April 3, 2016

When a Broken Lamp Pole Stood Between Us and Our $4.5 Million Church

Up and down the street beside the Living Hope Seventh-day Adventist Community Church that my wife, Teenie, and I are helping build in Haymarket, Virginia, stand elegant, tall lamp poles that provide light at night to the community.

Well, a few weeks ago someone drove into one of these lamp poles and destroyed it.

The nearly completed church is located in a quaint shopping center with lovely shops and restaurants, so naturally we expected that the shopping center owners would fix the pole. Because of this, we didn’t think much about it.

Lamp poles like these cannot be found at nearby building supplies stores. (Mark Finley)

But not long after the accident, we were notified that it was the church’s responsibility to replace the lamp pole. We also discovered to our surprise that we would not be given an occupancy permit until we replaced the lamp pole and made sure that each of the street lights were functioning.

The problem was: Where would we find a replacement lamp pole? After all, those poles might be typical for affluent neighborhoods, but it’s not like you can just drop in a nearby building supplies store and pick up a replacement.

Furthermore, the occupancy permit was the only thing standing between the church and its grand opening. God had answered many prayers in amazing ways during the entire process of building the church and an accompanying school of evangelism. This is a faith project — a dream come true for Teenie and me — that has cost about $4.5 million, and it has been funded largely by generous donors in answer to prayer.

But what about a broken lamp pole?

Immediately I began to pray.

“Heavenly Father, I have no idea where to find such a lamp pole, but You do,” I prayed. “And so I’m asking you to help me. We need to get the permits for our church so we can move forward, and now this is holding us back. We don’t know what to do. Please give us wisdom on how to proceed.”

A short time later, I decided to contact the manager of the shopping center. The manager and I have become friends, and I figured maybe she could point me in the right direction.

When I shared my dilemma with her, she responded: “Pastor Mark, we have a vacant store in our shopping center that we have used to store various supplies. This building has one of those exact lamp poles lying on the floor. It’s brand new! We’ve been needing to get rid of that pole so we can use the room. We’d be happy if you would take it. No charge!”

She then gave me permission to enter the building to retrieve the pole.

My heart overflowed with gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord as I was reminded once again that God cares about my life and about our needs. Truly we serve an amazing God. Nothing is beneath Him — not even the task of helping me find a needed lamp pole for our street.

The nearly completed Living Hope Seventh-day Adventist Community Church. (Mark Finley)

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