God is doing something new
by Don Morris
In 1988 we loaded all of our possessions into the biggest rental truck we could find and left the family farm near Ulysses, Kan., and headed for Fresno, Calif., and MB Biblical Seminary (now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary).
Janna and I thought we would live out our lives as farmers, but God had other plans. For four years I wrestled with God pertaining to his calling my wife, Janna, and me into full-time ministry, As I struggled with the decision to move to Fresno to obtain the necessary education, God provided a verse that has since become my lifetime verse: Isaiah 43:19. The translation I learned then says, “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth, will you not be made aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, a river in the desert (NASB).”
That verse became the bedrock for building our faith as we prepared to move away from the farm and from family. Our three children were ages 11, eight and five at the time, and we knew moving halfway across the country was going to be a huge change for them. We had no jobs lined up once we arrived in Fresno. How was this all going to work? God kept reminding us, “Behold, I will do something new….”
As we pulled out of the drive and headed down the dirt road to the highway, there was still a lot of apprehension. I drove the truck and Janna followed behind in our car.
When we got to Kingman, Ariz., I still had a quarter tank of gas, and I thought we could easily make it to Needles, Calif. Well, two miles outside of Needles and with an eighth of a tank showing on the faulty gas gauge, that big Ryder truck sputtered, coughed and died—out of gas. The truck began to slow down, and using our CB radios Janna loudly exclaimed from her car, “What are you doing?”
“I’m coasting,” I said.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because I ran out of gas.”
Now for those of you familiar with Needles you know that it lies in a depression. So for two miles that truck coasted down the highway toward the desert city. When I exited onto the off ramp, I could see that the stoplight at the end of the ramp was red. My two oldest kids were with me, and their eyes were as big as saucers by this time. We got down to the end of the ramp and the light turned green! There was no one in front of us so I allowed the truck to keep coasting.
We slowly ambled across the four-lane highway before us and up a shallow incline to a Texaco station. The momentum of the truck barely kept us going until the truck died—exactly at the pump. And even though this is now a comical story to recall, at that moment I sat there and cried. “I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, a river in the desert,” God reminded me.
Those words were true thousands of years ago for the people of Israel. They were true for us in 1988 at a gas station in Needles, and they are true for us today. Are you in a desert? God will make a roadway!