top of page

I Am A Simple Man After All

Admittedly, I've never been a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. They just never "did it for me." They produced a song titled, "Simple Man", but I will share more about that later.

This is a long story. Simple, but long. We who believe in Christ have all of eternity though, and some stories are better when they are told in their entirety. So here goes.

Let me take you back to 2023, spring. It became apparent that financially we were finally in a place where we could purchase a whole house generator. We had waited over 20 years to do it. So you can imagine my excitement.

I am a simple man after all.

Simple things excite me.

What's the big deal you ask? Well, in short, we live in Northern New York. We have our share of power outages and our winters normally see temps below -20 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live where we do and your power goes out for an extended time it can be deadly. We also have a large family (mostly all adults, marrieds, with grands) and if all hell breaks loose at least we could have power and be a shelter for others who may need it.

That's our history.

I have many jobs and titles, like most of you.

In this story, I work for the Army.

I have access to a thing called the TSP or Thrift Savings Plan. Every pay period the government skims a little off the top to save for me and Heather to help in retirement. This program also allows us to take out loans at very low rates (it is our money after all). I had a simple plan. A simple plan for a simple man.

Contact the TSP and take out a loan for the cost of the generator.

Have it installed.

Pay back the loan in a year.


People have said that Christianity isn't a 100 yard dash, it's a marathon. Others have said it is a journey and God loves to take His time. So it shouldn't surprise me, when a simple A B C plan turns into a marathon, a journey, an experience I will never forget.

God is like that. He is into leading us to experiences that change us forever.

Early September 2023 I apply for the loan. $8500 of generator purchasing power. Immediately, I hit the first speed bump. A complication with process. We had just paid off the previous loan and now had a mandatory waiting period. AAAAK! My plan. Oh the pain!

God's plan was simple. David... wait. I can't pull up an image of me rolling around on the grass, like a toddler in a grocery store who's been told he can't have a candy bar today, bemoaning my predicament. Heather could probably fill you in, at times I am anything but patient. More like disgruntled and loud about it.

So I wait. Simple. I grow in love. I grow in patience.

At last, the waiting period is over in October sometime.

I submit the loan application. Not liking the wording on the site I opt to have a hard copy of the check sent to our mailbox. Yeah, it takes longer... but I am paitent now. And simple. Patient and simple man, that's me.

Speed-bump number two. For a bit one our sons and his family had their mail coming to our house. When they got their own mailbox there was a miscommunication at the post office between them and the USPS that affected us. All our mail was going somewhere then, we knew not where.

In the meantime, I get the confirmation on November 8, 2023 that the $8500 check would be in my hands by November 18.

Somewhere around here because of the delay with the loan we were going to miss the installation timeline to receive a 10 year free warranty on the generator. This was about a $1000 value that I didn't want to lose. So I came up with another plan. We scraped together all our cash, borrowed a lot from one of our daughters and made the purchase in time. Now depleting our cushion for bills and becoming indebted to our youngest.

It may sound complicated but it really was a simple plan, until the journey began. And I'm not kidding when I say it was just beginning.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Generator installed. It does a weekly test every Saturday to keep its battery charged, connects to an app, keeps lights on when all other lights go out. How cool is that? I am watching the checking account like a hawk so we don't over draft. We owe our child several thousand dollars and the $8500 loan check is nowhere to be found.

I call the USPS. They can't tell me where it went.

I call the TSP. They say the check was listed as not delivered. They can't tell me where it went either. So, I ask if we can issue the loan via direct deposit? Yes, sir Mr. Tanner. We should be able to have that to you in 2-5 business days, the TSP call center tells me.

Simple. Execute operation... Direct Deposit.

December comes, the loan doesn't.

I am patient. I am humble. I am... calling the TSP again.

I think it was about here that I noticed every time I got put on hold, a rock instrumental of sorts would play for my.... what? Entertainment. It had a blues kind of feel. The TSP call center told me the loan should be in my account by the 17th of December.

Well just in time for Christmas. Not my plan, but workable.

Did I mention that this subject has now become a matter not only of personal prayer, but corporate? When the Lord heard me asking Him to remove this mountain stopping my loan, out of my way, nothing was happening, that I could see. AAAAAKK! My plan! Oh the pain! So I called in reinforcements. We prayed. Oh... did we pray. I saw others have their mountains moved, God is good, but mine stubbornly remained.

