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Mysterious Ways: The Hobbyhorse That Came to the Rescue

We were broke. Not a penny to our name. So how were we going to feed our kids and buy diapers for our baby?

wooden hobby horse

Today’s hard economic times remind me of the time 20 years ago when our own finances were tight. My husband, Steve, and I woke up that crisp fall morning in 1990 knowing exactly how broke we were. Our finances were in worse shape than the hobbyhorse lying on its side on our front lawn, broken loose from its springs.

We had no money in the bank, no cash in our pockets, not much food in the house and we were out of diapers for our baby. I added up everything we needed in my head. Diapers—about ten dollars. Baby food—another ten. Bread, milk and eggs—just about ten. Thirty dollars. That would see us through, for now.
      

“We’ll pray for a cash job today,” Steve said, kissing me before heading out to work at the small garage he owned. “That way we can go to the store tonight.

I waited by the phone all day, hoping Steve would call with good news. The phone finally rang at 5:00 p.m. “I think I’ll keep the shop open an extra couple of hours tonight,” Steve said. “Keep praying.”


I hung up and glanced out the window. “OK, God—” I started to say. I stopped mid-sentence. A van had parked in front of the house and a man in a three-piece suit stepped out, looking toward our home. He straightened his tie and started for the door.

I frowned and stepped out onto the porch. “Can I help you?”
          

 “Hello,” the man said. “Does that hobbyhorse belong to you?” He pointed to the sad-looking horse lying in the yard. 
          

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 Ah, he’s from the city and wants the yard cleaned up, I thought. “Yes, sir,” I said.


“My wife and I fix them up for craft shows,” the man said. “Then we sell them as indoor carousel horses.”


 “Oh,” I said. “Well, you can have that one. I was going to throw it away.”


“I can’t just take it,” the stranger said. “We make pretty good money at this. It wouldn’t be right to not pay you.” The man reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill.

I could barely speak. “Thank you!” I finally said.

“No, thank you,” the man replied.
          

He scooped up the broken toy and went to his vehicle. I rushed back inside to call Steve. We had almost exactly what we needed!
           

Just then there was a tap at the door. The stranger again. “My wife told me I made a mistake,” he apologized.
           

My heart sank. Did he want his money back?
           

“The horse is in perfect shape,” the man said. “It will be easy to repair. She says that I should give you another ten dollars.”

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