The Rent

End of the month and Paul and his wife were working on their bills.

When they came to the item of tuition for the kids who attend a local Christian school, Paul decided he would just drop by the school and leave the check. It was raining hard, but he knew the school liked to get their payments promptly so they could cover their expenses. There would still be quite a bit of month left at the end of the money but the school was a priority.

As he approached the campus Paul noticed a lady from church walking down the sidewalk, soaking wet because she didn’t have an umbrella. He sensed a sudden nudge to give her a ride so he pulled to the curb and invited her to get in. Hesitantly, she did. Within the first few moments Paul noted that not all the water on her face was from the rain. She was sobbing.

Paul asked if there was anything he could do to help. The lady said No, the problem was unsolvable. She had lost her job, she and her young daughters had no food and she couldn’t pay the rent on her apartment; worst of all, the landlord had just evicted them.

Paul prayed silently, then thought of the check in his pocket; it was made out to the school, but he could tear it up and write another one to the apartment manager. Except…then he wouldn’t have enough to keep his kids in school. The prayer he breathed wasn’t just for him, it was for his passenger, too. Then he thought about the food issue and headed for Aldi’s Market.

He got the landlord’s number and called him. The landlord remembered the lady, but was adamant. She had to come up with a month’s rent. Paul calculated that the tuition money left in his pocket would pay half of her rent so he entered into an intense discussion with the apartment manager and they finally agreed if she would pay half the rent, the landlord would forgive the other half. Paul took her to her apartment and wrote a check to the landlord.

Before he left he phoned some of the local leaders in his church and raised enough money to cover her utilities. She was sure she could find another job and get her finances stabilized in the next month.

Arriving home Paul told his wife what he had done. She hugged him and assured him he had done the right thing. But here’s the part of the story that stuns me. The next day’s mail contained a check for enough to cover the tuition for their kids with some left over. It was from the government. The IRS was working on Paul’s taxes, discovered he had overpaid and they were refunding the amount. Oddly. It was not from the year before, but from two years before.

This story caused me to ask this penetrating question: If God answered every one of my prayers, would it change anyone’s life but my own?

By Don Jacobsen (

Written by Diane Levy


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