There was a preacher who had a church in a small town in the South. The climate was warm most of the time. He had been here all of his life so when he got a letter from another Church looking for a Pastor he was intrigued. This Church needed a Pastor and was located in the upper mid-west. He prayed for God's guidance in this matter as he did with most things. After about two weeks he had decided to take the position, so he called a family meeting with his wife and four children. He explained to them how he felt that this was the will of God. As always they supported his decision.
When he and his family arrived at the new location they were met by the Church Deacons and their wife's. It seemed as if this was where he belonged. The first Sunday the Church was packed and continued to be every Sunday until winter set in. The nights were bitter cold and the days were not much better. There was over two feet of snow on the ground and getting around was near impossible. Cars and trucks were out the only way to get anywhere was by sleigh or on foot.
The Church was caught in a finical bind because there was little attendance in winter so they had asked the new Pastor if he could wait until spring to get paid. Being a man of God he agreed. This meant that he and his family would have to become very careful about spending. This Pastor and his wife were dealing with the situation fairly well until Christmas. They had four children who were going to be very disappointed on Christmas morning. You see with no money coming in and no way to travel to a larger community to shop, it meant no gifts. This also meant that the food would run out soon. They would all have to survive on what little food was in the house. Then about a week before Christmas things became worst. The Church told him that because the weather was worst this year than ever they were going to suspend church services all together until the middle of spring. This meant that he and his family would have to get by with little else than faith.
He became very discouraged and began to question God for allowing him to move here. Then he and his wife began to have arguments about being here and because they now were stuck here with no way out until the snow melted. They were in one of these argument when he received a message that one of the Church members was ill.
He told his wife that he must go and left on the five mile walk to the house of the one person that he dreaded most to visit. The man was a total pain and was one who was never happy, he was the one who complained every Sunday about something. After his long walk in the snow he arrived at the house and was shone in. He ask about the mans health and was shone into the room where the man was in bed. Never once was he offered anything to help warm him up after the long walk not even a cup of tea. After having prayer with the man he started his long walk home, he knew it would be almost dark when he arrived.
When he arrived he was met by his wife and a warm cup of coffee. He told his wife that he was sorry that he had ask her to come to this place. He went into his small study and began to pray to God and ask why he had been abandoned. He felt as though God had forgotten him and his family. He was angry and began to tell God that if he every got away from here he would never serve him again.
He was ready to tell his wife about his decision when there was a Knox on the door, it was the Store keeper from town, he was also the mail man and because of the weather he could not find help so he would deliver mail after closing the store. He had four big boxes on the back of his sleigh that he explained had arrived today for them. After helping unload them he left after wishing them merry Christmas.
There was a note in an envelope with one of the boxes; it read we thought that since you were not use to cold weather this might help. It was from the small southern town he had left, and there was also a check from some fellow pastors they said that God had lead them to send this so use it as God intended. Inside the boxes were clothes and gifts for the children. He broke down right there and began to cry, his wife thought that it was because he was glad and that god had delivered them, but it was because he had lost faith and was ashamed of himself.
He explained to his wife that he had given up on God and how he had quit because he felt abandoned. He then went back into the study and ask forgiveness for what he had said and want God to continue to use him. He gave thanks for the gift that he had received, not the package that arrived but the gift of forgiveness.