A few years ago, our daughter called from Columbia International University, telling us she wanted to transfer to the University of Tennessee, but she didn’t want to live in the dorms. She wondered whether we would drive to Knoxville and find her an apartment near campus. Though Katrina and I had mixed feelings about her transferring, we accepted our assignment stoically; but arriving in Knoxville, we had no idea where to look. As we drove through the streets around campus, our hearts sank. Scores of buildings had Rooms To RENT signs, but they were rough and rundown. I didn’t want Hannah in any of them, and we made no inquiries.
Pulling to the curb, we bowed our heads in prayer. I had recently been studying the book of Genesis, so I prayed, “Lord, when Abraham’s servant was on a mission in Genesis 24, he requested an angel to guide him. Now, please send that same angel-or one just like him-to guide us to a safe, desirable apartment for our daughter.”
We pulled back into the street, turned the corner, and immediately saw a stately brick building, clean and well tended. The plaque on the side listed it as a historical site. An arched entrance opened into a grassy square with a bubbling fountain. “That looks like an apartment building,” I told Katrina. “I think I’ll check.”
“Don’t waste your time,” she replied. “We could never afford it.”
I checked anyway. As I walked through the courtyard, I came upon an older woman, purse and keys in hand, who eyed me warily. She was the manager, and she said the apartments were primarily for graduate students and career professionals. “We like it very quiet here. No parties. We turn undergrads away”
But as we talked, she began to warm up. She finally admitted to having one small efficiency available, and, yes she would rent it to us for Hannah-“if I like her when I meet her.” When she told me the price, I stifled a smile. It was less than the flophouses around the corner. Today Hannah is still safely quartered in that apartment. I’m certain the Lord sent an angel to guide us.
In the unfolding of His providence, burdens become blessings, tears lead to triumph, and the redemptive grace of God overcomes the undercurrents of life in the experiences of His children. For them, all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.
No wonder Charles Spurgeon once quipped, “We believe in the providence of God, but we do not believe half enough in it.”
Robert J. Morgan, The Red Sea Rules. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001, p. 87-89.