Voices of Faith: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away

I once worked as a car salesman for a season before I moved to Alaska 23 years ago. The Lord Jesus had a powerful, profound lesson for me as I worked in a dealership that was hustle and bustle the minute you walked onto the lot until you left. Everyone was out for their own and that’s how most car dealerships operate.

Little did I know that the Lord was going to take my life in a completely different direction than I could have ever imagine. It was by God’s design and His will that I would work in this car dealership as a car salesman.

After working about a month into the job and selling a few cars, one day, an older gentleman suddenly appeared at my desk. He said, “Do you work here?” “Yes, I do,” I said, kind of surprised. “There is a used car out back I want to buy,” he said. Most salesmen never hear that statement and have to “work” their client to get to a sales deal, right?

“Can I show you which car I want to buy?” he said.

As we were walking to the back of the used car lot, I looked the man over. You are trained as a car salesman to figure out who you’re dealing with by the way a person dresses and acts, kind of psychoanalyzing them. This fellow was in dusty old blue jean coveralls. He had a dirty old baseball cap with sweat lines across the front and side, three days’ growth or more of beard and his white T-shirt was crusty with holes all along the neck and dust and sweat below his neck line to match, as though he had been working and sleeping in the same clothes for weeks. My assumption of this character was he was either a potato farmer or possibly a farm hand or just retired living and working on his own little farm somewhere in Eastern Washington.

The car he wanted had just arrived from a used car auction. I asked ifhe would like to take it for a spin? “Nope,” he said. “I just want to buy the car for my wife.”

Our dealership policy was that you had to have the client drive the car first before you worked the deal. I tried to explain our policy, however, he wasn’t interested. It was a very nice luxury built Chrysler New Yorker with very low miles.

He said, “Let’s go make a deal.”

“OK, I’ve never done it this way before, but let’s go talk over price and see what the sales manager has to say,” I told him.

He said, “Seven thousand five hundred and not a penny more,” he said.

“We’ll see what the boss says,” I replied, not having a clue what the asking price of the car was.

We walked inside the building and I had my “dirt farmer” friend filling out paperwork as I went to the sales manager. He was a little busy, so knowing I was new, he asked me if I had done everything I was supposed to do. I told him, “The old man doesn’t want to drive the car at all, he just wants to buy it for his wife.”

“You know our policy about everyone drives the car, right? Now go have him drive the car,” the boss said.

I went back to the farmer and told him our policy. He stood up angrily and yelled, “Just sell me the car!”

Everyone in the office building stopped and looked our way to see what was going on. I was a little embarrassed by his behavior to say the least. I calmly asked him to sit down and asked if he would like a cup of coffee. He said yes, so I took care of him and I went to see what the boss would do now that we had everyone’s attention.

When I got to the sales manager’s desk, the dealership owner’s son stepped between the sales manager and myself and said something to the manager. They talked a minute or so and then the owner’s son walked away.

I stepped up to the sales manager’s desk and started to speak. He cut me off as he said, “Seven thousand five hundred and not a penny less,” almost as though he was upset and didn’t want to waste any more of his time. I looked the sales manager straight in the eyes and said, “That’s exactly what my client said.”

“Then go make the deal before he walks,” he shouted.

I went and shook my client’s hand as he looked at me with such joy on his face. I almost cried for him as he said, “My wife is going to love the car.”

We finished the paper work, he called his wife and told her to come down to the dealership, that he had a special surprise for her.” While we waited, my client loosened up a little and shared with me that he had a wheat ranch. His wife had been battling cancer and was doing much better now. He asked her if there was anything she wanted. She said, “A new car.”

The next day, he and his wife went to look for cars. He had promised her he would buy her whatever car she liked. When they drove through our lot, she spotted the car she wanted.

This is just what happens when you let Jesus be the driver and you sit in the passenger seat and trust and obey, let our Lord Jesus do the work for you. I pray that you to remember this story, not because it is true, but because of what happened as I watched this nice old timer walk out the door of the dealership with the keys to his wife’s new car.

