Lorena Wagner - 07/02/2009
This is my testimony of how the Most High God took me by the hand and led me through a wilderness of no provision, lasting 104 days, to the Promised Land. He taught me how to walk by faith and not by sight by showing me His promises and by showing me each baby step I could take instead of staring intently at the problem. I was thrown into a furnace where my bonds of pride and judgment burned off, setting me free to love my neighbor; and I, in turn, received mercy and grace from my God. He never left me, but He patiently and tenderly reassured me each time I cried out to Him in my weakness and insecurity.
On June 30, 2007, as I got in my car to back out of my parking spot, my car wouldn't reverse. I was surprised but commanded my car to reverse in Jesus' name. It refused; and after several minutes of revving the engine, I decided to push it back. As I drove, my car was jerking roughly because it wouldn't shift; and the engine was revving very loudly. I could only go five miles an hour.
I took my car to a mechanic and told him my car was bucking like a bronco and wouldn't shift or reverse, but I knew I was making a huge mistake because God was using my car to exercise my faith. I also knew Jeremiah 17:5 said, Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD". My car had passed emissions by my faith. Many times I had to use faith just to get my car to start. I had become confident in His promises and had entered the Sabbath rest with my car, but this was a new dilemma staring me in the face.
Three days later the mechanic called and said I needed a rebuilt transmission; and it was going to cost $2,300. I also needed a new CV joint and a catalytic converter. The total bill was going to be $3,200. The Kelley Blue Book value of my car was less than $700. I was devastated. I told the mechanic I'd have to ask God what I should do, and I told him to put my car back together. I'd pay my bill. The mechanic sternly told me not to drive my car because I could ruin the engine. I smiled and said, "My car is healed by Jesus' stripes". He said, "I admire your faith; but you better not drive your car".
I called my family, and we prayed in agreement that my car was healed. As I drove away, I noticed my car was dusty and dirty. There were even leaves inside. I was irritated because I try to keep my car neat and clean even though it's old. The mechanic left the windows rolled down, and the wind blew dust and leaves into my car. I thought about washing it but then thought I'll just wait until it's fixed because he would leave the windows rolled down again, and it would get dirty again. But Father told me to wash my car, and I knew that meant He didn't want me to take it back to the mechanic, but I still didn't wash my car.
My engine was revving loudly, and my transmission was throwing major temper tantrums. It simply refused to shift. I smelled burnt oil, and it was bucking like a bronco. The mechanic told me to drive very carefully because I could blow out my engine and my transmission, but I believed my car was healed, and I was going to drive like I always do.
I worried about my car. I'm a court reporter, and I can't be stranded and be late for my hearings. I just knew the judge would yell at me in front of the attorneys and the people in the gallery. I couldn't sleep. I thought about taking a taxi, but I couldn't afford that every day until my car was fixed.
I called my sister; and she talked me into driving to work, stating Father would get me to work on time. She suggested I park in such a way so I could just drive forward out of my parking spot the next morning without having to push it backward. So as I was struggling to push my car to reposition it for the next morning, I was complaining about how difficult it was. This was the Fourth of July in Phoenix, Arizona; and the temperature was 103 degrees. The hood was scorching hot. I couldn't touch it with my bare hands. I was crying and speaking negatively. My sister was still on the phone with me and told me to watch what I was saying and that I could do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I realized I was speaking against the Word of God and asked Father to forgive me. I commanded my car to go back in the name of Jesus. At that moment, my neighbor and his teenage son saw me struggling and ran to help. They told me to get in the car and steer while they pushed. Because of the temperature, they couldn't touch my car to push it; but someone gave them a pair of old jeans to shield their hands from the heat. I decided I could take one baby step of faith and drive to work the next day.
That night as I was reading my Bible, I asked Father for a scripture by lot regarding my quandary because I desperately needed to hear from Him. Isaiah 41:10, Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
While driving to work the next day, I quoted that scripture over and over and meditated on His promise knowing I was in Father's righteous right hand. I felt His extreme peace and love flowing through me and my car. I initially refused to turn my hazard lights on acknowledging I was having car problems because I believed my car was healed, but I turned them on signaling to the other drivers to go around me and then turned them off again. I refused to anxiously look about me even though people were honking their horns and making obscene gestures because I was driving so slowly. I took the city streets instead of my normal route via the freeway. Father kept all the lights green for me except three. My commute is 21 miles one way, and I made excellent timing even though I was driving so slowly. Father didn't leave me stranded. I called my family and told them about God's promise and how He got me to work.
