December 2, 2022 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

In 1972, when I was seventeen years old and a senior in high school, I received what I considered to be a wonderful gift from my parents. It was my father’s former work vehicle, a 1964 Chevrolet Biscayne station wagon. I was simply elated to be driving my very first car. It wasn’t worth any more than $200.00, had some dents, rust here and there, and at least 100,000 miles of wear, but it was mine, and I was happy.

As the “proud” owner of my new (used) car, I wanted to make it look as nice as possible, inside and out. Since I had a job, I took some of my earnings and began to clean-up and fix the interior of my car. I purchased several cans of spray paint and repainted every scratched-up piece of metal on the inside of the car.

Then, after refurbishing the interior of the car, I decided it was time to paint the exterior. I went to my dad and told him of my plan. The local body shop gave me an estimate of $275.00 to paint the car. Of course, it would still have body damage and rust in some places, but at least it WOULD BE freshly painted.

Well, much to my surprise, a day or two after telling my father about my plans to paint the car, he came to me and said, “Gary, I don’t feel you should have the car painted. It’s not in your best interest. I’m going to say NO, I don’t think it’s a good idea!” That’s not what I wanted to hear. But, I decided that since he felt strongly about it and had said “NO,” I would respect his thoughts, and not paint the car. But, why would he say NO? After all, I had my own job and planned to pay for everything myself. I was puzzled!

Well, a few months later, I understood why he said “NO.” He saw a bigger picture than I did. He told me that he and my mother planned to take me to an auto dealership where I could pick out a much newer used car and trade in the station wagon. My parents would purchase the car for me, but it was my responsibility to make payments to THEM every month until the car was paid for, and I paid every penny. This new car was just the right one for me, sporty, metallic green, low miles, and it had a PERFECT paint job too! I finally understood why my dad had said NO just months before.

So, what is the relevance of my story? When we pray to God, we generally would like an immediate answer of “YES.” However, sometimes the answer we receive may be “NO,” for a time. Does that mean we’ve been forsaken if a prayer isn’t SEEMINGLY answered the way we want it to be? Absolutely not!

We must never forget that God sees the bigger picture, just like my father had my best interest at heart, saying “NO,” when I wanted to paint my 1964 station wagon. At the time, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t see it my way. God definitely has OUR best interest in mind, EVERY time. He will ALWAYS do what is in our best interest, to have us be a part of the FAMILY of God for ALL ETERNITY! “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:6-7).

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:16-18).

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (I John 5:14-15).

Brethren, there are some excellent Biblical examples showing us where God gives an answer of “YES” to a prayer. But sometimes, God’s answer may not be a “YES,” as quickly as we would like it to be! Once again, God ALWAYS sees a bigger picture, and has our best interest in mind EVERY time. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Please have a good night’s rest and a wonderful Sabbath!

Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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