It was a great feeling to be heading down the road in our motorhome, towing our car behind us. I had a sense of tremendous freedom. God had taken us through our year of Jubilee, releasing us from all financial bondage, and all attachments to this world, which had tied us down to one location. I felt a tremendous liberty to go wherever God would lead us.
In the depths of my heart there has always been a part of my being that wanted to be free from the material possessions of this world. Christ commanded His disciples, “lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” A part of me wanted to know the freedom of “having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (II Corinthians 6:10).
Purchasing a motorhome was not a new thought to me. It was a desire that had come to me a couple years earlier, and the Spirit had led me to a passage of Scripture that greatly encouraged me in this way. This Scripture is found in the 35th chapter of Jeremiah, and it recorded an event that occurred just prior to Judah being taken captive by Babylon.
Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah and instructed him to invite a family known as the Rechabites, or the sons of Jonadab, to a room prepared near the Temple. Jeremiah was commanded to set pitchers of wine before them and invite them to drink. The response of the Rechabites was amazing.
But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’”
Jonadab’s instructions to his children revealed a heart that was passionate for God. Jonadab did not want the future generations of his family to become attached to the world and the things in it. He did not want them to live for personal pleasure, as signified by the vine and the fruit of it, but he wanted them to live for the will of God. What Jonadab chose for himself, and his offspring, was actually the priestly portion. God had told the tribe of Levi that they would have no inheritance in the land, for God would be their portion.
There is tremendous freedom and liberty described in this story, for this family dwelt in tents and were able to move at will whenever God said they were to move. Nothing hindered them from following the Lord. They had no attachment to a piece of land, to a house, a vineyard, or a field. They also would not accumulate a lot of worldly possessions, for it would prove too much of a burden to transport such things each time they moved.
The Rechabites obeyed the command of Jonadab, and because of their obedience they received a blessing from God that was only spoken to two people in all of Scripture.
Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you; therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.’”
What an awesome promise! To this day there is someone from the line of Rechab who stands faithfully before God. I had considered painting the cover of the spare tire on the back of our motorhome with the words: “Sons of Jonadab – Jeremiah 35.” I shared with one man how this story had inspired me, and he suggested that the initials RV could stand not only for “Recreational Vehicle,” but also for “Rechabite Vehicle.”
David also wrote, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance,” and it was while he was sleeping out under the stars tending sheep that he first fell in love with Yahweh. The things of this world can be a very real obstacle and distraction, competing with our devotion to God. There is a great temptation to begin serving the things we own, and to devote ourselves to acquiring more and more of the goods of this world. Being ensnared by an accumulation of worldly goods, many have been led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
The freedom I felt as I drove down the road was like nothing I had known before. I had no house to return to, no yard to maintain, no worldly obligations to which I had to attend. I was able to go where God directed, and at that moment the Spirit was leading me to take my family to Jekyll Island, Georgia for a month.
Along with these heightened feelings of freedom, I also experienced a sense of vulnerability. This vulnerability intruded upon my liberty and joy, and caused me to experience moments where I was weighed down with anxiety and fear. This was my experience as I fluctuated between periods of great delight in what God had done in setting us free, and times of great anxiety as I worried about what we would do next, and where our provision would come from. We had now known fifteen months of the Father’s provision, and we had never lacked for any necessary thing, yet worry and anxiety had been constant companions along the way.
After paying for a month’s rent at the Jekyll Island RV Park, I had a couple hundred dollars left to spend on gas and groceries, and to use to wash clothes at the campground Laundromat. I had no idea where any further money would come from, nor where we would go when our month was over. These uncertainties fueled my worries, and made me question the rightness of what I had been hearing from God, and the direction our lives had taken.
In hindsight I am able to see how foolish such thoughts were, and how they diminished the great enjoyment I should have known during this month when God graciously provided me a month of rest and recuperation from the trials I had been walking in. Although I did not know what was in store for us next, it was very evident that God had led us to where we were at during that moment, and this alone should have been sufficient to bring me peace. If God wanted us to change our course at any time, He was very able to communicate His mind to us, and I need not have worried that I would be left in a lurch somewhere with no provision. My doubts and worries reflected a lack of trust in the character of my heavenly Father. God wanted me to arrive at a place where I had a perfect confidence in His character. His flawless nature of love would never allow Him to abandon, or forsake, a son or daughter who was seeking to follow wherever He would lead.
Despite moments of anxiety, our month on Jekyll Island was a time of refreshing and recovery. The relationship Tony and I shared had been strained to the point of breaking in the preceding months, and God wanted to give us a time of new beginnings. He began to reveal this to us in many extraordinary ways. While on Jekyll Island, Tony and I celebrated our sixteenth wedding anniversary. We had not planned this date to coincide with our stay, but the Holy Spirit revealed that there was significance to this event.
