I’ve been approaching this blog post from every angle. I want to say something. I need to say something. I’m pretty sure I’m SUPPOSED to say something. But, there’s a decent chance that thing I say might not be said well. I SO want to say this thing well.
I need to tell my blog friends a story. When I witness goodness, faith and generosity, I feel compelled to share the story. I was born to tell stories. The reason for my pause is this: I don’t want you to misunderstand. This is not a story about me. It’s not a story about my family. It’s not a story about me asking you for sympathy for my family. This is a story about other people. This is a story about faith. This is a story about prayer, and answered prayer. This is a story about witnessing the God of the Universe responding to real time requests. This is a good story. So, I’m tellin’ it:
Long, long ago…back when Scott and I were just past being kids ourselves, Scott was a teacher and coach at a tiny school in Iowa. About 50 kids per grade. We LOVED this school, and this community. After 8 years in this community, we got an idea that we were meant to leave. So, we did. We moved to Wisconsin, and it broke our hearts.
We built our lives, and raised our kids in Wisconsin, and life is good. But, we never lost contact with our Iowa friends.
Eddie Gets Sick
When we moved to Wisconsin, we had some struggles. Eddie became ill. His life wasn’t turning out like we expected. Not at all. Eddie battled a debilitating illness that kept him from school, and just life, really. We told little Eddie that we would spend every spare moment and resource we had available to us to find a way to help him feel better. So, we did.
Eddie Gets Better
I guess Eddie’s illness just had to run its course. Its 12 year course. Towards the end of high school, Eddie got up on his feet a bit more. His life started to look a bit normal. We can’t actually tell you what made him better, or even what was wrong with him. We just know that thousands of mouths petitioned Eddie’s cause to our God in Heaven. God answered with a miracle.
Eddie IS better. But, he has some things he missed. Like, school and working.
Truthfully, he still has some ground to cover. Staying upright and healthy for more than a week is something he is looking forward to achieving.
Eddie Goes to College
Eddie has a unique spirit. His spirit is both strong and flexible. The spirit God gave Eddie allowed Eddie to find a way to pursue his high school athletic dreams, while also carrying a burden. It was quite a display of courage.
Eddie is going to wrestle in college too. He says he isn’t finished. He wants a chance to fight to the top.
Paying for Eddie’s College
When we were spending money on doctors and miracle cures, we weren’t thinking about college. We were just fighting for the POSSIBLITY of college. College is now possible.
When people have asked Eddie what he’d like to do after college, he hasn’t had an answer. He told us the only thing he can really see himself doing is helping people. He sees himself in an impoverished country, doing what he can to offer some relief.
Hear me now, it isn’t that I’m not proud. That’s a sweet thing to hear your teenage boy say. I mean, I’m the one who told the little tiger in Kindergarten that we were lucky to be poor (relative to the kids Eddie knew). I followed that statement up with proof. I said that we couldn’t possibly enjoy everything we had as much as we did, if we had more than we needed. I guess the little sucker chose that one moment to listen to me too.
I don’t know if Eddie will do this impoverished country thing. We all have big ideas when we’re young, don’t we? I was going to be a children’s author and missionary, oh, and a Ninja in my spare time. But, I guess, based on what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be so surprised if Eddie didn’t do just as he plans. He can be like that.
I have been praying this college thing over. I have been attempting to turn every overwhelming wave of fear into a prayer. On this very day, I told God I was going to fast and pray. I was going to ask him to help us figure things out. Like, how Eddie can find money for college, without money for college. And, how we could responsibly take out loans with Eddie’s extravagant plans to earn millions feeding the poor. So, I fasted and prayed.
I know. Telling people you’re fasting is breaking the rules. No one likes a bragger, especially God. But, I’m breaking the rules, because the story must be told.
I told God I thought he meant for Eddie to go to college, and I was asking for some direction. I told God I would fast and pray today, and seek a sign of peace.
God’s Answer in the Mail
After a day of fasting and prayer, asking God for peace that we could afford to send Eddie to college, I came home and got the mail. In the mail was a fat white envelope. In the envelope was a long, long letter with pictures of some beautiful families, and faces from our past. In the envelope was a check.
God used Scott’s former athletes and students to deliver a bright bolt of encouragement and confirmation into the lives of my family. These beautiful families explained what it meant for them to have a teacher and a coach like Scott to invest in their lives when they were young. They told us that Scott was a guy who was used to help spur them on to their own great stories as husbands, dads and employers and employees.
These guys explained they wanted to express their appreciation with a check. And, by the way, maybe we could use it for Eddie’s college.
I cried. I cried a lot.
I know that in this story, I’m making God sound like a big magic Genie. He’s not. That’s not how it goes. But, then, sometimes that’s just how it goes. Sometimes we get to see the hand of God moving in our immediate atmosphere. Often he moves through Humanity. I’m a witness.
Scott is Weird
Poor Scott. The kid takes a compliment kinda hard. He can’t face it. He really can’t. He loved seeing pictures of his former student athletes, and their families, and acknowledging what awesome lives these guys are living now. He’s so genuinely happy for them.
Scott will strongly protest any compliments sent in his general direction. He will stand firmly in his belief that it was NOT anything special on his part that helped any of these boys. He has a sincere belief that it was, in fact, these boys, and the community that was special. I agreed. This community was special. I also agreed with Scott that he was in NO WAY special. Sometimes you just tell a guy what he needs to hear.
To Whom Much is Given…
Do you know that verse in the Gospel of Luke? “To whom much is given, much will be required”. That is us. That is our family. We have been given much.
We are rich.
We are rich in friends and family. We are rich in faith. We have been given much. So, I guess that means much of us is required. I’ll take that trade.
I pray we recognize what is required. Even if what’s required is impoverished, and in another country.
May God bless these boys, and their families.