Our daughter, Valerie, who is a senior in college in Southern California, called us with some news that left me speechless for a moment or two. No, she wasn’t calling to tell me that she had eloped or anything of that sort.

Rather, Valerie was calling to tell us that one of her professors and his wife (who have almost adopted her into their family during the three years that she has been in college), had written a check to cover the cost of replacing the radiator in her car. We’re not talking a couple hundred dollars or so…this was a big expense.

What prompted this kind of generosity from them?

In the last few months, Valerie’s 2001 Volvo that had 113,000 miles on it when she bought it in 2010, has taken a turn for the worse. Major repair has followed major repair – the fuel pump, catalytic converter, ignition, and on and on. Valerie has paid for these repairs as much as she is able but in addition to the financial strain, it has caused her a lot of emotional stress to be on her own in SoCal and not have dependable transportation to get to work and school. For her, when the “Service Engine Soon” light comes on, it might as well be a sign of the apocalypse.

So in the most recent episode, the car was barely been out of the shop when the engine light came on and the car starting overheating when she was driving to Bible study – which is hosted at this professor’s home. She calls us in tears – she’s parked outside his house – and is totally distraught over how she’s going to cope with another expensive and disruptive car repair.

All we can do is tell her to get the car to the mechanic in the morning, and for right now, go to Bible study and tell your friends what’s going on. We know they love her and will support her in any way that they can. Everyone has been through the frustration of multiple car repairs – we know they will be empathetic and commiserate about how it really sucks to have to deal with this.

The car did indeed get fixed over the next couple of days. Then about a week later her professor asks her to stop by on her way home; he tells her that he and his wife have a fund that they set aside to use as God leads them. They had prayed about it and felt led to use this money to help Valerie through this especially stressful time.

What do you say when someone gives you a gift like that? My reaction was “Give it back!” But the truth is, the money isn’t mine to give back. It’s not like this couple had a moment of insanity when they wrote the check. They did it deliberately and intentionally. They gave it graciously – it should be received graciously.

It’s still a little overwhelming to experience this kind of generosity and love. I wrote a letter telling them that there is no doubt in our hearts, that God has a plan for Valerie, and this school and their presence in her life, is part of it. Of course, we are grateful for the excellent education and training she has received academically, but as parents, knowing that they were there to support her spiritually and emotionally, is more than we ever could have hoped for.

We are blessed.