As one of the senior salesmen came up to me, I could see the farmer’s wife get out of another car and walk over to him as I watched with interest. The farmer handed his wife the keys and gave her a big hug. She had a smile from ear to ear that could make the sun shine! I felt so touched by the whole deal, I knew it was a God thing moment. I was full of joy, not from what I made off the deal, but from seeing such a happy customer, who was giving the car to his wife as a gift.

The salesman said to me, “That was one of the quickest deals I have ever seen in my life! Good job rookie.”

I could barely hear the salesman through my fresh thoughts. I turned to the senior salesman and said, “Praise the Lord, it was nothing!”

It was nothing on my part, that’s the whole thing. As the senior salesman walked back to his desk and I continued to watch the emotions of the people outside, suddenly, over the loudspeaker above me I heard a clear announcement: “I choose whom to bless and whom to take away from, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It was as loud and clear as I am writing right now, I was standing right below the speaker so there was no mistake at what the announcement said. I turned and yelled over to the salesman leaving me, “Did you hear that announcement over the loudspeaker?”

“What announcement?” he said.

“About I choose whom to bless and whom to take away from, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

The salesman looked at me as though I was crazy. He said, “I didn’t hear a thing.”

The message evidently was not meant for him to hear. So often, when we are following Jesus, the intimacy of Our Lord Jesus is meant only one person, you and you only.

“Today, If you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Hebrews 3:15. Today, make it a point to go to your prayer closet, to that quiet place where you are not distracted and sit down and listen. Listen for that still quiet voice of the Lord that says, “I choose whom to bless and those whom to take away,” or what ever else the Lord Jesus would have you to hear. I know this for certain, Jesus Christ is standing at your door knocking. He says, “if you hear His voice and open the door, He will come to you and sup with you.” Open the door to Jesus if you haven’t already.

By the way, that message I heard that day at the dealership comes from Job: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away, may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21. Also found in Romans 9:18. I had never heard that verse before that day.

Mark Conway is a Christian evangelist living in Sterling with his wife Maryna. He may be contacted at their website, theendtimedays.org.

More in Life

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Older and wiser, or not

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience

Sara DeVolld performs as part of the Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with Eugene Ballet at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Shona DeVolld)
Becoming part of a ‘magical holiday tradition’

Local ballet dancer Sara DeVolld performs in Anchorage for ‘The Nutcracker’

A copy of Sherry Simpson’s “The Way Winter Comes” is held in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Inhabited by winter

Juneau writer spins haunting tales of Alaska’s darkest season in 1998 short story collection

Charles Riddiford, far right in the back row, posed for this Spokane Post Office staff photo in 1898 when he was just a clerk. The photo appeared in a 1922 edition of the Spokesman Review, along with a discussion of the post office’s tremendous growth.
Riddiford: Story of a Name Change — Part 1

So who was this Riddiford, and why did this name hold such sway at the site of Joseph Cooper’s boat landing for more than a decade?

These festive gingerbread cookies are topped with royal icing and sprinkles. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rolling out the gingerbread

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time for the holiday classic

Paper chains made of gratitude strips adorn a Christmas tree at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)
Minister’s Message: Grateful and kind

What if, instead of gathering around tables and talking about what has already happened TO us, we challenge ourselves to return kindness to the world around us

Roasted broccoli Caesar salad provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A toasty, warm salad for a cozy Thanksgiving

This warm side dish provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Some things never change. Nor should they

In the dawdling days prior to Thanksgiving, things are usually as serene as a gentle snowfall within our modest piece of nirvana

This photo from the early 1960s shows Jackson Ball enjoying the Christmas holidays with his eldest three daughters. His fourth and youngest daughter was born less than a year and a half before Ball’s death in 1968. (Photo from Ball Family memorial slideshow, 2022)
Human Complexity: The Story of Jackson Ball — Part 3

Misfortune was written across the recent history of the Arlon Elwood “Jackson” Ball family

Most Read