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A Ram in the Thicket: The Lord Will Provide

9/21/2002 - 9:00 AM PST

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Faith
A Ram in the Thicket: The Lord Will Provide


By Deacon Keith Fournier
(c) Third Millenium, LLC

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A simple woman of faith teaches the lessons of life.

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Wanda was a simple woman, a Christian, and a dedicated mother. I would come to discover that she was much more.

She was a mystic.

She contacted me because she needed legal help. Barely making ends meet, supporting her family day to day, she hadn't budgeted for a major car disaster. That old thing had held up pretty well. However, the transmission was shot and she had to take it in for repair.

Wanda left her car at the repair shop and waited for the bad news. It was worse than she had expected! The cost of repair was beyond anything she had even braced for. What followed was worse.

After the repairs were done, the serviceman had parked the car out in front of the shop (located in the inner city) with the keys in the ignition. His excuse was that the garage was full! Not surprisingly, Wanda's car was stolen! Not only was the insurance company offering less than what she owed (Wanda had been the victim of a loan company that committed usury---taking advantage of her disadvantage) but the repair shop was insisting on being paid for the repairs!

A friend told Wanda that I might be able to help even though she could not afford a lawyer. She also heard that I was a man of faith. By the time it was all over, it was Wanda who had helped me. She changed my life.

I did the dance I have learned to do after all these years of law practice. I negotiated, first from a position of what was just, and only then, when it became clear that the parties were not altruistic, by shifting the risk.

After all, who in a small claims court environment was going to be sympathetic to a business that parked a customer's car outside in a high crime district with the keys inside? What usurious loan company that took advantage of the disadvantaged would not be expected to write off part of it's ill gotten gains rather than run the risk of public exposure for it's exorbitant rates and questionable business practices?

At each step of the dance I kept Wanda informed. She was without a car, taking a bus daily to work, and had increased her hours in order to pay for the added expenses occasioned by the loss of her means of transportation. She never complained. Rather, she always responded with an extraordinary confidence that God would provide and take care of her family.

Her response to difficulty was not anger, blame or the naive kind of starry-eyed faith of a new convert. She was strong and resolute. It was a deep kind of conviction birthed in the furnace of failure, disappointment and perseverance. She KNEW that God would make a way.

When it was all over and Wanda was able to walk away with no financial obligations, I felt good. She deserved it. I enjoyed hearing her sincere "God bless you" on the other end of the telephone line.

We both went on with our lives.

Four weeks later, I was facing a severe crisis in my own life and career. I long ago learned that living by faith simply does not mean that everything will go smoothly. Anyone who says otherwise is either a con man (or woman), a liar, or insincere. Period. But this crisis was not bearing the fruits that redemptive suffering, joined to the cross, had done in my life in the past. In short, I was in serious "funk", depressed, despondent and hopeless.

I received a card in the mail from Wanda. Inside she expressed her gratitude for my legal assistance and wrote these words: "There is always a ram in the thicket." I was sure I recognized the reference but I was somewhat puzzled. I searched the scriptures and found them in the first Book of the Bible, Genesis:

"Abraham looked and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place 'The Lord will provide' ". (Genesis 22:13-14)

The story of Abraham's life of faith provides an extraordinary insight into the vocation of the Christian life. He is championed, among other New Testament passages, in the hall of heroes of the faith detailed in the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews. His faith is presented as a model throughout the Christian tradition.

The early Father's of the Church expounded upon his willingness to sacrifice "Isaac" (the son of the promise) as a prototype of what we moderns would call "where the rubber hit's the road" in understanding and living the life of faith. Abraham was a man who lived complete abandonment to -and trust in-God.

Wanda was truly his daughter. ...

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