Jim and I were driving out to Possum Kingdom Lake this weekend when we met Mr. Chavez and heard his story. To all of my “non-Texas” readers, yes, we really do have a lake named Possum Kingdom. It is a beautiful place near Graford, Texas. Jim and I love being at that lake as often as we can get there and we help lead a chapel service at The Harbor. We were just leaving Weatherford, TX, heading towards Mineral Wells, when I noticed a sign saying, “Cross of Hope.” We passed the little roadside stand, drove about fifty yards down the road, and I turned to Jim and said, “We have to turn around and go back.” Now you need to know, I own a LOT of crosses. In fact, the walls of my home and office could pass for a Christian book store! I didn’t need to “shop” – but i knew I needed to turn around and go back, so we did. I looked at the crosses Mr. Chavez was selling and bought two as birthday gifts for friends, one for our little place at Possum Kingdom Lake, and then I went back and picked up the big, beautiful cross that you see Mr. Chavez holding in the picture. I can’t tell you why, but I knew i should buy it. When I brought that cross to the table he pointed at it and said, “that is the first cross I ever made.” I could tell by his face there was a story behind his words. He was a little reluctant to tell me at first, but after awhile I coaxed the story from him. I hope it blesses you as it did me. I now understand why I was compelled to turn around, and compelled to buy that cross!
Mr. Chavez is a ranch hand near Mineral Wells, TX. I don’t know all the details that led him to a difficult time in his life, but I know he found himself in a dark place of desperation. He had been caring for the elderly mother of a ranch owner until the time of her passing, three years earlier. After her death, he was needing to make some extra money and began a landscape/yard care business. That business was not doing well and he came to a place where he felt defeated and his self-esteem plummeted. Mr. Chavez said that he felt like his life had no worth or value, and he even wondered if he should keep trying to go on. He said he laid down on a sofa at the ranch house and began to pray, asking God for help and to show him some reason for hope.
Mr. Chavez then described the moments when God answered that prayer. He said he was somewhere between praying and sleeping when he opened his eyes and saw a cross hanging on the wall in front of him. Next to that cross was the woman who had hung it there, the woman that had passed away three years earlier. He said he knew that God had given him a vision, and directed him to that cross. He called the man who owned the ranch house and asked if he could borrow the cross. Mr. Chavez took it home and began making similar crosses.
A man in his church owned the land on that corner of the highway. He said he was constantly chasing people from his property who were trying to sell all kinds of things. But this man said he would love for people to be able to buy crosses, and he allowed Mr. Chavez to set up his little stand, free of charge. And that is why his sign reads, “Cross of Hope” and “God bless you.” His side business has provided the money that he needed for his family and the ministry that God has called him to on the side of that highway.
I asked Mr. Chavez if I could share his story. He doesn’t have a computer but I gave him my business card and he said his grandchildren would help him find this blog. My “Cross of Hope” is hanging in our den and I’m sure it will serve as a reminder of God’s love and God’s leadership. As I said in my last blog post, God speaks through his word, through others, and through dreams and visions. Are you allowing God to speak to you – in any way he would choose? Or have you limited God to what you feel is your “comfort zone?”
God told me to turn around and visit that roadside stand…and buy a cross…and learn a story. God speaks. I promise. And what a blessing it was for me when i listened!