That night I delivered transcripts to the office. As I was driving, the street I was on had pylons that forced me onto the freeway; and I panicked. I told Father I had to drive the speed limit if I was going on the freeway. I forced my car to go faster despite its temper tantrums, and shortly I was up to speed. Father caused my car to settle down. He obviously didn't want me driving the city streets and wanted me going my regular route. On the way, He showed me all the cars that were stranded on the side of the road; and I thanked Him that I was not one of them. Father brought me through another day even though I was walking by faith in baby steps, and I decided I would take the freeway to work the next day.
During this time, Father kept telling me to wash my car; but I ignored Him because I really wanted to get it fixed. One time His words pierced my thoughts to such an extent it left me puzzled for days. He told me to wash in the Jordan seven times. I didn't know how that pertained to me and my car, and I asked Him to please explain.
I grew tired of dealing with car problems and having a filthy car on top of it and finally washed it. As I was watching my car being washed, Father again pierced my thoughts. "Wash in the Jordan seven times". I finally understood. He wanted me to wash my car seven times; and on the seventh time, it would be healed just like Naaman, the leper.
2 Kings 5:10, Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean". When I told my family, they said to wash my car seven times in one day; but I told them I didn't have enough faith for that; and it would be a waste of time and money. I'd simply wash it as needed. This was my first wash in the Jordan.
My mom, being worried about me, drew a scripture by lot. Ecclesiastes 3:6, A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away.
One morning my car wouldn't start. It was completely dead. I called my dad, and he wondered if it was the battery. He said he'd come over and jump-start my car; and if it actually started, then I just needed a new battery. I could only deal with one problem at a time. My transmission was mountainous enough without adding a battery to the equation, and I desperately needed to hear from Father and asked for another scripture by lot. Luke 14:5, And He said to them, "Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?" I bought a new battery to pull my ox out of the well.
A couple of weeks later, my mom and I were walking out of Costco. We were arguing about who was going to push my car out of the parking spot. She told me she'd push it and wanted me to steer. I told her there was no way I was going to allow her to push my car while I merely steered. I said, "If there's anybody who should be pushing my car, it's Father because it's His car and His car problem". At that split second, a man ran to my side, laid both hands on my hood, and began to push. I handed him two washcloths to use as potholders so he wouldn't burn his hands, but he refused them and proceeded to apply pressure and push. I just stood there watching him with my mouth open. My car had been baking in the hot Phoenix sun, and the hood was scorching. I wondered how he could tolerate the extreme heat on his hands. Coming to my senses, I realized I needed to stop gawking at him and help him push; but he had already pushed my car back. I asked him if his hands were okay, and he said they were and ran off and got into a white SUV. I stood there watching him and then realized I had forgotten to thank him, but he was gone.
That night as I laid in bed, I thought about that man. I asked Father to bless him for graciously helping me and to heal his hands. How could a human possibly do what he did? Father told me he wasn't human and reminded me what I said to my mom. "If there's anybody who should be pushing my car, it's Father because it's His car and His car problem". I asked Him why He had an angel push my car back instead of simply causing it to reverse; and He replied, "It shall be done to you according to your faith", Matthew 9:29. I became ecstatic and momentarily enjoyed this trial of my faith. I looked for Father's hand when I drove my car. There were times when my mom and sister even enjoyed riding in my car by faith, and we would laugh every time my car would buck.
I washed in the Jordan.
Late one Friday night as I was driving home from my sister's apartment, my engine overheated; and the needle went past the red H. I became sick in my stomach, and every muscle in my body tensed. I asked Father to get me home without my engine blowing up; and I kept driving, ignoring the smell of burnt oil, and made it home. When I turned off my engine, it sounded like a washing machine vigorously washing a load of towels even though it was turned off. I thought I ruined my engine, and my car was going into convulsions and dying.
That night, while I was in bed, I couldn't sleep. Fear came upon me. I knew Father didn't want me going to the mechanic to get it fixed. I remembered the mechanic telling me to drive carefully because I could ruin the engine, but I had forcefully driven without regard to inflicting damage, and I needed another scripture from Father. Daniel 4:2-3, "It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation".
