Thursday, April 26, 2012

God in the Rear View Mirror

Most everyone loves a miracle: A parting of the Red Sea. A divine healing. A miraculous survival. It's pretty great when God crashes into your life and does something only He can do.

But what about the other times? What about the times when you recognize God's work only after it's done? What about those times when you recognize God in the rear view mirror? That happened to Dr. Ethan back in the early days.

In dental school, during their freshman year, finances were pretty lean for Ethan and Dolly Larson. Anywhere you attend, dental school is outrageously expensive. Students must support themselves and their families while at the same time paying grad school tuition, and buying every bit of equipment they are trained to use. Hand instruments, lab materials, practice "teeth." With a young family to support, Dr. Ethan did everything he could. He worked. He managed to acquire some financial aid. He and Dolly lived as frugally as possible. But eventually, they needed help.

They applied for food stamps.

For most of us, that would be a humbling experience. But for Ethan and Dolly, it became a moment of seeing God. In the process of applying, a social worker asked Dolly, "So. How much money did you make last year?"

Without blinking, Dolly replied. "Eight thousand dollars." She'd done the math. She knew the numbers.

Astounded, the social worker gasped. "Eight thousand dollars! How can anyone survive on eight thousand dollars?"

Good question.

"Looking back," Dr. Ethan said, "it was a rear view mirror moment. It had to be God. While we were in the midst of it, we just kept putting one foot in front of the other. We knew things were tight. We worked hard -- so hard that we hadn't paid attention to the big picture. We hadn't recognized God's work in some momentous individual miracle; rather, it was a collection of small things." Small provisions. Lots of them. Over and over, God managed to give us everything we needed without ever drawing attention to Himself, or His work."

"It was a miracle just the same. Without God, we never could have made it on so little."

What about you? Have you experienced "God in the rear view mirror?" Can you share it with us?

Dr. Ethan Larson, with Bette Nordberg


  1. My family has experienced this same thing. We have gone through many trials financially having a 6 person family on one income. There were times where I would think, "Ok, what bills can we NOT pay this month?" because we just didn't have enough money to pay all of them. We still do struggle sometimes financially, but I can look back at those times and see how God got us through them and where we are now. We must remind ourselves of God's promises and always be in agreement of them!