STORIES FROM OLD JOE
1996 and ’97 — Big answers to prayers prayed on Stillwater Cove
“My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19
Back in the mid-90s I began a habit that lasted until we moved to Gig Harbor in 2003. I would start most days by grabbing some coffee at Starbucks in the Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey. I’d drive to Pebble Beach and park my car in the lot by the private Beach Club. There I would sit in the car, drink my coffee, and read my Bible. When I was done reading and had downed the coffee I’d get out of the car and walk along the sandy beach there at beautiful Stillwater Cove. The cove was nestled in between the ocean and the Pebble Beach Golf Course. It bordered the fourth and fifth fairways.
It was there that I would walk and pray. What great times they were! As a matter of fact, one day I was driving past Fort Ord on Highway 1, running through Psalm 23 in my mind thanking God for the myriad of ways he cares for us. I thanked him for the “still waters” which he had led me by, and I realized, wow, I literally did have my very own still waters at Stillwater Cove.
I prayed about a whole lot of things there through the years, just walking and talking and listening to God. Sometimes I had to laugh, because I’d spot a lost golf ball, and then instead of praying, I’d look for a few more. I still have a big box of those balls in my garage even though I have played a lot of golf since then (and relost them).
I would thank him specifically for all the ways he had made himself known to me, and I would praise him. Then I’d move on to requesting his help for friends, or Young Life, or my family, or a kid, or about a talk I was going to give. I even spent time there the morning I had just found out that my dad died.
I looked forward to those mornings. Between the beauty of the beach with its cliffs and the grandeur of the ocean it was an easy place to give my attention to God. I was usually the only one there at that hour. The beach was 300 yards long, and I would walk back and forth. It became as familiar to me as my backyard.
One morning I remember praying about our Young Life area’s financial need. It was early October and we had just ended our fiscal year. We were in the red about $6000. I was not overly concerned, but I did mention to God . . . “I don’t know where the money is going to come from, but you do. Could you please take care of that for us?” And I left it right there. Didn’t think of it again.
That evening right before dinner, the phone rang. On the line was an old Young Life kid from Homestead High, class of 1972, Dan, now a doctor who lives near Sacramento. He had become a follower of Jesus through ourYoung Life club 25 years earlier and we had remained good pals through the years.
We exchanged some pleasantries, and then he asked, “Joe, how do you give a large amount of money to Young Life?” I told him it was pretty simple: just write the check, designate it for the Young Life area you want it to go to, and mail it to the service center in Colorado. All the time presuming that he wanted to give it to Young Life somewhere there around Sacramento where he lived. So then I asked Dan how much. He said $10,000. I remember saying, “That’s cool, Dan.” Then I asked him which area he wanted to give it to. He came back with, “Your area, of course!” I said, “Wow, that’s really cool!” And he told me that he intended to do that yearly for the next few years.
I thanked him, of course, then hung up the phone, sat down on the couch, and remembering my prayer in the morning, thanked God for his generosity through Dan.
Okay . . . it was now the following year. I was still walking and praying on Stillwater Cove most mornings. Remembered Dan’s gift from the year before, I prayed, “Father, it would sure be wonderful if we just never had to be concerned about making the budget ever again.
Got home that night. Again, the phone rang. It was a wonderful man from Carmel, who had become a good friend through the years. He was a trust officer for older people and handled their money. He had a tremendous reputation for integrity. “Joe . . . “You probably heard that _____ died earlier this week.” I said that I had heard.
“She left some money for your Young Life budget.”
“She did? Great! How much?”
“Are you sitting down?” I told him I would.
“A quarter of a million dollars.”
Oh, my goodness. To say the least, I was overwhelmed. And I remembered the prayer from earlier that morning. God . . . you really do supply all our needs. Thank you, thank you.
The lady who had passed away had been a real character. She had been married to a naval officer and had quite a history. She’d been at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. After the war she had played bridge with Mamie Eisenhower in Paris when Ike was stationed there. She’d been an incredible golfer. She’d become a believer late in life, and we had become friends. She had given us a thousand dollars for campership money for Seaside High kids . . . a rough high school in the area. After we had taken them to camp, I rounded them up and took them over to her house so they could say thank you. She told us that her neighbors had voiced their concern for her that these tough kids from Seaside High were going to be there in her Pebble Beach home. We all laughed, and even though she was in her 80s, she related to these kids so well. She held them spellbound.
it was the gift of her money that allowed me initially to begin travelling to the former Soviet Union countries to help out with training the Young Life staff folks there. Gary Parsons had been asking me for years to come and spend time with him just giving assistance. I began in 2000, and at this point (2013) have been over there 18 times. It was her money that allowed me to take my first few trips.
God’s resources are large, and his heart is generous. “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Indeed, he takes care of us . . . sometimes quietly, and sometimes in overwhelming ways.