B. CALLING AND BIBLE SCHOOL
PROVISION AND SURPRISES
From that time onwards we never again had a financial challenge right up to the end of my Bible School training. It was as if we had broken through a barrier. I think God’s testing and building of our faith had, for the time being, come to an end. This was much of a relief. There are some subjects in any course that are harder than others!
However, there were other challenges, one of which was that of transport. We had moved further away from the Bible School and I had to travel 15 km daily to and fro with a fairly dilapidated Lambretta scooter which somebody had given me. That machine really humbled its user. Every now and then it would break down along the way because the carbon inside the combustion chamber came loose and a small speck would get onto the spark plug, with the result that there was no spark, no ignition of the fuel vapour and consequently no forward movement. I then had to push it off the road, get out the box spanner, remove the spark plug, clean it, replace it and continue on my way with hands all black with oil and a conscience soiled by thoughts of anger. Then again it would cut out at a robot and would not kick-start so that I would have to run with it for some distance and then jump onto it in an effort to get it started. Having repeated this procedure three or four times, it might let out a cloud of blue smoke, then take off slowly as if doing me a favour. Now just remember that not long before I had been a Magistrate in that very area and that many people knew me. While thus engaged in persuading my unwilling donkey to carry me on its back, I often wondered what they were thinking of this Magistrate on that poor little scooter.
One day as I was travelling to Bible School, the traffic was very heavy and a long line of motor cars was waiting to pass a certain robot. As motorcycles and scooters normally do, I slipped by them on the inner side of the road which was quite legal. Then something unforeseen happened: there was an open piece of ground to the left of the queue of motorcars and one of the cars left a gap for a parked car to get through the queue and into the lane going in the opposite direction. The driver came through that gap at full speed and suddenly popped up right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes but to no avail and I hit the car right from the front. I went over the handlebars onto the bonnet while the scooter went partially underneath the car. I slid off the bonnet and managed to walk but was limping badly. My knee and ankle were hurting terribly. I did not want to make an issue of it and so we agreed that we would talk about it later on and they took me and the scooter back home.
The scooter was damaged beyond repair, so I was stranded without transport because Martie was then expecting our second child and I would not leave her alone on the smallholding without a car. Urgent petitions ascended to heaven again and our wonderful Lord came to our assistance by persuading a certain Christian brother to give us his old Volkswagen Beetle which was still in a fairly good condition. Unexpectedly I was now travelling in style, listening to the radio while thinking back to the Saturday nights I had previously been returning by scooter, travelling the 15km in winter through one suburb after the other, smelling roasting meat and shivering with cold all the way. It had also been rather dangerous and Martie was much relieved that I could now travel in comfort and safety. “All things work together for good for those that love God.” (Rom 8:28)
A good father loves to surprise his children; so does the Father of Fathers. As students we were altogether dependant on what people gave us as they felt led by God. None of them had made any commitment to give something on a regular basis. We always had sufficient to eat but there was nothing left for luxuries or entertainment. During one of the holidays of the Bible School, I was sitting in the living room of the Park Home watching Martie, as usual busy as a bee. I started teasing her, saying: “Oh, can you imagine how wonderful it would be if we now were at the seaside, sitting on the sand, watching the waves rolling in, feeling the breeze upon us and sometimes going into the water and having a good swim. Oh, don’t you think it would be wonderful; just imagine this.” She was getting more and more upset with me, telling me to keep quiet and not stir up desires that could not be fulfilled. There were just no funds for something like this at all.
As we were speaking, I suddenly remembered that my uncle and aunt on whose smallholding we were staying, had a son in the Department of Justice and that he was stationed at a seaside resort called Mtunzini where he had a house all to himself but was complaining that there was nobody to cook for him; he had to prepare his own food. I said to Martie: “You know what, Ben is at Mtunzini. How about it if we go there, cook for him and share the place with him?” That got her attention!
We mulled this over in our minds for half an hour or so, then went to my aunt, got my nephew’s phone number and I phoned him. Was he delighted to invite us down there, not so much to assist with the cooking but to have company! He had the whole place to himself and there were many vacant furnished bedrooms. All we needed to take along were our clothes and bedding. So, joy upon joy. Still in a daze of unbelief, we packed the Opel as fast as only young people can and before daybreak the next day, were off. The day after that we were lolling on the beach, smelling the salty air, basking in the sun, building sand castles with the children just as we had visualised it 48 hours before.
Oh, praise our Father, our Heavenly Father Who has so many surprises up His sleeve. I often can almost see Him sitting way up there in heaven, waiting to see His children’s reaction to a miracle He had done for them, smiling down at them, smiling at the angels saying: “Just look at that; just see how surprised they are!”
WHY DO YOU LOVE SURPRISES? BECAUSE YOU WERE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD AND HE JUST LOVES TO SURPRISE HIS CHILDREN!
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