In the current economic slowdown, it's good to know God is still answering prayer and prospering His children. I'm encouraged by stories of financial miracles such as the one I recently heard when I traveled to New York.
The economy, it seems, affects everyone—even if it means only belt tightening, watching our 401(k)s drop or discovering credit is hard to come by. But as believers, we know God has promised to meet our needs and prosper us regardless of the current credit policy, the stock market or who is in the White House.
God gives witty ideas, favor and performs miracles. But we often miss Him because such acts are hard to document and therefore are not considered "news." And businesses don't issue press releases. Yet these stories exist, and telling them builds up faith in others.
On that trip to New York I met Brian Carroll who will be 33 years old in a few days. He owns and operates a large construction company in Central Florida. Like most builders in Florida, he was feeling the pinch resulting from fewer construction projects. This is a boom state. There's almost a feeling of entitlement when it comes to growth and escalating real estate prices. People joke that the state bird is the "building crane," so the construction slump has caught many people off guard.
Carroll told me the slowdown in the economy had forced him to look for new business. He felt the Lord had opened doors for him to bid on some huge projects in publicly held companies in the chemical and agricultural industries in Georgia and Louisiana. But none of them had come through.
"I believe Jer. 29:11" he told me, referring to the Scripture about God having good plans for us. "We tithed on the business and personally. We felt we were going in the right direction, but nothing was happening."
Things got so tight that Carroll made an appointment to talk to his banker, saying if something didn't come through by the end of 2008, he was going to have to restructure everything. But while he was at the bank, he got a cell phone call that changed everything. He learned that his company had won huge bids with these publicly held companies, and the new contracts would double his business in 2009. Not only that, but those projects, he believes, will lead to other business opportunities in California beyond this year.
"Isn't it just like God to come through at the last minute," he told me. He had been praying for a breakthrough and then it came. Not only that but the projects were to begin almost immediately. So while many companies are laying off people, he suddenly had to hire staff for his new offices.
"When God moves, He moves," Carroll added.
His company also went from one office in Central Florida to offices in three states. In fact, he had to gear up immediately for business at the location in Stockton, California, but knew no one. So he and his chief operating officer began by flying to Stockton to network with others and see who they could find to hire. They dropped by unannounced at a Pentecostal church.
As they told the pastor about the project and the people they needed to hire, the pastor told them about an engineer in the church who had recently been laid off, and was at the church praying. The man had brought copies of his résumé, thinking he would slip them in the mail on his way home. His qualifications were exactly what Carroll needed. Though that project is still pending, Carroll is staying in touch with the guy, so when the project gears up, he will have someone in place.
Carroll believes, as I do, that God provides what we need at just the right time.
We had a similar story in our company. Large chains were asking us to produce books that give people "hope." We like to think all our books offer hope. But with so many people discouraged, they wanted just the right book, and were asking our salesmen what we have to offer.
It usually takes a year to produce a book, but that very week one of Jentezen Franklin's staffers told us about a book called "What to Do On The Worst Day of Your Life" by Brian Zahnd. When we heard the title and found out it was the story of David at Ziklag, we knew it was perfect for these times. So we quickly signed a contract and in less than 90 days after we first heard of the book, it was in bookstores! Its official release date was several days ago—March 3.
We have high hopes for this book because we feel it's the right book with the right message at the right time. While it's too early to say this is a "bestseller," we have already made a second printing and we're encouraged by the early results.
I've written about the book before, but I use it as an example of how God can meet our needs when we pray.
By the way since last week, I've added a Twitter account. You can follow my tweets at www.twitter.com/sstrang.
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