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Pleasure Dome Thunder BW

Deep into Reserve

Tuesday, 20 March 2007 — A television producer client of mine called me in for a graphics job. They needed an update to the 3D animated opening sequence for the Parc Fermé Formula One program, which aired on M-Net’s SuperSport channel. Confidently, I said they could count on me. I made preparations and walked to my car.

After starting up the white, 2.0-liter Opel Monza sedan, I noticed the glowing low-fuel light. Then I remembered—with a sinking feeling—the fuel level had been dangerously low. I turned the car off, opening the door to get out, but then just sat there. I felt dejected as I contemplated the difficult situation.

My funds had been low and we’d been driving on the reserve tank for about a week, already pushing it to the limit. As it was, I maybe—just maybe—had enough to reach the fuel station a block away from home. The excitement of doing this animation job vanished.

I was in Midrand, Johannesburg, and my client was 28 kilometers away in Randburg, easily a 30-minute drive in mild traffic. During weekday traffic, it’s a 45-minute drive, and I would still need to return home after the job—during peak hour traffic—which could take a further 90 minutes. I had no cash, nothing in the bank, and I was home alone without my wife’s purse. What to do?

I could phone my client and renege on my promise, but a thought occurred: my heavenly Father could help. I figured perhaps He would remind me of some cash we had somewhere. Quietly, I spoke to God in my heart, waited, and listened. Softly but clearly the answer came: ”You shall go and you shall return.”

A realization registered: I had just received everything I needed to fulfill my promise to my client. A joy sprang up within me, making me excited. I shut the car door, turned on the engine, and started driving with the knowledge that God would take me there and back. How He would do it I didn’t know, but I had a Word from God and was singing as I drove out the gate.

Driving a car without passengers is the perfect time for praising God. This was one of those trips. From time to time a smidge of doubt clouded my thoughts, which I immediately banished by declaring the Word of God I had received: “You shall go and you shall return.”

I did the same even when wondering just how God was going to fulfill this Word. After all, how He actually does it is His business and—I like to think—it’s supposed to be a surprise from Him to us. I drove past a huge billboard of a seductively-dressed model promoting something. I quickly averted my eyes and asked the Lord to cleanse my mind and heart before I entertained her in my imagination and sinned.

My arrival at the studio in Randburg was without incident. The job went smoothly, just as I had prayed it would.

As I left for home, a dark thought tempted me: perhaps God had not miraculously helped me, and I just got here with the very last of the fuel in the tank, so on this return trip—especially in peak hour traffic—the fuel would surely run out, leaving me stuck.

No, I did not accept that at all.

I kept meditating on and affirming God’s Word to me: “You shall go and you shall return.”

After realigning my thoughts and regaining joy, I left my client’s place. As expected, the return trip was much longer. I was hit with further attacks of doubt, especially while idling in stop-and-go traffic. In those moments, chilling thoughts of the car cutting out and blocking the flow of heavy traffic assaulted me. I never gave in to them but continuously affirmed my trust in God’s Word: “You shall go and you shall return.”

Besides the enjoyment of singing, the trip to my client and back home was uneventful. Amazing! I had made it there and back. I had started the trip far too deep into reserve for comfort and then drove for about two hours without engine failure, without money, without help from anyone, and without stopping for fuel. During the trip, the illuminated reserve light served as a bold reminder of the situation: I was driving on empty the entire time.

Since I couldn’t see inside the fuel tank nor into the working of the engine, I have no idea how God actually did it. I simply went and returned, just as He had said. I know He did do something miraculous because to drive two hours on reserve, even if there was a little more fuel than I feared, was impossible otherwise.

God’s Word did not return to Him void, but it accomplished exactly what He sent it for: “You shall go and you shall return.”

Had I not asked God and waited for an answer, I wouldn’t have received His Word. Besides the Word, He also gave me the faith to believe, act on it, and stand firmly on His Rock to repel waves of doubt. I heard God’s Word, measured it as valuable, believed it, and—by faith—started the car and made the trip there and back. The next day, my wife still drove the children somewhere before refueling; she was unaware of just how empty the fuel tank was.

I’m glad I had no money that day to help solve my lack of fuel; now I have this incredible testimony.

In this situation, I never thought of turning to the Scriptures for help. What could they tell me about my car’s fuel problem? Instead, Scriptures tell us about many other people who also received Word from God, believed Him, and witnessed amazing miracles. I just did what Jesus said we should do.