OK, one of my favorite movie lines comes from "City Slickers." In response to the question, "Kill anyone today?", Curly responds, "Day ain't over yet." Put another way, the answer is "no" but there's still time. The "day ain't over yet."
I've been using this line all week as people ask, "Do you have all the money you need for your Africa trip?" Truth is, we had all the money necessary for the tickets, the shots, the medical insurance, the hotel bill, the food, etc. etc. etc. But we didn't have enough to help pay for the conference where we are going to minister. We didn't have enough to help the Central African pastors travel to the training we had scheduled. We didn't have enough to feed them. Bottom line: we didn't have enough.
One of my favorite quotes outside the Bible is attributed to G. K. Chesterton. He is reported to have said, "God is never late, but he is seldom early." (Actually as I look for verification of that quote, I come up wanting…still…it's a true statement.) I've seen the accuracy of this statement time and time again, as I've watch God provide, albeit usually at the last minute.
All this week, Bonnie and I have been queried with regard to our finaces for this trip. And all week long we have been telling those who asked, "No, we don't have the money yet, but God will provide." Truth be told, privately Bonnie has been a little concerned. She acknowledged that God would provide, but the lateness of the hour rattled her at times. When this happened, I'd always reminder her of Chesterton's statement, remind her we didn't need the money yet and say, "Day ain't over yet."
Technically, we didn't need the extra $1200 until tomorrow morning. But practically speaking, if we didn't receive it at church this morning, we didn't see how it would come in. So we arrived at church, not speaking to anyone about this need, but waiting to see what God would do.
When I arrived at church, someone pressed $100 into my palm as he shook my hand. "This is for your trip," he said with a smile. I thanked him and slipped the bill into my pocket without looking at it. "Time for that later," I thought.
When it was time for our season of community prayer, one of the Elders called Bonnie, Elizabeth and I forward so the whole church could lay hands upon us, commission us, and pray for our trip. I confess I found this time especially meaningful.
Last year I departed for Africa alone, without such a commissioning. The church I was attending had a man as the head of the missions committee that felt the need to be…shall we say…extremely hands on. Put another way, if it didn't come through him, it didn't get done without a fight. As the trip was hastily arranged, the pastor told me (with genuine sorrow) that he just couldn't call me forward and pray over me unless he was willing to endure significant trouble in the church. I was disappointed both at the lack of prayer and the state of the church, but I understood.
This year, however, the church prayed for me. Not only me, but my dear wife and daughter who are going with me. The contrast to last year was marked and I was grateful to God and our church for the change.
At any rate, after the service was over, one of the Elders gave me a check. "This is the total of what has been given including today," he said. Again, I put the check in my pocket without looking at it. I thanked him, and after visiting for a few minutes more, left the building. Only when we were in the car, did I pull out the bill and the check. I was shocked, although I shouldn't have been. We needed $1200 for our trip. The total was $1220.
Isn't that just like God? He is never late, but he is seldom early. He provided for us. He gave us exactly what we needed with just a bit to spare. As we prepare to depart tomorrow, I can't help but be reminded of his faithfulness. It builds my weak faith for the coming trip and gives me the opportunity to publicaly tell of his faithfulness.
I don't know what's going on in your life, but if you're waiting on God, remember: "Day ain't over yet!"