Finding Jesus at a Painful Craigslist Purchase
My wife has gone Craigslist crazy lately and is finding all these great deals on furniture for our new home – which is great, except picking up the furniture can get complicated.
The other day, she told me she wanted to get this armoire from a moving sale, and I resisted. Well, anyway, I lost that battle, and the next thing I knew, I was setting Google Maps to find a gated home in the boonies of Maryland.
This was the beginning of what will go down as one of the roughest Craigslist purchases in history.
For starters, I drove an hour and 15 minutes to get to the address, but then I arrived at a tiny brick home off a rural road and began to wonder if I had reached the address of the Craigslist killer. I called my wife, and she was like, “Um – what town are you in?”
I was 57 miles away because I had entered the address into Google Maps incorrectly. Whoops.
After a testy spat between my wife and me over whether my mistake was understandable, I drove home sulking over my idiotic mistake, only to give it another try a couple days later.
My second trek to the house was relatively uneventful, and when I arrived at the sprawling home, I found two lovely older women who were selling some of their deceased mother’s possessions. Upon seeing the armoire, I realized that the trip had been totally worth it – though I would soon question that severely.
The armoire probably weighed 700 pounds, and there was no way I could handle it myself, so I asked if there were any men around to help. Nope, the ladies were my moving help. I felt uneasy with this arrangement, but they assured me they were capable of providing assistance.
So the next thing you know, the three of us were heaving the thing over the doorsteps and down to my SUV, which I had measured before to make sure the piece would fit inside. We pushed and tilted and strained and heard cracking noises as we tried to wrestle the armoire into the back of the vehicle. But then came the horrific realization that it was about a half-inch too wide.
We paused, panting for air. It wasn’t going to fit.
“I’ll hitch my trailer on my car,” said Wendy, as sweat ran down her forehead. “We can load it on there, and I’ll follow you to your house.”
I felt like aborting the mission, but she was clearly desperate to get rid of the armoire, so I agreed. And that’s when things went from bad to worse.
We dragged the armoire onto the trailer, Wendy got into her minivan, and she turned the key. It wouldn’t start – she was out of gas. So Wendy went into the garage and brought out a gas container and pushed it up to the tank. But when she tried to pour the gas in, it just spilled everywhere because the gas tank wouldn’t open up. That’s when her sister went and got this dog prodder mechanism and tried to stab the tank open.
That didn’t work either, but that didn’t stop the ladies from trying to force gas into the tank anyway. And every effort eventually ended with gas raining down on the driveway and the car refusing to start.
After I had been at the ladies’ house for two hours, Wendy looked at me and said, “Somebody needs to write about this in Reader’s Digest.”
“Oh, I’ll be writing about it,” I said, “I just don’t know what the point of the story is.”
The ladies resumed their efforts, after which there was more sweat, a few curse words, and a weird little dog named Kona that magnified the hopelessness of the situation. But then one of the ladies noticed something: there was an illustration on the door to the gas tank that showed where there was a special gas siphon under the spare tire.
We all rejoiced and dreamed that we might actually leave the driveway before it got dark, but there was very little gas left in the can by that point. Wendy poured most of it in, got in her car, and tried to crank it. It still wouldn’t start.
I was desperate at this point, so I made an announcement.
“Ladies,” I said, “hold on a minute. I don’t know what your faith background is, but I’m a Christian, and I hope this won’t offend you, but I’m going to pray right now. Seriously, we’ve gotta get this thing out of here, so here I go.”
There in the driveway, I begged God to come through for us, and Wendy’s sister jumped in and assured Him that we were all really good people. I was like, “No, God, we’re not that great – but who cares? You love us anyway, and that’s why I’m asking You to come through for us right now.” And after we all said “amen,” Wendy poured in the little bit of gas that was left, and she sat in the driver’s seat.
The minivan started.
We all began cheering, and I shouted, “That’s the point of the story!” Wendy’s sister said, “Yeah! The point is that we should have prayed in the first place!”
Amen, ladies. Amen.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).