by Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen
Our pastor and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The church presented them with a gift for a four-day cruise out of Los Angeles Harbor on a “party” ship. I couldn’t help but wonder, “what are you thinking?” It was called a party ship for a reason! Anyway, off they went to celebrate their anniversary.
On their return home, they were full of smiles and reported what a wonderful time they had. A few weeks later, we had lunch with them, and I decided to find out what “really” happened.
Well, they were shocked when they first boarded the ship and saw all the party-goers. They found their cabin and couldn’t decide if they should get off before they left port or stay on board and make the most of it. Maybe this was all part of God’s plan. After praying, they felt God had a reason for them to be on this particular ship.
A big concern was who would be sharing their dinner table for the next four nights. They prayed about the situation and trusted it would be good. At dinner that evening, they were delighted to meet their dining partners, a young Christian couple on their honeymoon. The newlyweds were just as surprised about the atmosphere of the ship, and had been praying the exact prayer.
It turned out to be a fantastic four days. The young couple was delighted to have marriage advice for a few nights, and our pastor and his wife loved the joy and excitement of the newlyweds.
Our pastor’s wife shared, “Don’t ever doubt what God can do when we ask for his help.”
We had been asking God for help for several months. We found ourselves priced out of the housing market in Southern California in the mid-1980s because of the high-interest rates – almost 20 percent. We decided we would rent for a while, but rentals were very scarce because of the high prices. Every day I would study the for-rent columns in the newspapers, but as soon as a house was available, it rented.
I was very discouraged, and time was getting short, as our current home had sold, and we needed to move. For some reason, our friends’ situation regarding table mates on the cruise ship came to my mind.
I thought, “If God cares about who our pastor and his wife sat with for dinner on the cruise ship, surely He cares about where we live.”
That evening we all prayed and thanked him that he had just the right house for our family. We wanted a home in the same school district, three bedrooms, a fenced yard, and within our budget. My spirit lifted, and I thought again about our pastor and the cruise ship dining experience.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV
The next afternoon, I drove through a beautiful neighborhood to pick up the children from school. As I drove down a quiet, tree-lined street, a man placed a for rent sign on the front lawn of a very nice house. I stopped and inquired about the rental. It sounded perfect, and as I looked inside and out in the fenced back yard, it was perfect. But the owner told me several interested parties had already called, and he was interviewing them first. He would be happy to let me fill out a rental application. I prayed to stay calm and trust God. I repeated the scripture from Philippians and our pastor’s wife’s advice – “don’t ever doubt what God can do when we ask for his help.”.
Our family prayed that evening for that house. Early the next morning, the landlord called and said he had chosen us! He told me, “The moment you stopped yesterday afternoon and talked with me, I knew you were the family God wanted in this house.”
We spent several years in that lovely three-bedroom home with the fenced yard. God does care where we live and with whom we dine. The extra blessing was the Christian landlord.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker, member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Bureau and Titanic Speakers Bureau, and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines.
Penelope’s book Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette is a collection of recipes, special menus, and interesting facts and stories of life in the Downton Abbey and Titanic era. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed Downton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration.
Join the conversation: Do you have a story about when you brought your needs before God and he provided for you? Please share!