IT AIN’T EASY – TO BELIEVE

I am sharing three (update – make that four) Testimonies of miracles, when God intervened, rescued and saved me, my family or a friend! This is to encourage those of us who struggle and for those who say they don’t.

Miracle #1 – Provision and Rescue.  They Ain’t Easy!

Luke 17:6

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The year is 1996. I am married with two young sons. I had started a fledgling insurance agency, and we are struggling to make ends meet. Each month we invested several thousand dollars into our agency and if sales were made, we could pay our bills and care for our family.

I had built a solicitation mailing program that required we input data from new home sales into the program and that program would interface with a U.S. Mail bulk mail program and would print and sort a pre-prepared letter and envelope to be mailed. These letters would get a response from homeowners who wanted to buy insurance. The cost was so high, that if our operation was interrupted even one week, the result would be a financial catastrophe for our family and the end of our business.

One particular week, the computer program stopped working. The data input from, what was then called ‘floppy disks’, would not work. I feverously tried again and again. I even reformatted the entire hard drive, reinstalled the operating system on the computer, reinstalled the mailing programs and when I tried to download the homeowner’s data FROM THE 26 FLOPPY DISKS, the program would fail at disk number 18, and disks 18 through 26 were the critical disks. I prayed continuously. I prayed fervently. I prayed desperately.

I worked on this for TWELVE hours (through the entire night and into the next morning), reformatting the hard drive and repeating the process, knowing that if this failed, we would become bankrupt and could not even buy groceries the next month.

I stopped in exhaustion, cried out to God, “I give up. I quit! I have prayed and prayed to you! Now, I give up.”

I started putting things away in resignation. I was defeated. My mind darted back and forth between what to do next and resentment. It was then I decided to do this ONE MORE TIME.

I restarted the computer and put disk number one into the computer. The computer whirred and gave me a screen message that confused me, “INSERT DISK #18”. I was completely confounded. It made absolutely no sense that the computer would skip disks 1 through 17 and ask for disk 18.

I followed the instruction and inserted disk #18. The program accepted disk #18 and another message came on the screen asking for disk #19. This continued until disk #26, the final disk, and after installing the data from disk #26, the machine turned itself off! It did it own its own!

My heart was beating what seemed like a hundred beats a minute. I restarted the computer and told it to start printing the mailing list, AND IT WORKED!

I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. I was weeping with joy as I ran upstairs to tell my wife what had happened. I was so excited that I made little sense to her. All she knew from my excited rambling was that things were working. AND, WORKING, THEY WERE!

God had answered in a humanly impossible situation, in a physically impossible way. As far as I could tell, every logical law of math and programming had been violated and transcended. Yet, here we were. Saved again. Safe and sound. BUT IT WAS NOT EASY.

When God came through, it was an intersection of the natural and the supernatural, and that IS NEVER EASY.

(And a big PS: Our business grew from that point to amazing proportions, creating a living, not only for our family, but for dozens of insurance salesmen, their families and a support staff that grew to 22 people!)

Thanks be to God!

Miracle #2 – Rescue and Restoration. They Ain’t Easy!

Luke 19:10

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

It was, 1993 and our family were members of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Chesterfield, Virginia. I had been a Christian for about 18 years at this point, but, like so many others, I had actually been a Christian for about three years, six times! In other words, I had not grown in the knowledge of God nor in the Word.

Then something happened. Whether God lit a fire in my spirit or I, somehow, needed ‘more of Him’, (or both), I had a major ‘spiritual growth spurt’. Instrumental in this growth, I believe, was a combination of life circumstances and an intense time of Bible study and prayer through a book and course named “EXPERIENCING GOD”, by pastor Henry Blackaby.

My ‘sudden change’ from being a ‘get along to go along’ Christian and member of Oak Grove church, to being weirdly ‘on fire for God’ and ‘doing what God has called us to do’, created quite a stir among my friends and acquaintances. Some, of whom, were not so patient nor friendly about it.

One particular Sunday, just after church services, a lady approached me as we were heading to the parking lot to go home. Her name is Dale.  Dale was suspicious of my ‘new walk with God’, and she hesitantly approached me and asked if I would pray for her and her daughter. I asked why she wanted me to pray, since I knew she wasn’t that fond of me. She said, “Because I know that your prayers get answered!”.

I smiled and protested slightly by saying that God would answer her prayer, too. With that, she became tearful and informed me that her daughter had taken her car and had run away from home the day before and the police had been unable to find her, and she needed God to help.

I agreed that we should pray. So I stopped walking and grabbed her hand and said, “Let’s pray”. Dale recoiled and said, “Right here? Right here out in the open?”

