It’s fun to think how God might have called a big assembly in heaven to discuss how to best train me for my calling:
All the top angels might have arrived on time for the special meeting in the Throne Room and sat around a large conference table. God would have asked for suggestions on how to handle the problem child named Larry. Perhaps, Gabriel raised his hand.
“Yes Gabriel?” God would have asked.
“Let’s have him fix and clean hundreds of toilets. It might humble him enough so that You can eventually use him as a worker in Your kingdom.”
“Hmm! Good idea, but let’s hold that one for later.”
“What about moving him all over the country so he feels like a pea in a tin can, with You constantly shaking him around?”
“Yes, Michael, another good idea. We can train him like we did Israel in the wilderness. But still, we need to put him between a rock and hard place to squeeze the pride out of him. Clarence, do you have any ideas?”
Clarence would have shrugged his wings. “Why not try the car crash routine again? It worked well with George Bailey.”
“Brilliant! That’s it! We’ll send Larry to at least ten dealerships as a salesman. Let’s work it out so he’s fired at the first four dealerships and totally unsuccessful at the last six. He’ll weep and shake with fear whenever he walks into dealerships from then on,” God might have said, while gazing at His ministering angels. “Now, each of you, go out and make this happen. We’ll have fun watching Larry die daily.”
The Lord spoke to my heart a month later at Lambdi Car and Truck Center when I was washing my hands in the men’s restroom: “You’re going to be fired again.”
The Lord’s words angered me. I walked to my desk, grabbed my coat, and went outside. There, I walked all over the car lot, telling the Lord what I thought of His handling of my life.
“I’m sick and tired of being fired. This is wrong! What kind of testimony does this demonstrate to unbelievers and my wife? This is terrible! Can’t You do better than this?”
On and on I ranted for over thirty minutes while Leo Lambi, the other salesman, a financial officer, and secretary watched, wondering if I had flipped out. I eventually came to the conclusion that God was going to do what He wanted with my life. After all, He is God.
“Okay, Lord, do what You want to me.”
Two days later, Lambi called me into his office.
“Larry, I’m letting John and you go. Business is slow, you know. I’m hiring a former sales manager from Fort Dodge. The two of us can handle the business in the future.”
“The Lord told me you would be firing me the other day. So, what do you want me to do? Finish out the week or what?” I asked.
His face revealed shock about my statement.
“You can work or go home now. John has already left.”
I worked the rest of the week and sold the most expensive car on the lot on my last day of work for Lambi Truck and Car Center.
(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)
We have to remember there were other people involved in my life when I worked at the auto dealerships. The income was needed to help provide for them. So, why would the Lord allow my family and me to endure such pain and suffering?
God hated my pride and wanted to rid me of as much of it as possible. Period.
Trials are meant to change us. We need to embrace the pain and suffering, allowing them to change us into the image of Christ.
(Continued in Part 5…the full series to date can be read here.