The next day my car started. My life once again became peaceful. Father reassured me He wasn't going to leave me stranded. He comforted me and reminded me I was in His righteous right hand. At this point, my trial became just an inconvenience of having to push my car out of parking spots and giving it frequent drinks of oil. I went through a lot of gas because I had to floor it just to move forward. My life resumed; and I went about my daily activities, driving slowly and ignoring $3,200 worth of car repairs hanging over my head.
I washed in the Jordan.
At this point, I became the court reporter for Valley Metro's hearings regarding the public bus system. At the first hearing, I became irritated listening to all the people complain about the buses. Some of them complained about the lack of air conditioning. I found that difficult to believe and told my family about the gripes and complaints of all these people not having air conditioning in the buses. After the fourth hearing, the air conditioner in my car stopped working. By this time, it was early August in Phoenix, Arizona, which is known as The Valley of the Sun and Home of the Sun Devils. It's hot! The average daily temperatures reached 113 degrees. I instantly commanded my air conditioner to work in Jesus' name, and it came back on. After a few minutes, it stopped working; so I commanded it, again, to start working in Jesus' name. But this time, it didn't come back on. I felt like I was roasting, so I rolled down the window. By the time I got home, I was so hot. My face was beet red, and my head was pulsating. I realized Father was chastising me because of my bad attitude and lack of compassion for the people who rode the buses. I asked Father to forgive me, and I asked Him to restore my air conditioner.
The next morning I drove to work and was still without air conditioning. Not only did I have to deal with pushing my car out of my parking spot, my car throwing major temper tantrums, and the engine overheating; but now my AC wasn't working either. The temperature inside my car became unbearable. I had to roll down the window, but the noise from the freeway traffic was deafening, and the exhaust fumes were nauseating. I became overheated; and by the time I got to work, I looked disastrous. As I entered the court building and went through security, I could feel the guards staring at me in shock at my appearance. I had to be in court with a judge and attorneys looking as cool as cucumbers, neatly dressed in their suits; and I was a mess.
I realized how unbearable those buses must be without air conditioning. I realized how those people must feel riding the buses and getting to work all hot and sweaty while other people are freshly showered, driving to work in their temperature-controlled cars. This chastisement from Father drove the pride and judgment far from me and changed my nature. I quickly found compassion for the people who are handicapped and can't drive or the people who can't afford their own vehicles. I was repentant, but I knew Father was letting me experience what they go through day after day. My trial that had become nothing more than an inconvenience dropped me to my knees, and I begged and pleaded with Father for mercy. My air conditioner remained unchanged.
That Friday night my sister and I were going out to dinner, and it was my turn to drive. I hadn't told her about the death of my AC. We got into my car, and I nonchalantly turned on the AC like I always did. As we were driving, she asked me, "What's wrong with your AC? It's not working". Hot air was blowing in our faces making it difficult to breathe. She wanted me to turn around and go back, insisting we take her car; but I said, "My AC is working in Jesus' name". She wanted to roll the windows down, but I wouldn't let her. I told her if my AC was healed, we didn't need to roll the windows down. The heat in my car soared as high as 140 degrees. We both were going through lots of tissues trying to control the sweat. I turned to her and smiled; "Welcome to my tribulation".
I needed to stop by the bank; and when the teller took one look at us, she offered us Popsicles and water. She stated she never buys Popsicles; but when she went to the grocery store, she had a strong impulse to buy some and take them to work. We both knew Father caused her to buy them especially for us. After the bank, we drove to Costco and stood in the frozen section to cool down and dry off before going to dinner. When my mom heard about my lack of AC, she refused to ride in my car again.
I remember David Eells talked about a trial his family went through. His wife, Mary, asked God to show their children the end of the trial; and He did. So I also asked Father to show me the end of my trial because it was becoming intolerable.
I washed in the Jordan.
In an effort to alleviate my torment from the heat, I would drive to work at six o'clock in the morning when it was cooler. Because of my pride, I didn't want to be seen at work pushing my car back with its oxidized faux finish wearing a dress and high-heeled sandals when judges and attorneys were getting into their BMWs and Mercedes; so I would always park in such a way that I could just drive forward.
