Just Enough Light For The Step I am On
Some years ago, my business (and the livelihood of my family and my employees) was in a very difficult spot. It was a spot of my own making, but I was there none the less. As I was seeking wisdom from the Lord on how to proceed, what I should do, miraculous intervention and more, I was not given the answers I wanted. In place of miraculous sweeping answers to my prayers, I was given instead the very strong impression that I would receive just enough light for the step I was on. I tried to move forward in faith but, honestly, I was struggling. The situation was difficult, and I needed a clear plan, action steps, and divine wisdom. In my mind, the promise of a faint light by which to proceed was not very helpful.
But that was all I was given. Little by little, small things would fall in place at the last minute allowing us to move forward slowly. They were not necessarily easy things, nor things that went seamlessly, but they were jobs and projects that made provision for us in a very difficult time.
One such thing was an unexpected job to come build two greenhouses. The bid was lucrative but not excessive, but it was an opportunity for income that we were not expecting. The catch was that the job site was almost 4 hours away in an extremely remote area and we had to haul in the materials.
If everything went right, I and my crew could complete the job in two very long but full days. I’m sure it will not be a surprise for you to hear that everything did not go right. The weather was awful, the logistics of getting somewhere 4 hours away with a crew, meals, transportation and caring for everything on the farm back home were more daunting than anticipated.
Our scheduled two exhausting days came and went along with a cold front, rain and a lot of frustration. I would not be paid until the work was done, and some very hard deadlines were approaching. Frustrated and exhausted, I planned to make a third trip on Saturday at the end of the week to finish the job, it would be tight, but it should be possible to finish on Saturday. In all this I felt the continual impression from the Lord that just enough light would be given.
On Friday, a massive storm and cold front came in. We decided in spite of the cold weather to go ahead with our planned Saturday trip. The final work would involve putting in thousands of metal screws with battery operated impact tools. When the entire team was working simultaneously, our extra-large batteries could only hold us for an hour at a time. All together our cheap slimline batteries (12 of them) would only last us about 30 minutes total. In order to keep working, I had a large 4-way speed charger that we would operate constantly. To make sure we could get a quick and uninterrupted start I took the speed charger and all the extra-large heavy duty batteries out of my truck and charged them in shifts throughout the night.
Saturday dawned cold and we left at 5am already tired. In truth, I was really dreading the whole thing. I was frustrated the job was not already done, exhausted with the situation, and feeling really drained. Riding with me to the site was one of my 3 helpers. A troubled young man whom I had shared the gospel with on several occasions and frequently talked with about spiritual things.
As we drew near my heart sank, it was below freezing and though the road was clear a solid 8 to 12 inches of snow lay on the worksite. Everything was frozen and our pipes, supplies and materials were covered in snow. I put on a strong face and gave instructions to the guys to start clearing off the snow and finding materials as best they could as I unpacked the tools.
It was then that I made a crushing discovery….. I had left my speed charger and all our heavy duty batteries along with our other single chargers at my house! I had our impact tools but the only batteries I had were our cheap slimline batteries that had been fully used up and never recharged when we had been here last. I was devastated. Emotions of frustration, anger, disappointment, and defeat swirled through my mind.
We were two hours from the nearest store to purchase new batteries and chargers and we had a full day of work to do. If we left the jobsite we would not finish today! The temptation to explode in anger was almost overwhelming. But as I was processing this, the young man (we will call him J for this story) walked towards me and asked for the batteries so they could get started.
I don’t remember the exact words of the prayer I uttered silently, but the heart of it was this: “Lord this is hopeless. You said I would have just enough light, but this is impossible. Please make a way.” It was simple, and many times I would not have even attempted to pray in such a situation. After all, what was I really expecting? The junk batteries we had wouldn’t last 30 minutes without a charger if they were charged – and they were not. Did I think a random stranger would stop by with a box of batteries and ask if we needed any? This was ridiculous! Why not just cut my losses, pack up and head back for the day?
Instead, I uttered a simple prayer and handed J one of the spent junk batteries. He pressed the battery indicator button and it briefly flashed low battery. He looked at me and asked “where are the good big ones?” I sighed and said I forgot them; we would do what we could with these. And we did.
Despite the fact that they flashed low battery and the fact we had discarded them into the bag days before (because they could no longer power our tools) I handed them out and we got to work. After twenty minutes of loud simultaneous “whack, whack, whack” filled the air, I breathed out a prayer of thanks that we had already accomplished more than I had dared to hope. At least we will have got something done I thought.
About this time the impact tools started falling quiet as the batteries died (how they had even started I wasn’t sure). Lacking anything else to do I handed out different dead batteries from the bag and threw the now double dead batteries back into the bag. This continued all day long. The batteries were never recharged. There were only 12 dead ones to begin with. With all four of us working and draining them about every 20 minutes we were cycling through every battery on an 1 hour interval in the bitter cold. That was a pace that would have been impossible to keep up even with the four-way speed charger – and we had no charger!
I was almost in shock. With every battery I re-handed out (from the same bag) I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing on ourselves and for our batteries! As the day dragged on, I started to wonder if we could actually finish, and I dared to pray another prayer. “Lord, please help us to finish today.” Again, I felt the strong impression I would have just enough light.
Now working with joy in my step and with great enthusiasm born out of wonder, the work progressed swiftly in spite of the snow. As the daylight faded, we were putting in the last of thousands of screws when we should never have been able to put in a single one. As we put in the final screws, one by one the batteries died and old ones from the sack no longer provided any power. They did what they should have done first thing that morning and for hours afterwards- nothing.
But it seemed they died after the last screw that each guy needed to put in was finished. The last battery died after putting in what seemed was the last screw. As we gathered up the tools, I was praising the Lord, but then as I stooped to pick up a fallen piece of trash, I noticed a key screw was missing. Without it I could not in good conscience tell the owner we were finished and ask for payment. My heart raced, was I really going to have to come back 4 hours one way to put in a single screw? I sent up a prayer as I walked back to the bag “please, Lord, just one more.”
I grabbed a dead battery off the top of the bag (one that had just stopped) and I inserted it into the impact. As I bent down to put in the final screw, I tapped the battery indicator button. A light briefly flashed. I smiled as it inserted the final screw through heavy gauge steel. The Lord had provided just enough light.
The Lord taught me a powerful lesson that day. I truly believe if I had reacted in anger and never prayed (my first impulse), I would have received exactly what I asked for: nothing. I learned that day that the Lord can make a way even when by earthly standards (and the laws of electroconductivity) there is not one. It was a powerful reminder to dare to pray!