Unforgettable Lesson | Articles | The Fellowship

Unforgettable Lesson

    Apr 14, 2024 | by The Fellowship

    In looking back over my life, I can see that my Heavenly Father allowed me to experience some anxious times as a young adult that taught important lessons.  I was raised on a West Texas cotton farm, but wanted a different kind of life and set my sights on becoming an engineer.  To obtain enough funds to get started on a college degree, I worked for my dad an additional year after high school for a share of the profits from the crop that year.      

    Once enrolled at Texas Tech, I soon learned about ROTC which paid a good monthly stipend for training to become an officer in the Army and serving two years of active duty upon graduation.

    After earning my civil engineering degree, I was assigned to the Army Security Agency and spent the two years traveling with a platoon to bases throughout the states trying to break codes and test security systems.

    My first employment after the Army was with a company in Kansas City that produced designs for  construction projects.  The cost of living was very high there and I was existing paycheck to paycheck.  The winter was the coldest I had ever experienced, so I quit before the second winter came and returned to Texas.

    Upon arriving in Houston, I bought a newspaper to look for potential jobs. After choosing an employment agency, I was sent on three interviews -- and immediately hired by a major gas pipeline company.  The cost of living was quite a bit lower in Houston, and my salary was considerably better than my first job.  The first thing I did was buy a much nicer car.

    My new company assigned me to a training program that took me to different locations for several months at a time -- to Victoria, TX, Eunice, LA, and Roanoke, AL.  In Roanoke, I was being trained in handling engineering duties at a compressor station.  An experienced engineer was my mentor.

    After I was there for a short time, a new compressor for the pipeline was delivered and had to be installed.  To do so, the pressure in the pipeline had to be reduced to a low level, the old compressor taken off line, and the new one hooked up.  This was followed by pressure being restored to the line.  The entire process was dangerous due to the high pressures that keep gas moving through the pipeline.  But the experienced engineer was there to head up the installation.

    Suddenly he fell ill and could not work.  As the only other engineer available, the finger was pointed at me because the installation was mandatory.  All I could do was begin praying frantically, ask for manuals about the process, and rely on the help and advice of other employees who had done it before.  By the grace of God, the new compressor got installed without any explosions!

    But then I began to feel the burden of a totally different problem.  I was in the Army Reserve and required to report to Ft. Devon, Massachusetts, for two weeks of training (a yearly commitment).  It had occurred to me that I did not have the funds to pay for the trip. (Later I learned that I could apply to the Army for an advance for trips.)

    It would take three days to get there and three to get back.  Because of my hefty car payment, I was spending all my monthly income.  What was I going to do?  This was before credit cards. Once again, I desperately turned to my Heavenly Father.

    When living in Kansas City, it took all my monthly income just to live and I had gotten used to spending it all.  I promised the Lord to begin saving some money each month because I had learned my lesson.

    The time was drawing closer and I was agonizing about a solution.  Then just days before departure, I received a sizable check in the mail from my company.  When applying for my job through an employment agency, I had been required to pay a fee upon accepting a job.  My company had just adopted a policy of paying that fee for new hires and it was retroactive to my date of employment.

    Never have I felt the Lord’s provision so intensely!  In the midst of my desperate predicament, He taught me a lesson that has shaped my life since.  Not only is He due a tithe of what He provides, saving for emergencies and unexpected expenses is necessary for peace of mind. His ongoing discipline is actually a very important part of His intense love for me.

    Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
    so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 
    Job 5:17  

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