Saturday, October 20, 2012

Junebug and Van Diesel

"Junebug," the 1978 handicap-accessible van we've used since 1997

We were grateful for the 1978 van that vocational rehabilitation services helped us buy for Kevin after his spinal cord injury in the summer of 1997. Because Kevin is tall and has a very long and heavy electric wheelchair, we can only travel in full-size vans. It was a blessing to find the aging (but serviceable) van during Kevin's rehabilitation. With a new conversion installed, it worked well for the short trips we took over the years.

But when Kevin received a new wheelchair several years ago, the old hydraulic ramp became too narrow for his huge chair. In order to load him onto the ramp, we had to carefully guide his wheelchair backwards so that one back wheel balanced precariously on the edge guard.

Kevin's wheelchair weighs nearly 400 pounds. I could barely load him by myself. One slip during the lift threatened to send him crashing to the ground riding a behemoth.

For years, we had prayed and looked for a van to replace the one we had eventually dubbed "Junebug." We hoped for something that was a step up to, maybe, 1990. But nothing that filled Kevin's specific needs AND was affordable for us crossed our paths. It became one of those impossible dreams on my list, one of those immoveable stones in our life.

Last Friday, I awakened early and spent some time in prayer. Though I usually pray for the larger, overwhelming issues in life, this time I just made a mental list of the physical needs we have. Included was a request for a better handicap-accessable van.

"Lord, I don't usually don't give you lists," I said. "But I respectfully ask you to consider these needs."

Even as I was praying, I knew it was hopeless. Years of prayer had produced no results. Perhaps we should just be thankful for the van we had. After all, it was still serviceable.

Later that day, Aaron and I headed into town to be with my step-mother while my dad had surgery on his shoulder. A total shoulder replacement on an eighty-year-old man is a sobering venture, so my mind was on the surgery and how he was doing.

But as we passed one of the local car dealerships, Aaron happened to see a gorgeous blue Sprinter sitting on the lot. Its side door was opened and the most amazing hydraulic lift ever was displayed.

You have to be where we've been for fifteen years to understand how a person can get excited about a hydraulic lift. We were bedazzled.

We quickly swung in just to look at it. We figured there was no way we could afford such an incredible vehicle. It was perfect in every detail for Kevin, as if it had been custom designed just for him. It had only 2700 miles on it. It was a Mercedes-Benz, imported from Germany, with a Dodge logo. The paint job was a custom finish. It had large, tinted windows low enough so Kevin could see out. The lift could be operated manually, if needed. The speedometer and air conditioner worked.

It was more than anything I could have imagined for us.

Abundantly more. Generously lavish.

From God, with love.

In one hour, the van was ours. As I stayed at the hospital with my father and step-mom, Aaron took care of the details of the sale. We drove it home that night and shocked the rest of the family with our surprise purchase.

Our upgrade, "Van Diesel"
"Van Diesel" has already been providing double duty, as my father has had a couple of unexpected trips to and from the hospital in the last week. For us, the van represents a new freedom to travel and do things we couldn't do before, because it was just too hard.

Why did God wait so long to answer this prayer, and then send it at such a moment?

Who knows. I'll never fully understand His ways. I just know He is amazing.


Jennifer Hamley said...

I am still speechless at God's amazing provision for our family. It gives me hope that He is still not just hearing our prayers, but leaving opportunities for us to discover Him and His provision. Enjoy! It is so beautiful!

Pam Thorson said...

Thanks, Sis! It has, indeed, renewed my hope and reminded me of just how creative God is. He IS listening to us when we talk to Him. The "how" and the "when" of His provision is a mystery, but His love is steadfast. Much love to you.

Grace Fox said...

I LOVE stories like this. God's power and love for His kids surpasses our wildest imagination. I'm thrilled at the way He has provided for your needs.

Pam Thorson said...

Thanks, Grace. I, too, love His displays of power in response to our need. May He continue to surprise His kids with His abundant provision.