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Install five phones

Sometimes Everything Seems Stacked Against You

Have you ever had one of those seasons in your life when everything seems to be stacked against you? Did you ever experience a time when you put every ounce of strength, will, and desire into making progress but you still lost ground? I had such a season, it was winter, and there was no work for my company. Try as we might, we couldn’t pay our bills and had barely enough money from week to week to meet payroll for my skeleton crew. What was I going to do?

Many years ago I owned a residential and commercial tree service. In my business, we cut down dangerous trees near people’s houses. Our busy season was from early spring to late fall but it was slow the rest of the year and I often struggled to keep my business afloat. This year was particularly harsh and even though I did everything I possibly could to keep my men working, our future looked as bleak as the January sky.

Never fear, the work will appear!

Yet, for some reason, every day, when I walked into the office, I proclaimed loudly “Never fear the work will appear!” At first, everyone thought me odd but soon everyone started to believe that the work really would appear. Time and time again, even if we had nothing to do in the morning, by noon some job would call in and my men would rush off to do it.

I did this for months until one day, walking into my office, my accountant caught me and said, “we can not pay our bills this week and there is just enough money in the bank to cover one more payroll.” Feeling like the weight of the world rested on my shoulders, I sat down at my desk and stared off into the distance, trying to think but fresh out of ideas. As I sat looking out the window, God spoke to me and said, “Install five phones.”

Seriously God?

“What?” I answered incredulously, “You want me to install five phones?” “Father, I already have five phones with five lines each so what could I possibly need with five more phones?” I protested further by saying, “Besides, I have no work!” Though I knew the voice of my Father (and this was definitely His voice), His words shocked me.

Install five phones today!

I knew, however, that God was telling me to do this so I called up our phone vendor and said, “Install five more phones on my system TODAY!” They said they would be right over and, telling my accountant what it would cost, she looked worried and said: “we will have nothing for payroll on Friday then.” I replied, “That’s OK, God will provide.” When my brother learned of my plan to spend payroll on needless phones he stormed out of the building madder than a wet hen. My brother already thought that I had “lost it” when I left engineering school to go to Bible College and this only confirmed that I was a certifiable Christian nut. When the technicians had finished up and left and I went home feeling very alone.

The next morning, I awoke early because I heard the wind howling like a freight train outside my bedroom window. Stepping out my back door, I saw a tree had fallen on my house and the other trees in my yard bending over like blades of grass in a strong gale. We were in the midst of what would come to be known as the “Inaugural Day Storm”.   This particular storm was one of the worst weather systems to hit our region in decades. It took hours to thread my way through downed trees and snarled traffic to work.  Upon entering the office, to my amazement, everyone one of those 10 phones were ringing off the wall.

Christmas on the Inaugural Day Storm

In fact, every one of those 5 lines on those 10 phones lit up like Christmas lights. My brother walked in and his jaw literally dropped open. We called family and friends to man the lines. We called anyone and everyone we knew who could run a chainsaw. Trees were down on homes everywhere within a 100-mile radius of our shop.  Over the next 4 weeks, we brought in over 250,000 dollars!  Along with their regular pay, I gave each of my employees a 2000 dollar bonus.  We even had enough money to get us through the rest of the winter in fine shape.

So often, we only see the immediate, the natural, the dire circumstances of our life.  However, when we listen to God we tap into His knowledge and wisdom.  Hearing God’s voice opens a whole new world of possibilities we can’t see in the natural. None but God knew the future, but because I knew God I also accessed His knowledge. I realize now that my declaration of faith ultimately moved God to tell me to prepare for the coming storm. After that, every one of my employees, except one, started going to church and eventually became believers.

The tangible blessings of spiritual obedience

We bought new equipment, paid our debts, and rejoiced that something very special had taken place in our midst. I went from zero to hero in less than 24 hours, because of God’s voice. I praise God for His Holy Spirit!  If you ever find yourself fresh out of ideas and wondering what to do next, just “Listen, Hear, and Obey on time”.  God will never steer you wrong, even if He says to “install five phones!”

Speak Life by TobyMac