The night after the tornado, we ate a lukewarm dinner in the dark. We slept a few hours, waking in the early morning to a series of text messages heralding a fresh wave of tornado warnings. This time we heeded them.
After a stop at the restroom, we all headed back out to Brandon’s metal shop. Mom, Dad, and Kelsay (our friend who lived with my parents at the time) joined us until the worst had passed. It wasn’t comfortable. The concrete floor was hard, the air around us cool and dark, but we were safe and content.
I was reminded of Noah’s ark—a place of safety in the storm, a symbol of our ultimate salvation. Just as there is a story behind the ark, there is a story behind Brandon’s building.
A large, sturdy shop had been in the plans since we moved to our current property in 2012, but finances, my poor health, Brandon’s new job, and the consideration of moving to a different location all stood between Brandon and his dream.
In January of this year, our financial situation had improved. I was healthy. He had acclimated to his new job, and an offer we had just made on a property had been rejected. So he took the plunge and decided to build his shop and a home for us, beginning with the shop. Because priorities.
The process wasn’t easy, but through it, he was able to experience God’s provision in personal ways. Ultimately, the story of Brandon’s shop is Brandon’s story, and he should be the one to tell it. I helped him with the writing part, but this is his account.
My Building, God’s Building
by Brandon Keaster (a.k.a. Superman)
At the time I ordered the building, I had six weeks to clear the land, do the dirt work, and pour a slab before the delivery date. That’s when the rain started.
It rained for four weeks straight. The rivers flooded. The lakes flooded. No work could be done. But the order was in process, and I would’ve had to pay a significant penalty fee to change the delivery date.
The rain stopped in early March, leaving me only 12 days to get everything done in time for the scheduled delivery.
Clearing the land and laying the foundation proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. The day before the machine operators arrived to clear the land, the dump truck they used for moving dirt broke down. They had to borrow a truck designed for highway use only, which slowed down the process. The anticipated day’s work took six of my 12 days.
Just before the foundation was finished, I called the concrete crew who would form the slab. They were behind on a job and unable to start until the following Friday, which would leave me four days until delivery. I knew the timing would be tight, but they planned to pour concrete on Saturday. That left me with three days.
But on Friday night, I was told the concrete company would not be mixing on Saturday. It would be Monday before I could get a truck out to the property.
I was devastated. The delay threw my plans awry. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would even have concrete before my building arrived. The forecast predicted rain, and if it rained, the trucks might not come.
I felt anxious all weekend, but the trucks showed up on Monday morning. I would have my foundation that day.
Foundations are significant. They’re the beginning of something new and permanent. I had waited a long time for this moment, and it had finally arrived.
When I got home from work that day, we had a finished slab. My initial excitement returned. I walked around on what would become the floor of my shop. The kids rode their bicycles on a smooth surface for the first time. Melissa tried to act impressed, but mostly she was just happy for me.
There was only one problem. I had ordered an all-terrain forklift to unload the building and aid in construction the next day. The company had delivered a forklift, but not the kind I needed. A warehouse forklift wouldn’t work on my loose dirt.
It was after hours. Nothing could be done until the next morning. It was all I could do to remain calm.
At 7am on the morning my building was to arrive, I phoned a friend whose father works for the rental company I’d ordered the forklift from. He made a few phone calls and said I would have the correct machine at 9am.
Another problem—the building was scheduled to be delivered at 8am, and I would only have two hours to get everything unloaded before the truck left. At this point, I threw up my hands and cried out to God. “What am I supposed to do now?”
But God had it all under control.
The correct forklift came at 8:45am, well before the building delivery man showed up. He’d been held up for some unexplained reason and didn’t arrive until 11:30am. Furthermore, the mix-up with the forklift saved me several hundred dollars as I was charged the price of the smaller machine rather than the one I ordered.
I’d hoped to use the forklift to begin setting the metal frame, but the concrete hadn’t yet cured. Even still, I was able to unload the truck and place the materials where they needed to be for installation.
My dad and I began installation after the concrete had cured for 72 hours. Despite not having the forklift at that time, we were able to use the front-end loader on our farm’s tractor to raise and place the iron beams. By God’s grace, Dad and I were able to complete the primary framing installation in only two days.
We started the Thursday before Easter on the exterior. By early afternoon, I saw that it would take much longer to finish the building than I had planned, and I was on another time crunch to finish and had insulation that couldn’t get wet.
I called a construction friend that evening. He sent out a worker within an hour of my call. I showed the man what needed to be done, and he arrived at 7am the next morning with a crew.
It had taken my dad and me a full day to put up a 50-foot wall. This man and his crew finished 110 feet in one day. When they finished the walls, I hired the crew to put on the roof. They returned the following weekend.
As they worked, clouds formed overhead. I worked alongside them, crying aloud to God to stop the rain. Minutes before the thunderstorm hit, we finished the roof and trim work.
The kids rode their bicycles as Dad and I worked inside. We listened to the sound of hail hitting that new metal roof. Another provision from God.
Had God not provided the men to help my dad and me, the building wouldn’t have been completed before the tornado. To realize that he gave me exactly what I needed, on time, so that my family had a safe place to weather the storm overwhelms me with wonder and gratitude.
Knowing that my building mattered to God reminds me that he doesn’t just care about the big things like healing my wife. He cares about the small things—the things I tend to think are completely up to me.
Now, I better understand that all things—big and small—are God’s. My building is actually his building. He’s just letting me use it for a while.
What about you?
How has God provided for you lately? How have you seen him working for you? Have you experienced God's perfect timing recently? Share your story in the comments below!