Our first job upon arrival in Italy was to start the hunt for a family vehicle. Our prayers in that regard had begun well before departure. At home we came up with a list of particulars and Pietro shared them with his men's group a few nights before we left. We even went so far as to pick a color, you know... to narrow the field if you will. So the list went like this: 2010 or newer, 100,000 kms or less, diesel, standard, 9 passenger with rear double doors , 11,000 euro or less, grey/silver in color. As the week progressed I also added a deadline to the list, my birthday, Friday, March 27th. At first I really felt kind of odd about being so precise about our request. Like, were we pushing it? My devotional reading for that morning, right after I finished wrestling with Him in prayer about this literally knocked the wind right out of me;
"I am a God of both intricate detail and overflowing abundance. When you entrust the details of your life to Me, you are surprised by how thoroughly I answer your petitions. I take pleasure in hearing your prayers, so feel free to bring Me all your requests. The more you pray the more answers you can receive. Best of all, your faith is strengthened as you see how precisely I respond to your specific prayers. Because I am infinite in all My ways, you need not fear that I will run out of resources. Abundance is at the very heart of who I am. come to Me in joyful expectation of receiving all you need, and sometimes much more! I delight in showering blessings on My beloved children. Come to Me with open hands and heart, ready to receive all I have for you." Jesus Calling, March 23
Despite these words of assurance and promise the days went by and we found ourselves increasingly nervous as we widened our search by large margins on all criteria and did not succeed in finding anything that had two of these items combined. We searched day and night online all over the country and came up with nothing. As the story goes, these vans are snatched up to be used as rentals, or purchased by sports teams for team transport. Everywhere we went we heard the same words... "dificile trovare" "difficult to find".
The harder they said it was the harder we looked and the more frustrated we were. We felt like God was saying, "Wait for it". but our humanness and need to "do" something kept popping up like a die hard jack-in-the-box. Another timely devotional clinched it for us.
"Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do. It entails trusting me with every fiber of your being instead of trying to figure things out yourself. Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live, all day, every day. I created you to stay conscious of Me as you go about your daily duties. I have promised many blessings to those who wait on Me. Renewed strength, living above one's circumstances, resurgence of hope, awareness of my continual presence. Waiting on me enables you to glorify Me by living in deep dependence on Me, ready to do My will. It also helps you to enjoy Me; in My Presence is fullness of joy." Jesus Calling, March 26th
It's kind of funny because we ask ourselves what waiting on the Lord looks like. I mean, if you don't go to a dealer, or make phone calls, or do internet searches, is someone just going to come and ring your doorbell and offer to sell you the vehicle you need? Ha! So here is how our story goes. We were at the apartment of friends in Florence for lunch. Their upstairs neighbor came down to greet us briefly before going out to run some errands. Since he used to work for Fiat our hosts told him that we were on the hunt for a van and he made a few calls, but the usual replies. Difficult. An hour or so later the doorbell rings and he is standing there with his son in law who tells us if we want, he will sell his Fiat van to us. We asked him how much he wanted and he said "Well, I have no idea, I had no intention of selling it."
Scratching our heads and smiling strangely we go off to look at the van and it is a September 2010 model, 98,000 kms, diesel standard 9 passenger with rear double doors, he offered it to us for 10,500 euro and.... dark gray. God literally brought the owner of this van that met every single one of our criteria to the door of a house where we only happened to be visiting for a few hours. All we had to do was..... wait for it.
Stones. They are everywhere. Stumbling stones, stepping stones, stones for throwing, stones for piling. In the bible, stones are used for remembering. This is a place for me to pile my own rough stones of remembering along the road I am traveling, one post at a time. They are more than mere words thrown out into the wake of my path. They are a concrete testament of God's faithfulness, provision and goodness along the way.