The master gathered his disciples and said unto them, “Behold, a missionary went forth in his pickup truck to bring medicines and reading booklets to a distant plantation village. Ten old men and women rode with him to bring back manioc roots. As the truck laboured over rocks and through creeks, they came to a muddy washout across the path. The mud was deeper than it looked, the rear wheels dropped down, and the truck was stuck.
“So the missionary took his axe and cut down a strong hardwood pole about seven metres (20 feet) long, while the old men found some large flat rocks, and the old women gathered stones and short branches. Everyone worked long and hard to gather materials. They stacked the slabs of rock close to the wheel to act as a fulcrum, and the missionary fitted the pole under the frame and across the stack of rocks. When the men pulled and pushed down on the lever, the truck wheel rose up out of the mud and the old women filled the hole with stones and branches. They did the same for the other side, and soon were on their way again.”
The master’s disciples asked him, “What is the meaning of this parable?” The master replied, “The stuck truck is any problem you may encounter in your life. The fulcrum is the Word of God, and the lever is prayer. The men pushing down on the lever represent the Hand of God. The hard work is in two parts: to search the Word of God to find the principle that applies to the problem, and to pray for as long as it takes until God’s time has come. The easy part is when God applies the Force needed to remove the problem.“
During our decades of work as Bible translators in Brazil Jo and I not only had plenty of experience lifting our truck out of mud holes, but also in applying the principles of the parable to deal with immovable problems.
In my second book, A Kick in the Pants, I told the full story of our daughter Leanne needing a pair of snow boots during a furlough. We were still raising more financial support and our situation was worsened with a long strike by mail workers. This was in the years before easy bank-to-bank transfers when cheques by mail were the only way to move money.
We needed winter clothes and scoured the second hand stores, yard sales and church missionary closets to find what we needed. As fall turned into winter we were all set, except for Leanne who still needed some affordable winter boots in her size.
For weeks we prayed every night before bed time, basing our prayers on the Word of God, My God shall supply all your needs through His riches in Christ Jesus. “Leanne needs boots.” Having food and raiment, therewith to be content. “We still need raiment for Leanne’s feet.” Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full. “Leanne Joy Popjes will be joyful when she has snow boots.”
We stacked the fulcrum of principles of God’s Word alongside the problem and applied the lever of prayer. Then one night, with snowy weather forecasted, there was an unexpected knock on our front door and the snow boots were delivered. God had pushed down the end of the lever just in time.
We all face different problems that are too heavy, too large, or too complicated to be dealt with by ordinary means. We need to use the lever of prayer, true, but we also need a solid fulcrum—solid Bible promises that apply squarely to the problem we face.
Shove your lever of prayer under your problem, rest it on the fulcrum of God’s Word. Then wait, in prayer, for the Force from above to push down.
What are your prayer stories?