I just had a good phone conversation with my son. It started me thinking about something wonderful that happened to him when he was ready to start his first year of studies at a community college. It was during our previously referred to Nightmare Years of poverty and chronic health issues. We had no idea where our son was going to get the tuition money for even a 2 year course. He secured enough student loan for living expenses but it just wasn't enough to pay the very high tuition and texts and art supplies. I raged away at God for awhile about our inability as his parents to help him even a little bit. I prayed for a miracle until I was hoarse. But God got me back for all my whining and I am grateful that God doesn't tend toward being smug when he answers our prayers. As it happened, when the answer arrived in spectacular fashion, I felt silly enough without any assistance from the Almighty!
A new friend of ours that we were just getting to know had a sister in another town that we barely knew at all. This sister had a debilitating illness of her own at the time and wasn't able to work. She spent most of her time entering contests.......as a nearly fulltime occupation. For many years she entered contests and the list of prizes she has won would fill pages and pages. About all she has not won is a house, and a million dollars. She knows how to enter contests and win.
The college my son was hoping to attend sponsored a contest that year. The prize was full tuition and text books for 2 years. We hadn't heard about it but my friend's sister had. For some reason we don't know to this day she felt she had to win this tuition for our son. The lady travelled to the city where the college was. Entrance forms for the contest were available at all outlets of a popular fast food restaurant. BUT in order to even enter the contest the contestant had to provide proof that he or she had previously attended a 2 day orientation course at the sponsoring college. This lady went to the college and sat through the 2 day orientation. For an entire week she drove from restaurant to restaurant all around the city buying cups of coffee in order to qualify to get an entrance form. In all she entered my son into the contest over 400 times.
We had no idea she was even doing this until the evening before the contest draw. She called our house all excited and told us what she had done and that she just knew Eli was going to win. We really weren't sure we understood what the contest was or what she had done or anything else about it, hung up the phone and kind of shrugged at each other, hoping she wouldn't be upset that all her sacrifice and effort was for naught.
I went grocery shopping the next morning, having forgotten all about the contest draw which was being broadcast on a morning television programme. Apparently at the end of the programme the announcer told the viewers it was time for the draw for free tuition to take place. A Volkswagon Beetle filled with two thousand entries was wheeled into the tv station and with great fanfare one small contest entry was pulled out of the car. When the announcer read out the name of the winner, it was indeed our son!
When I returned home from shopping I noticed there was a phone message waiting. The message was left by a screaming, crying, hysterical woman, "He won, he won! I told you he would win!!" Huh?? Who won what??? I couldn't figure out what she was talking about or even who she was. But a few minutes later our new friend called to say it was her contest crazed sister who had called us and that Eli had indeed won 2 years of free tuition at his college of choice.
O ye of little faith.......served me right for losing my trust in a Heavenly Father who had cared for us in so many incredible ways for several years. Why would he deny the youngest member of the family the same care and provision?
My son was able to experience 2 wonderful years of school that set him up for the career that he has today, one that he loves. When the student loan department lost his loan for an entire semester and he had to open a high interest line of credit to be able to eat and keep a roof over his head he was wondering how he could pay it back in a reasonable length of time on a new graduate's wages. But about that time my husband inherited some money that he was able to share with our son to get his line of credit paid off in one lump sum payment only a few months after graduation.
An interesting aside: this contest was to be an annual event and a lot of publicity went out across the country about it. There were photos of my son, their first winner, in all the advertising. But the contest wasn't held the following year.........or ever again...ever......hmmmm
A few years later when son hit a slump in employment a former roommate of mine that I hadn't seen in years contacted me because she had just inherited some money and wanted to send $5000 to my son for no reason other than she remembered him as a baby and how he was the only baby she ever met that seemed to take to her. Whaaaaa? Who does something like that??? Well my former roommate did exactly that!
Right now my son has decisions to make about his future and they will involve some aquired debt for more education. He has just come off his worst year for sales in the past 8 years. Things are going south with some of his contacts, and costs where he lives are skyrocketing. But it isn't time to panic, it is time to remember who is ultimately caring for us all. It is good to look back and remember the past and be filled with faith for the future. God is good and his mercy endures forever. This too will work out.