It’s funny how God answers prayers. He never ceases to amaze me in that regard. Sometimes, the prayers are obviously quick and to the point, but in other instances, I can be sent through a long journey of frustration and acceptance before the prayer is ever fully addressed. And it’s those long journey types that drive me nuts, as I’m sure they drive you nuts too. But now I see one of the reasons He does it that way—to humble us AND amaze us in such a manner that a “quick and to the point” revelation could never achieve.
A perfect example—what transpired at the start of this week, and concluded this evening.
On Sunday, the joys of homeownership led me to the inevitable home repair. I discovered that a leak from the shower head I had been procrastinating fixing was getting worse. Much worse. I decided that after church, I’d attempt to learn how to fix it myself. Yet I was apprehensive, because usually these seemingly simple repair things never turn out easy in regards to home improvement. I envy handymen and those skilled at troubleshooting. Especially plumbing. I prayed for help resolving my issue in a quick manner so I could learn and hopefully help others learn in their issues, should they experience the same. It was a noble prayer and one that I expected God to come through on.
Well, it turns out God had different plans, I just didn’t know it yet.
As I took apart my faucet, I realized I didn’t have the right tools to take it completely apart. I tried and tried, but soon discovered I probably didn’t even have the right strength either. What I really needed was a good handyman. I took a deep breath because I had hoped that it wouldn’t come to this. Why?
I haven’t had much success with contractors in the past. In fact, from my own personal experience, it has become one of my least favorite industries to contact. And it was probably one of the real reasons I had been dragging my feet on this particular problem now that I think about it.
Yet, God knew this and was somehow preparing me for something. I just didn’t know it yet.
I had acquired some business cards from grocery stores and bulletin boards from random handymen in the area, “just in case” I needed one in the future. Well, here was that future. To save myself frustration, I decided to trust the Lord with choosing the right one. I prayed to him to help me find a good reliable person that wouldn’t rip me off this time.
Out of the several emails I sent out, only one contacted me back in a timely manner, a guy named Vaughn from JVK. I gave Vaughn a call back, explained my problem and we set up a time for him to come over that following Wednesday during my lunch break. Great!
I studied the business card in my hand—I couldn’t figure out the JVK. Obviously the “V” stands for his name, but what about the “J” and the “K” in the company’s acronym? Maybe it was a three person owned company or something. But then where were the other names on it? Ah, it wasn’t really important…or was it?
As Monday and Tuesday went by, the leak got worse. A tiny drip was now an annoying stream of wasted water. One of the other handymen contacted me, but I couldn’t take a gamble and wait around any longer. I had to hedge my bets on who God led me to first, and that was this guy Vaughn. I didn’t know why, but I just knew that I had to trust him.
Wednesday finally arrived. I now had a large bucket collecting the excess water from the shower head. One night and it was already half full. As I left to drive to work that morning, another contractor in a large white van came barreling up the single lane alley as I was going down it. He put on his gas and forced me to back out! What on Earth?? He then proceeded to blare his horn at me in disgust. Buddy, please. You don’t even live here. It was enough to annoy me, so I guess his purpose was achieved. But as I continued my drive, I prayed…
Lord, help me, or rather allow me to find the good in people. Because I have a feeling today might be a test of my faith.
A few hours later, I get a text from Vaughn. Something prevented him from meeting me at lunch. No problem. At least he was courteous enough to be honest with me. We rescheduled for 5:15 later that evening. I figured that at least in the meantime, I could save him some time and try to find the supplies that he might need—this replacement cartridge for this Glacier Bay faucet handle I took apart.
I went to a local store that stocks plumbing supply parts, which I won’t name because it’s not worth it. The salesperson barely gave me the time of day to tell me they don’t carry any Glacier Bay supplies there. “But you’re a plumbing supply place, how can you not carry the one brand that is popular in America? And it just so happens that one brand I need?” The salesperson didn’t even glance up from his cellphone to respond. Lovely.
As I left that business, I prayed again…
God, whatever happened to good customer service? Again, please help me to realize the good in people today. Because I’ll be honest with You. Right now, I’m just not feeling it. I’m trying to do the right thing, but it’s hard.
I went to Home Depot and found exactly the good customer service I had hoped for. Unfortunately, the salesperson told me they couldn’t find me the correct part until I had the exact part in hand to match it up. The photograph of the faucet cartridge didn’t cut it. Disappointing, but totally understandable.
After lunch, I retreated back to work, where I was met with the usual acknowledgments, or rather unacknowledged blank stares that I receive every day. Honestly, I wonder if my coworkers even know I exist. The culture of camaraderie, or even just a simple “hello” in the hallways is non-existent to say the least, but that’s another story for another day. But today’s blank stares, given my frustration at home improvement snafus, just really bothered me.
Lord, help me to stay encouraged, please. I know this will all work out well, but just help me to focus on you and not on how other people treat me.
5:15 rolled around and then 5:30. I was impatient. Vaughn eventually showed up. Traffic had been an obstacle getting to my house. He handed me a couple more business cards. I went straight into the issue at hand. I tried to soak up as much info from what he was doing, but it seemed like he didn’t want to be bothered. Okay fine. Another home repair person who has zero personality. I’m totally used to it by now. And I’m used to the lack of hope in people today. Just get done and get out. I have other stuff to do.
And then it hit me. Maybe it was ME that had the bad personality. I mean how rude was it to just jump right into my issue before this man, who I had never met before, barely even walked through the front door? How impatient was I to just demand the problem get fixed and move on with my life? Who was I to think that the world just revolved around me?
God, thank you. I needed that moment of hard-hitting realization. And you waste no time in helping me quickly see my faults and realize how wrong I was in my perceptions.
After Vaughn finished, he asked me how I was to pay him. We agreed that I could get him cash to make it easier, but he’d have to follow me to the bank down the street so I could withdraw the funds. No problem. I hopped in my car and had him follow me over. The night was almost over…
…or was it?
As Vaughn followed me over I glanced back in the rearview mirror to see how close he was to me—and then I saw it—the front license plate on his truck read…
And at that moment I knew.
God had been setting this whole night up a couple weeks out. He answered every prayer of mine, yet I just had been too blind to see it in my moments of anger and frustration. God wanted me to see exactly this moment for what it was on so many levels.
I withdrew the cash and handed it to Vaughn and thanked him. He responded with, “thank you, and be sure to keep us in mind for the future.” I hesitated telling him about the Jesus license plate, but I just knew I had to.
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
“You know, it’s funny Vaughn. I noticed your license plate in the front there and knew exactly that I had chosen the right person,” I added. “In fact, I was kind of apprehensive about you and contractors in general, so I had actually been praying that God help me find the right one. And well, here I see that you are in fact, the right one.”
Vaughn’s eyes lit up. I think he was just as surprised as I had been. It was at that brief moment that we instantly connected. We talked about our respective churches, our faith, and even what his company JVK meant.
The “V” is his name, the “K” his wife’s, and the “J” for Jesus, which is first in the company name, because they put Him first in their lives. Ah, it makes sense now!
Vaughn even invited me to come out to visit his church, Calvary Full Gospel sometime. In fact, he’d be really happy to share the service with me, he added.
Thank you Lord. You answered all my prayers this week exactly how I needed to have them answered. And you never cease to amaze me in your preparation to answer those prayers. I just never know it yet until you’re ready to deliver it, in the ways I least expect.