One day I decided to order my favorite salad for dinner, and I was going to pick it up on my way home from work. I hadn't gone to the grocery store to buy groceries because of my car and the heat. After I picked up my salad at the restaurant, I started to push my car back out of the parking spot. There was a slight decline, and my car easily rolled back and gained speed. It was heading straight for another parked car. I yelled, "Father", instinctively and ran to my car, flailing about in high heels, in an effort to stop my car. I jumped into the driver's seat and pulled the emergency brake up in the nick of time. I got out of my car to see how close I was to the other parked car, and I was less than 15 inches away. With my head pulsating from the heat and tears welling up in my eyes, I cried, "Save me, LORD. I'm perishing". I knew exactly how the disciples felt when they were in the boat with the wind and the waves, and Jesus was fast asleep.
I washed in the Jordan.
I knew Father didn't want me borrowing money to buy a new car because He said in Romans 13:8, Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; but I wondered what the price range would be for previously-owned cars. I searched the Internet and found two 2006 cars with low mileage that had a price tag I could afford. I could pay cash and not borrow.
That night I desperately needed to hear from Father about paying cash for a car and drew a scripture by lot. Nahum 3:5-6, "Behold, I am against you", declares the LORD of hosts; "And I will lift up your skirts over your face, And show to the nations your nakedness And to the kingdoms your disgrace. I will throw filth on you And make you vile, And set you up as a spectacle". The fear of the Most High God overwhelmed me. It was obvious He didn't want me buying a previously-owned car with my savings, nor to borrow money, nor to repair my car. He wanted me in this trial. I grabbed onto the horns of the altar and begged and pleaded for mercy. "Please don't make me ride the city buses". The only option left was Father was going to have to open the windows of Heaven and drop a car into my parking spot; so I made my request known according to His promise in Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
I requested a light blue economy car, cruise control, power windows and locks, and a CD player. I told Him four doors and a spoiler would be nice, but those two items weren't necessary. My highest request was for air conditioning and, of course, the ability to reverse. Those two items were nonnegotiable. I thanked Him every day, and I imagined myself driving my new car on my way to work. I focused on His promises instead of my problem.
A few days later I had to deliver my transcripts. I would go in the late evenings because it was cooler, and there was hardly any traffic. Many times my family offered the use of their vehicles to me, but each time I refused. On the way home, my car completely refused to shift and would barely go five miles per hour. I commanded it to shift, but nothing happened. My car was deteriorating rapidly, so I decided to take the city streets and soon got lost and found myself in a bad neighborhood where there were gangs. Anybody could see my car was in distress because of the engine revving and smoke coming out from under the hood. Someone could easily run up to my car and overpower me. I was tired, hot, hungry, thirsty; and when I saw a convenience store, I stopped for a hot dog and a Diet Coke. It was going to take an hour or more to get home going the speed I was going. Once I got back into my car, I relaxed; and my car shifted. I was able to get up to speed, and my engine finally cooled down. I realized as long as I was in fear, my car was dying; but when I kept my eyes on God's promises, my car would shift. I should have taken the freeway, but I anxiously looked about me and my car.
I came across two promises spoken by Jesus that would be set in motion by my action. Matthew 10:32, "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven". Luke 12:8, "And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God". I desperately needed Jesus to confess me before the Most High God and His angels, so I decided I was going to tell anybody and everybody that my God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus according to Philippians 4:19. He was going to provide me with a new car. I told my neighbors with a huge smile on my face, bursting with excitement, as they watched me push my car. I told my friends at work. I told my apartment manager. I told perfect strangers.
I drove to the Jordan to wash my car; and, yes, I told the car-wash guy. He mocked me and said, "Oh, yeah? Well, the next time you talk to Jeeeeeeeesus you need to tell Him you need a new windshield because yours is all pitted". I said, "Why would I talk to Jesus about my windshield? He's giving me a new car. My new car will have a new windshield. You mark my words. I will be back and show you my new car that God, Himself, freely gave to me".
A few weeks later, my mom called telling me to meet her and my dad at a car dealership to test-drive two cars. I adamantly refused and reminded her of the scripture that Father would lift up my skirts over my face if I bought a car. She told me I wasn't going to buy a car, but my dad was. But I knew my dad didn't have any money to buy a car. What I didn't know was my dad had been car shopping for me. He had received an inheritance from the death of my grandfather, which is a miracle given his family history. Father told my dad to buy a car for me. Again, I refused because I didn't want to spend an inheritance that wasn't mine. After much arguing about who wasn't going to buy a car, I finally agreed to meet them.
