweet and loving. We are giving Bible studies all the time!”
I long to trust God with all of my everyday life, to believe that He always has a plan. What Satan means for harm, God will turn to good. “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20, NKJV).
While things don’t always turn out as wonderfully as this story, I am convinced that the more we choose to praise and thank God for our trials and problems, the more He is able to bless us.
*not her real name