(part 7 of A True Story)
by J. C. Corcoran
Two days after Bill McBain hit me with the word from God, I received a phone call from Joe. He apologized profusely for wasting my time but the council had voted and decided to try a different approach to their fund raising. I thanked Joe for calling and, when I hung up the phone, I began singing praises to God and packing up all the import paraphernalia. I knew now why the whole thing had happened. God had set it up so I could meet Bill McBain because God had sent this Spirit filled man to Peach Springs to pass on to me a word of knowledge.
Our God works in mysterious ways.
Things began to move quickly from that point. After discussing it with my wife and then my Pastor, I sent a letter to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for an application. Within a week I had received the application along with instructions to have three people, well acquainted with my walk with God, write them a letter of recommendation.
Two weeks letter I received a letter from the Registrar’s office asking me to come in for an interview along with my wife. I asked my Pastor about it and he said no, he didn’t think that was normal. He said it would be impossible to bring in all the applicants for an interview. That caused me some anxiety.
We dropped the girls off in Phoenix with my sister-in-law and set off for the fifteen hour drive to Fort Worth. Our appointment was for nine a.m. the next day and it was four p.m. when we left Phoenix. We would drive all night and, hopefully, arrive in Fort Worth for a quick nap. That’s not the way it turned out.
We took turns driving and napping and grabbing coffee at every gas stop and we arrived in Ft. Worth at 8:20 a.m. I called the Registrar’s office in hopes of getting a later time and the lady smiled ( I heard her smiling on the phone) and said that they were used to people coming in half asleep so we arrived on time.
I don’t remember the name of the Registrar at that time but the man really floored me when He stated his reason for the interview.
I had applied for the school of music and for good reason (so I thought). I love to sing; I do it all the time and sang many times in church and at parties; it just seemed natural that God was calling me to the music ministry.
But the registrar told me that he thought I might be going in the wrong direction. Actually what he said was: “I have read your application and I have read and reread the letters of recommendation from your pastor and your friends. And far be it from me to try to persuade any one to go against God.”
“But…” he said with a slight smile, “After reading all this material, I am convinced that I need to tell you to think about the preaching of the word.”
All I could say was, “What?” I was dumbfounded and I knew then how Moses must have felt when God told him to go free his people. And I tried to argue my way out of it just as Moses did. That’s when the Registrar made his “deal” with me.
If I would change my application to the school of Theology, at least for this first semester, and, at the end of the semester, if I still wanted to go to the School of Music, he would make sure I got in along with any credits I had earned. Once again I felt the hand of God on me so I agreed.
This all occurred on the first Tuesday of July, 1988 and classes were scheduled to begin the second week of August. We had a lot of ground to cover in seven weeks. On the trip back home we made a list of all the things we needed to do before we left Flagstaff, possibly for good.
We needed to find a place to live; preferably close to the seminary. We would have to rent a U-haul to pull behind our car and, hopefully, our old car would make the trip. And in order to accomplish all this we needed money; but I wasn’t working and my wife was going to have to turn in her two week notice. We would need fuel for the car and fuel for us; yes, we needed to eat; more money. We needed to pray.
About a week after our trip to Ft. Worth, I received a call from our lawyer; the insurance company had decided to reopen my case; he would keep me informed.
Classes were to begin on August 12th. We would have to leave Flagstaff no later than the 5th. That would give us a week to get moved in to where ever we found a house; get all the utilities squared away and go for orientation on the 11th, and buy the necessary books I would need. Every time we turned around, we needed more money.
By the third of August we had not heard from the lawyer and we had not had any luck on finding a house in Ft. Worth. We were motivating strictly on faith. The bible says to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
And that’s what we were doing. We were acting on the belief that we were doing exactly what God wanted us to be doing, and we were trusting Him for the outcome. Just after lunch on the 3rd of August, we received the long awaited call from the lawyer; could we come into his office right away.
The lawyer told us that the insurance company had decided to settle and after he extracted his fee, we would have a total of $12,000. We had to sign several papers and then I asked, “How soon will we get this money?” His answer was not what I had hoped to hear. “I don’t know,” he said. “It might be here in a week; it might take a month.”
“That ain’t no good,” I said, “We need to leave here in two days.” I had already explained to him what we were doing and why we needed the money; that I was going to Ft. Worth to study to be a preacher; that we were trusting God to supply all our needs and he just looked up at me from his desk and shrugged his shoulders. I don’t think he was a believer.
We spent the day of August 4th loading all of our belongings into the U-Haul. We loaded everything except our sleeping bags that we used for camping. We would sleep on the floor that night and we would eat at McDonalds. We honestly believed that if we had to leave Flagstaff with no money and no home to move into that God would provide after we arrived in Ft. Worth. After all, he did it for Moses, and Philippians 4:19 says “He will provide all of our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
And so, on the morning of the fifth, We turned the house keys over and drove to the church. We arrived at about the same time our pastor did and he acted a little strange toward us. He didn’t say anything negative but he did ask me several times, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
I told him it would all be okay as soon as the lawyer called. I had given the lawyer the number at the church and Steve suggested we go to the fellowship hall and make ourselves comfortable. We kept the girls busy with games and Joan and I decided to stay in the 119th Psalm, praising God, until we got the call.
Four hours later; no call, so I called him. He said that the mail had just arrived and there was nothing for us. I thanked him and hung up. We wanted to leave Flagstaff no later than four pm. It was going to be a long trip with four young girls and we hoped that by the time it got dark they would be sound asleep. We gave the girls their sandwiches and we went back to praying. In less time than you can say Psalm 119, the phone rang.
It was the lawyer. He asked us to come to his office ASAP.
What happened in that lawyer’s office I can only attribute to the mercy of God, and that is why I’ve titled this, When God Steps In, Miracles Happen. The lawyer, whose name I haven’t mentioned for his privacy, had made it clear that he was not a believer; but when God steps in even the unbelievers have no choice.
As my wife and I, and our four little girls, stood around his desk; he looked up at me and said: “I’m not sure why I’m doing this but I have a great respect for what you and your family are about to do.” He coughed as if to pause for a second, and then he said…”I have drawn up this agreement for your signature. It says that you authorize me to place the twelve thousand dollar check into my account and draw out my fee plus the three thousand dollars that I am giving you to make your trip.” He looked up at us with a faint smile.
I stood stock still for several seconds taking in what he had just said. My wife started crying and that made me move. I accepted the check with a modest thank you and took the pen he offered and signed the paper.
An hour later, we were standing outside the bank with three thousand dollars in our possession. God had truly provided a way and we were on our way to a whole new life.
So, dear reader, I hope you will join me next week as we arrive in fort Worth, Texas and two years at seminary.
I pray God will bless you as He has blessed me, even after the many bad decisions I made during the next few years. God be with you.