So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground. – Judges 6:36-40
I have a friend who likes to pray very specifically. She likes a detailed understanding of how and when to pray. Being a more bohemian spirit who operates under the understanding that God is not limited by the bounds of time or our imperfect understanding, I often pray in more general terms. But that was before my fleece test.
It all began a few weeks ago when our youngest son’s car went through yet another repair. I had prayed often for the Lord to provide a replacement for his vehicle, euphemistically categorized as a classic, but I knew that would require an additional income source for him. That was the subject of another prayer request.
A worship leader, my son often found himself borrowing my husband’s crossover on weekends to transport gear to and from gigs. And then it dawned on me: Perhaps he could take over the ridiculously low payments on that vehicle, and we could find a replacement. So I mentioned the idea in passing to my husband, whose fingers immediately went to work on Google searches for an affordable option for us.
Day after day, my husband would send me links to vehicles he had found. His No. 1 choice: a Taurus X, a revamped iteration of the vehicle he already had. “We can drive to Miami to get this one,” he said. But only an abduction would get me to go to Miami. Then, finding his first choice in short supply, he settled on a Saturn Vue an hour away. “We can go test-drive it on my day off,” he suggested. But I had gotten cold feet.
The timing wasn’t perfect. I wanted to get something, but I wasn’t sure about getting something right then. But I saw the disappointment in his eyes. “We can go look at it, but I don’t want to get pushed into something,” I said.
Immediately I started praying: “Lord, if you want us to get a new vehicle when we visit that dealership, give us a clear sign so we can see Your hand in it.”
The Internet rep with whom my husband had connected turned out to be a men’s ministry leader at his church. We immediately began talking about the Lord as we drove around – and beyond – town. Then, as we pulled back into the dealership lot, my husband’s voice rose an octave and his eyes grew wide.
“Wait, is that a Taurus X?” he asked, looking at the car two spaces down. “Where did that come from?” A door handle broke as we tried to exit the Saturn.
“I don’t know,” said the rep, who was clearly flustered at the door handle. “I’ll ask. We’ve never had a Taurus X on this lot before.” A few minutes later, we learned the car was in the process of being traded in. We headed back outside to take a slightly illegal look inside the car, which was loaded and in excellent condition. It turned out to be the year my husband wanted with the mileage he wanted. “Get out! The owner’s coming!” the rep warned us as we left streak marks on the pavement.
Despite the Taurus’ value clearly being higher than the Saturn’s, the manager offered to match its price – until he didn’t. Instead, he lowered the price $1,000 in addition to replacing the brakes and throwing in a three-year warranty, another high-dollar perk and killer financing. I was left with no complaints, and my husband was left with what our mechanic describes as a like-new car. And our son has a safe, reliable, affordable vehicle he can use as he continues to serve the Lord.
What others call coincidence, we call providence. By the Lord’s leading, we had arrived at the dealership within minutes of the only Taurus X that had ever graced its lot. If we had returned to the dealership a few minutes earlier or later, we would have missed it. And the Lord made a hit list of every one of my concerns. The fleece was wet; the fleece was dry; the Lord was in it. And I’m in awe of such grace.
And to my friend who insists upon praying specifically: Lesson learned.