The number sixteen is eight times two, eight representing new beginnings. The Spirit indicated that this would be a time of new beginnings for both of us. As I mentioned, Tony and I had spent our honeymoon at Jekyll Island sixteen years earlier, and God returned us to the same place to mark a fresh start in our marriage. While we were at Jekyll Island, I also realized that we were now in our sixteenth month since God had called me out from wage earning to trust Him for our family’s provision.
These were days of great grace for us, and we spent time as a family riding bikes, taking walks, and visiting the many historic sites in the area. There was a fishing pier just a couple miles down the road from our location, and my son said he would like to try to catch some crabs while we were there. I told Josiah that we would have to wait on this matter, due to the cost of the crab baskets, and string we would have to buy. A few days later we walked to the pier and there were two crab baskets, with string attached, that someone had left behind. Josiah was able to use them, and by this provision the Lord saved us about fifteen dollars.
On our anniversary I wanted to do something special for Tony. I wanted to cook some steaks over the outdoor grill provided at our site, but all the steaks I had seen at the little store on the island were beyond my means to purchase them. The cheapest began at $7.99 per pound. I decided to go look one more time on the day of our anniversary. I found one package containing two steaks toward the back of the meat counter that were marked $2.99 per pound. I could find no difference between these steaks and any of the other ones. I knew God had shown me grace, for these steaks were $5.00 a pound cheaper than any of the others, and five is the Biblical number for grace. Tony and I ate outside by candlelight, sharing a wonderful meal together.
Another blessing we had during our stay involved a tour through the millionaires’ village on Jekyll. During the early 1900’s, Jekyll Island was a favorite vacation spot for America’s rich. Many “cottages” were built, along with an impressive hotel and a private marina. The wealthy cottage owners and their visitors would arrive by boat to the island. During World War II the rich tenants of the island were advised by the government to leave due to a concern that the Germans might mount a surprise attack by u-boat, or other means, and kidnap these rich industrialists and their families. The tenants never returned, choosing rather to locate to other areas. The village and hotel have been maintained, a museum built, and tours are offered daily. A trolley ride and tour of the homes normally costs ten dollars per person, but on a single day of the year tours are offered for free, and we happened to be there during that day.
God continued to show His hand of provision in various ways. A couple were camped beside us in their motorhome, and they had no car with them. They wanted to go to town one day, and when I saw the man beginning to unhook his motorhome I offered for he and his wife to use our car. He was happy to take me up on this offer, and he brought the car back with a full tank of gas, when it was only a quarter of the way full when he borrowed it.
We obtained another blessing when we drove to town and found a local burger franchise selling their hamburgers for about fifty cents each. We loaded up our freezer in the motorhome with them, and the children, Tony and I were able to pull one out and cook it in our microwave oven (which was given to us free just before we left for Jekyll Island) whenever we wanted a quick meal. In all of these things, and in many more ways, we saw the hand of God carrying us through this time, and stretching our money in ways we could not have imagined.
I spent much time in prayer during our month on the island. I would arise before the rest of my family, and I would ride my bicycle down to Driftwood Beach, a couple miles away. I would climb up on a large tree that had blown over and hardened on the beach, and I would watch the sun rise over the ocean. One morning a sea otter passed directly underneath where I was sitting, as it waddled its way down to the water. I also spent time praying in the evenings as I stared at our campfire, or glanced at the stars through the canopy of oak trees that surrounded our campsite.
As I prayed, I reflected on the months leading up to our stay on Jekyll Island. The preceding year had taken a toll on me. I had received many wounds from fellow ministers, church members, family and friends, and had lived with much uncertainty and pain. Before leaving my employment at the hospital, a fellow worker gave me a brochure announcing a series of teachings to be conducted in a rented hall at a local park. The speaker would be teaching on end time events, and I read further where this unknown man traveled from town to town where he would post his fliers announcing that he would be speaking somewhere. He trusted God both to bring people in and to provide for his needs. I had considered how wonderful such a ministry would be, for I longed to teach the saints the truths of God’s word, and I also loved to travel. The Holy Spirit had been revealing many things to me that I believed He wanted the body of Christ to hear.
Yet, as I now considered embarking on such a ministry in our motorhome, I did not feel that I was ready. I did not sense that my faith was strong enough to drive to some town I had never been in before, while looking to God to meet the needs of my family. The anxieties I had known during the past year were still with me, and I felt that I needed a rest from the burden I had been under as I continued this walk of faith. I also was feeling the wounds of the continued criticism I was receiving from family members due to my not working. I began to ask God to give me a time of respite so that I could heal from all of my emotional wounds and regain my strength. I asked that He would release me from this faith walk, at least for a period of time, by allowing me to return to work.
The Lord heard my cry, and He answered my request. He would shortly provide a job for me, and allow me to have my reproach removed for a season. He would then launch me out into the deep once more.
This is taken from the book Evidence of Things Unseen: