In 1999 a small rural congregation in West Virginia set out to build a new church building. An elderly member had willed a piece of land, so all the members had to do was raise the money for the building itself. They even did much of the construction labor with their own hands. In less time than they expected the building was finished.
About that time the chair of the county building committee appeared on the scene and announced to the pastor that the church had not met the county guidelines for the number of parking spaces needed, and before they could receive an occupancy permit the parking would need to be substantially expanded.
Problem: No additional land. The property on the street-side of the building was flat; the property to the rear of the building was steep and unusable. The church made its appeal for an exception. The county stood firm. The church appealed the appeal; the county wouldn’t budge. The word impasse comes to mind.
The little congregation had prayed its way through the project to this point; now their praying took on a sense of desperation. They were out of visible options.
After a late night prayer vigil the pastor stood before his congregation and announced that they could return to their homes with an attitude of trust because he had the sense God was able to lead them out of this seeming dead end.
The next week the pastor was on the site prayer walking the grounds and asking God for wisdom. A pickup drove in and approached the pastor’s car. The driver stepped out of the truck and engaged the pastor in conversation. Seems he was the foreman in a construction project some distance away and they were building a shopping mall. There was a swale area on the property and they were going to have to do some major back-fill.
He said to the pastor, “We’ve noticed the rocky embankment behind your building, and we’d like to offer to remove it. In return, we’ll level the area, then pave it and stripe it for parking. The only condition is we need to get started right away because we need to keep our project on schedule.”
May I respectfully suggest a couple of questions? Can God do that? Well, if He can hang the moon can He come up with someone who can haul off a few truckloads of dirt? If He can provide a sidewalk where there had been only a sea bed, can He provide a paved surface to park a few cars? Final question: Is God honored when we trust Him?
By Don Jacobsen