Back in 1977, Jack and I felt that the Lord was leading us to build a house in the country without going into debt. Instead, we were to look to Him continually to supply every need. This was a brand new adventure. I think our extended families thought we had lost our minds. But by the time the project was completed the experience had become such a training ground for us that the house itself had become like a fringe benefit.
We knew we would need our bricks fairly early in the construction process because we were using them on the inside as load-bearing walls for the upstairs. But we weren’t overly concerned, because three months before we started construction we were told at the local brick plant that they needed only a week’s notice to have bricks for us.
We didn’t think about how things can change! Now, almost a year later, it was time to put up the inside brick walls, so we scheduled the bricklayer to come the next week. Our big concern had been getting on his busy schedule, but with that all worked out we drove to the brick plant to place the brick order.
Distracted by our busy schedule, we had not paid attention to all the new construction going on around the state. Since our first visit with the manager at the brickyard there had been such a building boom that there were no bricks to be had at the local plant—or anywhere else in Texas! We were told that we would be put on the waiting list, but not to expect a call for at least six months.
We could have waited on the bricks for the outside of the house, but we had to have those bricks for the inside before we could get the house dried in. That kind of delay would have caused the wooden framework of the house to warp. So, in desperation we asked the manager of the brick plant if we could pay a premium price to get the bricks early. The moment those words came out of his mouth Jack knew he was wrong and wished he could have stuffed them back down his throat, but it was too late. The man very angrily let us know that he didn’t take bribes or do business that way. Jack apologized and said that he didn’t do business that way either.
Discouragement was running so high that neither of us spoke a word on the way home. To make matters in the natural seem even worse, when we got there we contacted a brick jobber who made phone calls to every brick company in Texas and even in the surrounding states, all to no avail.
Then, all of a sudden, both of us remembered the scripture that had formed the foundation for everything we’d done so far—“Those who trust the Lord will not be disappointed.” Our own reasoning told us there were no possible answers, so it took everything we could do to choose not to be disappointed and to trust God to make a way.
With all the strength we could muster, we began to confess that trust out loud. The next morning, after Jack’s prayer time, he felt impressed to go back to the local brick company and apologize again. That seemed strange to me since he had apologized profusely the day before, but if that was going to make him feel any better, so be it. Jack was met with a cold shoulder when he first walked in, but as soon as he apologized again the man said, “I have your bricks.” Jack said that he must have just stood there in shock for a full sixty seconds before he was able to utter a word.
Right after we left the brick plant the day before, a church in Waco, Texas, some 150 miles away, had called. After a year they still had their bricks on pallets waiting for an expansion project to begin. But now that they were finally ready to start, the committee decided that the bricks didn’t match the existing building well enough, so they called the brick company to see if they could exchange them. They didn’t mind paying extra, and they didn’t mind the six-month wait if they could get what they wanted.
During that past year the brick company had quit producing that particular brick, so they offered them to us at last year’s price if we would take them all. Sight unseen and without even knowing how many bricks we needed, we trusted that a miracle of this magnitude had to be from God, so we jumped at the offer. From the church in Waco to our doorstep, two truckloads of bricks were delivered the very next day. We didn’t even have to reschedule our bricklayer.
They were not only the right color but they were also load-bearing bricks for supporting a second floor, something we had not even thought to ask about. We didn’t have a clue how many bricks we needed for the walls, the columns, and the arches, but that was not even an issue after all the Lord had already done.
However, we weren’t expecting it to be such an exact count. We had less than 300 bricks left over when we completed the project.
If a house had cancelled there wouldn’t have been enough bricks, but we had exactly enough since they came from a larger project. God not only counts the hairs on our head, He even counts the number of bricks we need!
God is not wasteful, but His supply is always ample. If Jack had not heard his urging to go back to the brick company and apologize all over again the next day, the manager never would have thought of us. And even if he had, he didn’t know our name and probably wouldn’t have wanted to do us any favors if he had, considering what Jack had said the day before. All of which is a perfect example of how God can even use our mistakes to pull us out of our own woods!