During one of the calls in December I learned that there was some sort of computer crash that apparently stopped all TSP loans from being processed.

Once when I was on hold, I suddenly remembered the tune that they played to my annoyance every time I was waiting. It was the intro to "Simple Man" by, you guessed it, Lynyrd Skynyrd. About this time I had been put on hold and subjected to this torture so many times I began making up my own lyrics to the music.

"Let me take you back, to twenty twenty three.

When I sought a loan, from the TSP..."

I am a simple man. Simple things amuse me. When we put people on hold at work, it's just a mute button. I can still hear everything that's going on with the caller, but they can't hear me.

I made up lyrics. I sang. I hope they could hear it. I laugh.

To make things more interesting, and even more ridiculous, the TSP started taking money out of my paychecks to pay back the loan I didn't receive!

Whaaaat?!!!! Lord? How is this possible? How on earth is this possible? How ... you get the point. At first I was angry. Then, I was dumbfounded. Then, I think I even grieved. This was madness. Insanity even.

I am simple, but I am a piece of work. God's work.

There is a time and place to pray.

There is a time and place to wait in faith, and patience.

There is a time to what?

Hear what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. I suddenly saw the persistent widow out of one of Jesus' parables (you can google it). In the story Jesus used the persistent widow's knocking at the door of the unjust judge to urge us to always keep praying and never give up believing what you've asked for.

I've joked with you a little. I really am patient. So patient that I don't have a problem asked My Father in Heaven to fix something and then leave it alone so He can. It irritates others when I am operating in my gift of patient faith. Do something they shout. I have prayed. I am waiting.

But this was different, it went against my supernatural instinct to simply leave it in His hands. I really believe He told me to call them, again and again. No more speed bumps by the way. God was in this. I wasn't sure why, but this isn't my first chapter with Jesus. Sometimes He really does need us to wait. However, I had new marching orders. Be the persistent widow. Call.

So I did.

January 19, 2024 I called. I got put on hold. I listened to "Simple Man" instrumental on loop. I made lyrics. I sang. When a TSP call center worker finally picked up I explained my problem and was told the loan would be deposited by January 23rd. As to the (I am speaking in tongues now. I have no words to describe the level of lunacy I am experiencing.) problem I have. I am paying back I loan I didn't get, people!

I just want to say, If you are sitting in a ridiculous situation that prayer doesn't move. It may be that God is still working on it. But then again, I am a simple man. Simple explanations calm me.

January 23, 2024 comes and goes. No loan.

January 26, 2024 I call the TSP. I speak to James (I now started asking for names and how long they've worked there. I am sensing the Holy Spirit during these calls. He wants me to treat them with kindness, and understanding.) James tries to tell my that I will have my loan in 2-5 business days. "James," I say, "I'm sorry but I cannot believe your answer. I need to speak to a supervisor.

I get put on hold. I listen to Simple Man. I add a verse about "2-5 business days, is what James said to me..."

Floor supervisor Johnny answers. He sounds like he isn't even old enough to grow a beard. Ugh. I was hoping for someone old and crusty who knew the ins and outs of the system. Someone who doesn't just check the boxes and spit out a canned answer, but Johnny would have to do. Johnny tells me the deposit was approved. He tries to give me the 2-5 business day lie. I stopped him gently. "Can you promise me that I will have my loan in 2-5 BDs?" I ask. To his credit, honesty comes forth. "No, sir." I thanked him and told him I would wait until February 2 and call back if I didn't have the loan.

I should be angry, but I'm not. I now look at these folks just like I look at myself. We have jobs, rules, protocols, standard operating procedures, etc.

I start to grow in understanding. I am a simple man.

January 31, 2024 I'm at work. I have a few moments of peace. I check online with the TSP. Nothing has changed. My account says the loan went through. And what's this I've paid back $150 dollars of it. I laugh. What would you do? There is a blip on the screen... It says, "Hi, I'm Victoria, your virtual TSP assistant. How can I help you?

Oh? Victoria sounds nice. I typed for five minutes or so, pouring my heart out to Victoria the AI.

I send it.

Seconds later comes the reply. "I'm sorry, but I can't help you. Please call the TSP help line."

And back to square one. So much for AI.

February 5, 2024 I call the TSP. I speak with Destiny. She's friendly. Compassionate. She tells me the re-issue of the loan was approved on January 17. Yep, got that. A status update was requested January 27th. Yep, knew that. She can't help me today. No explanation. She just advises me to keep calling back and I didn't have time to ask for a manager that day.

