At first, being divorced with four young children was like capsizing in a storm, plunging into frigid waters and sinking down to the bottom. But before I could drown, a giant hand reached down and lifted me out of the darkness, and continued to do so, each time I got in trouble.
The following are true stories that the kids and I went through when they were too young to know how difficult it was, and how dependent we were on the One who stretched His hand out to save us.
In the early days, our refrigerator often leaked across the hardwood floor. According to several technicians, it was irreparable, and so I moved it into the garage, letting its streams flow freely across the cement.
At that time, I was teaching English at a small Christian school. The benefits were amazing. I got to bring my three oldest children to work where they received a free private education. The pay, however, barely covered the mortgage and heat for our drafty, old house, plus a few groceries.
Once a year we had Parents’ Night at school. Not long after the old refrigerator took up residence in the garage, I talked to a man who owned an appliance store.
“Mr. Swanson, how much do refrigerators cost?” I asked.
I don’t remember his answer, only that my teacher’s salary couldn’t afford new ice cubes.
“I’ll keep my eye out for a used one,” he promised.
I spent a year going out to the garage to get frosty lettuce. Every so often I would check out appliance sales and learned a lot about buying refrigerators. Stores charged for bringing you a new one, and for taking away the old one, and interest payments might land me in debtor’s prison.
Finally, I’d had it with walking out to the garage every time I needed an egg. I placed my hand on top of the old behemoth, and prayed.
“Lord, would you please bring me another refrigerator that works, have someone deliver it without charge, and take away the old one?” Feeling inspired, I added, “And make it white.”
A few days later, Parents’ Night rolled around again, and I stood in front of thirty bright, shiny faces. Parents’ faces.
Afterwards, Mr. Swanson came up to me.
“Do you still need a refrigerator?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
“I have one I could give you, free of charge. It’s used, but very nice. My son will bring it over, and haul away the old one, no charge.”
My hopes rose. “What color is it?”
True to his word, that Saturday his son Michael pulled a delivery truck into my driveway. He brought a gleaming white refrigerator, not too old, into my kitchen, set it up, and calmly wheeled the offensive, leaky one back out to his truck, then drove away without saying goodbye.
This refrigerator never leaked. We sold the house, and as far as I know, it’s standing there still, humming quietly and keeping food cold.
It wasn’t that it took Mr. Swanson a whole year to get back to me. The problem was that it took me a whole year to pray about it. But I was learning.