They had two cars picked out, and I test-drove them both. Because I had to floor my car for so long just to move forward, I automatically floored the first car I drove, squealed the tires, and scared the salesman and my dad. The royal blue car was obviously the answer to my prayer. My Heavenly Father provided a car for me before the foundations of the earth were laid. The money had been set aside in my grandfather's savings account. The provision flowed from my Heavenly Father, to my grandfather, to my earthly father, and to me. But before I could take possession of my promise, I had to wait four days for the check to clear.
The next day, as I drove to work, I got stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway. The traffic was worse than normal, and it didn't take long before my engine started overheating and going into convulsions. I could hear that sound again like my engine was vigorously washing towels. I turned the heater on to transfer the heat from the engine into my car despite the weather being well over 100 degrees. When the traffic was at a complete standstill, I turned off the engine; and when the traffic moved forward, I turned it back on, revved it, and jolted forward. I babied my car by constantly turning my engine on and off with the flow of traffic. It took me 45 minutes to go 15 miles.
Three more days seemed like an eternity, and I couldn't take the torment from the blazing heat any longer. I called the dealership, asking if I could take possession of my promised car before the check cleared; but they said I would have to take out a loan for the three days. I knew I would have to wait. I broke down and cried uncontrollably. I couldn't take one more day of driving my car to work. I begged and pleaded with Father, asking Him, "Why can't I have my car now?" And He said, "You asked Me to show you the end of your trial. I'm showing you the end, but it's not over yet. You have three more days".
I was speechless. I had forgotten my prayer. At that point, I purposed in my heart I was going to savor the blazing heat from my engine overheating, the smell of burnt oil and smoke coming out from under the hood, my car's every temper tantrum in an effort to shift, and every person honking and yelling at me to get off the road so I would never forget how fabulous and how awesome is the Most High God.
The day finally came for me to enter the Promised Land, flowing with air conditioners and transmissions, and take possession of my new car. My dad and sister rode with me to the dealership. My dad was shocked at how my car was flailing and bucking about. He had never ridden in my car since my transmission went out and was worried it was going to fall out on the freeway, but I knew Father would keep my car moving forward until I abandoned it in the parking lot of the dealership. He never failed me before, and He wasn't about to fail me now and leave me stranded.
While waiting on the salesman, I received the title to my new car and compared it to the title of my old car. I saw a numeric pattern running through the figures. I took possession of my old car on 11-10-1996; and I took possession of my new car on 10-11-2007, which was 10 years and 11 months later. The price of my old car was $11,000; and my new car was $10,000. My old car was 11 years old, and my new car was ten years newer than my old car. This perfect timing could only have been orchestrated by Father.
We climbed into my new car; and my dad said, "Turn on the air conditioner". Instead of there being a blazing wind, there was a quiet arctic chill. He said, "Put this car into reverse and back up". It reversed. There were no temper tantrums, no smell of burnt oil, no smoke, and no people honking and yelling at me.
I am amazed the creator of the universe, the Most High God, Whose throne is in Heaven and Whose footstool is the earth is mindful of me and longs to show me His love and tender mercies. He changed my nature of pride and judgment and gave me compassion and love for other people. Not only did I receive my promise, but He gave me the fruit of His Spirit and worked righteousness in me.
A few weeks later, I drove to the Jordan to show the car-wash guy my new car Father had given me. When he came up to my window, I said, "Remember me?" He said, "How can I forget you?" I asked, "Remember I told you that God was going to provide me with a new car?" He just glared at me; so I said, "God opened the windows of Heaven and gave me this new car". His only response was, "What kind of air freshener do you want?"
One day as I was doing laundry, I counted in my head the number of times I washed my old car in the Jordan; and it was only six times. I was flabbergasted and shocked. I was supposed to wash seven times. The thought of Father lifting my skirts over my face overwhelmed me, and I cried out for mercy. "Father, I only washed in the Jordan six times!" And He said, "And the seventh time you had your new car". 2 Kings 5:14, So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.