Have you ever had to have the same conversation with different people over and over again. The movie "Ground Hog Day" with Bill Murray comes to mind. There's one part of the movie when he realizes that he's going to keep repeating this day until he achieves some kind of objective, but in the process of being efficient something happens. In every conversation and situation he knows what's coming next, so he starts doing weird things like answering questions before they get asked.

I realized at this point that every time I call, I have to tell my story. I have to patiently submit to their processing of the story, not matter how repetitive or painful. To answer their questions ahead of time, quickly overwhelms their though processes. It short circuits their protocol. More? It disrespects them as people who God loves.

Is that compassion growing? Is that more love?

When I tell others about my dilemma they can't believe I'm not cussing people out. Give them and earful, tell them how it is.

Jesus doesn't want that, does He. Nope. I am a simple man, life is simpler Jesus' way. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

February 7, 2024 I call the TSP. I spoke with Melissa (the lesser), a one year employee. I talk, she listens. She talks, I listen. I describe the processes that we have to go through at work to fix people's problems. I asked her what their process was. Amazing... it is the same exact same process! Submit a ticket and wait for someone to call you. She has no idea what level my ticket has been elevated to. She confirms the re-issue order happened on January 17th. That day I didn't have time to seek a supervisor. I'll have the money in 2-5 business days. Where have I heard that before? I did tell her I would call back on Friday and at that time I need to speak with a supervisor. She understood.

I hide my disappointment. God is in this. I am simple, He is complex.

February 9th, 2024 I call the TSP. I speak with Marietta. After hearing my story she see's a note on my account left by Melissa and puts me on hold.

I listen to simple man. I make up more lyrics. I sing my heart out. "...oh Marietta, can you help me? I got big trouble with the TSP..."

Melissa, a supervisor picks up after a while. I tell my story, she listens. She confirms what I already know... 2-5 BD's from January 17th have come and gone. I get a little breakthrough though. It turns out that Melissa (the greater) knows the only way we can find out where the $8500 went is to get a special number from them and then call our bank and ask them to track it. Great! Can I have the number? She tells me unfortunately I have to wait for a request to be sent in to get said number. Additionally, I learn that every time a re-issue of a check is ordered there is an 8-22 day investigation.

The Lord is my shield. And my strength. And my composure. And lowerer of my blood pressure. He is big. I am small, and simple.

February 14, 2024 I call the TSP. I speak with Quaneesha. I've never met a Quaneesha before. She's friendly, been there 2 years. She recognizes that my problem is "beyond any of us"... and tells me to "run!" (Just kidding, a little Lord of the Rings humor there.)

I am put on hold. I listen to Simple Man, for the umpteenth time.

I compose lyrics, "...Oh Quaneesha, others have lied to me. Telling me 2-5 business days. Oh Quaneesha, can you come straighten this out, maybe fix their messed up ways?..." I sing to the tune.

I am laughing because I know the end of the story. Maybe you will see it coming before I get there.

The supervisor picks up. Through his thick hispanic accent he tells me his name.

It's Jesus.

No, I am not kidding this time. I can't help myself... the tune of Simple Man comes to mind, then the lyric, "...oh Jesus can you help me..."

On the phone Jesus was not able to give me the special number to call my bank with. Apparently, the government won't give that out to just anyone. Ironic. As if paying back a loan I didn't get doesn't give me the right to know it. Oh, well, Jesus had another plan though. He told me he escalated my ticket to the highest level. He requested that the agency responsible for issuing the loan contact me directly. He even gave me the case number to reference when they called me.

I thanked Jesus. Hung up. Like Christ's mother, Mary, considered these things in my heart.

I didn't want to believe that God would fix it now that I had gotten through to Jesus. That lesson seemed a little to shallow for me. A little too, dare I say it? Simple.

February 22, 2024 an $8450 deposit hit our checking account.

It wasn't until I got through to Jesus that my situation changed.

He moved the mountain.

He walked with me through every difficult step.

I had planned, prayed, called, and done all I thought to do in solving this problem.

It's scope was beyond me. The details unbelievable, even as I retell it.

My eyes are opened wider today, that my Jesus holds my life in His infinite, all knowing, all powerful hands.

And I am a simple man after all.

346 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page