I answered, saying, “Yes. It sounds urgent, so let’s pray now!”

I began to pray and after only a few seconds, Dale’s cell phone rang. She answered the phone, mumbled ‘yes’, a few times and then shouted, “The South Carolina State Police have found her! She is safe, and I need to go get her! Thank you, Mike, I have to go!”

“Hold on Dale”, I insisted, “First, don’t thank me! Let’s take a minute and thank God for this quick answer. And tell me, what happened?”

“Her car stopped running, and she pulled to the side of the road just a few minutes ago. A state policeman was only a few cars behind her, so he pulled over to help and discovered she was a runaway, and called me!” She went on to say, “The policeman gave her the phone to talk to me, and she says she is sorry and wants to come home!”

We prayed and thanked God, together. Dale looked at me and said, “I still thank you, too, Mike, and I told you God hears and answers your prayers. I have just never seen Him answer that fast!”

This entire episode was full of surprises and was exciting. But, believe me when I say, IT WAS NOT EASY!

Miracle #3 – Provision.  IT Ain’t Easy!

My wife, Betty, and I travelled from Virginia to Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois for a ‘parents weekend”. We would also have a chance to see our oldest son, Michael, play in a soccer game.

Michael was concerned that he would have a chance to play. So, we prayed for that opportunity. In fact, I felt my son’s prayer was a bit tentative, so I encouraged him to pray a bolder prayer, and to ask what his heart actually desired. Finally, Michael asked not only to play, but to score a goal.

The game began, but Michael did not start. We reached halftime, and Michael sat on the bench. The second half was the same – no Michael. Then, with about 5 minutes remaining, we saw the coach motion to Michael to prepare to play.  Then a fun thing happened. Michael had been elected as the freshman class Chaplain at the beginning for the year, so most of the students knew him, and the students in the stand began to chant, “Michael, Michael, Michael…” (Chills!)

The score was tied, 1 to 1 and there was about 3 or 4 minutes left in the game by the time Michael got on the field. Play continued and at about the two minute mark, the opposing team’s goalie got the ball and prepared to punt it down the field. Michael was stationed about 15 yards from the goalie, but in his path. The goalie mis-kicked the ball and hit our son directly on the back side. The goalie’s forward motion took him past Michael, but the ball now laid at Michael’s feet, 20 yards from the open net. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but Michael ‘drilled’ the ball into the back of that net, with a bit of force!

The crowd erupted in cheers! Olivet now led by a score of 2 to 1. The refree signaled, “GOAL” and called for the ball to restart play, but the final horn sounded, GAME OVER!!

Afterwards, I asked my son what he thought. His remark was, “I have seen God answer prayers, but never so fast and like that!”

I have so many more to relate, but here is one that is most special to me.

Miracle #3 – Mercy, Rescue and Salvation. They Ain’t Easy!

Mark 9:24

 “Immediately, the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Our family was travelling from a vacation in Orlando, Florida. My sons were about five and eight years old. We stopped at a ‘pull off area’, sort-of-a rest stop, on highway A-1-A somewhere near Saint Augustine, Florida.

The weather was cloudy and blustery. The waves were splashing onto the sidewalk along the shore line, which was lined with large stones to stop erosion, I guessed.

My youngest son, I and walked to the end of a sidewalk cul-de-sac to look at the splashing water. I felt safe enough, then suddenly a huge wave crashed over the rock abutment and onto the two of us. When the water receded, my son was gone! The wave had sucked him into the turbulent water and I could see no trace of him. Prayers began to race in my mind and out of my mouth.

Psalm 116:8-9

For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

Panic seized me and my first thought was, “GO GET HIM!”. So, I kicked off my tennis shoes and turned to dive into the water, which was probably a very bad idea, when another huge wave crashed onshore and as suddenly there was my son Jody, standing upright on the sidewalk, soaking wet, sputtering water and crying! I grabbed him and ran back toward the car, thinking, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED? Nobody is going to believe this.”

You know, it would be easy to say, “Yeah, well, that could have been a coincidence”, and rightly so. But, when this just keeps on happening, time after time, after praying, and believing in faith, I just have to BELEIVE!

So, believe it or not, God saved us again! AND IT WAS NOT EASY. When God gets involved, IT AIN’T EVER EASY, but it’s always good – really good – all the time!

Psalm 116:15-17

Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
O Lord, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.

What more can we say? By faith, Moses? By faith, Abraham? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking and flogging, and further, chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, on mountains, and sheltering in caves and holes in the ground.”

Let’s have faith. Let’s step out on faith. Let’s pray for one another, please.

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

 

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