With his family gone, Roger Cheshier read the classified ads uninterrupted – until he came across the ad selling an arm wrestling table. He read the ad again.
“An arm wrestling table! That has got to be the ultimate redneck item. Who needs something like that,” he laughed and tossed the paper aside.
With the family gone for a couple days, the ad for the arm wrestling table stayed where he tossed it. It grabbed his attention when he sat down later to pick up his Bible for his daily devotions.
What did an arm wrestling table look like anyway? He shrugged off the thought and opened the Bible — but his eyes turned again to the ad.
“Lord, is this is from you? I don’t understand. I don’t have $250 to spend on an arm wrestling table that I don’t need.”
But the gentle nudge persisted.
He called the number in the ad hoping no one would answer or that the table had already been sold.
Someone answered. They still had the table and they had someone heading Roger’s direction with a truck who could bring the table to him.
Still wondering ‘why’ he was doing it, he agreed to buy the table sight unseen.
After it arrived, Cheshier definitely did not know what to do with the square table with its the elbow pads for resting the wrestling arm, foam cushions ready to catch an arm slammed into submission and grab bars on either side of the table for the contender’s other arm and hand.
“I didn’t know why I bought the thing. I just knew I was supposed to do it,” Roger shook his head in disbelief as he told his story.
Then he heard of an acquaintance dealing with the mounting costs of a terminal illness. He wanted to give the guy something to help with his living expenses.
That desire merged with the arm wrestling table in a conversation with mutual friends. They talked about an arm wrestling competition to help raise some funds for the guy. “I knew nothing about how to organize an arm wrestling tournament or even who might be interested. But, everyone thought it would be a great idea,” Roger remembered in dismay. The idea began to take on a life of its own.
“I said, ‘Lord, I just can’t do this. I just finished building a building. I’ve got to get the stress off me.’ I told God, ‘I am plum worn out and I don’t know how to go about doing this.”
But he felt God pressing him on anyway. “He let me know ‘it ain’t about you, Roger. I am going to do it through you’,” Roger recalls.
“We will do it even if I don’t understand why or how,” Roger decided. “I had no idea how to go about organizing an arm wrestling competition, no more than the man in the moon.”
“I stepped back and watched. He (God) touched people I did not know gave a rip about anybody. People called and got mad because they wanted to help and I hadn’t asked them. ‘You gotta have something to eat’ someone said. I had no plans for food. They said ‘we will handle it.’ The whole event just kinda took off. Folks just started coming out of the wall,” Roger recalled.
One guy said he knew how to organize an arm wrestling competition. Roger told him to go ahead and do that. An official arm wrestling referee in Smackover offered to referee at no cost to help raise funds for the man.
Other people came to Roger and angrily asked, “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have helped.”
“Man, I don’t know what I’m doing or who to ask,” Roger defended himself and they found ways they could volunteer. Winner trophies were donated. All the trimmings for the fish fry and food prep were donated. Competitors signed up to arm wrestle.
With little input from Roger, the arm wrestling competition took off, took place and took in more than four times what Roger had hoped to raise for his friend.
“We had the arm wrestling table, the contestants, the referees and the food. We raised enough money to help out this guy.”
Looking back on that event – and a susequent fundraiser for another family in need – Roger said, “it wasn’t me doing anything except going with this crazy idea to buy that arm wrestling table which I did not need or want. It was God doing it.”
“When you stay tuned in with God, when you trust and obey Him, you might think He is pointing you to do something out of sorts. But, when He is in charge, it is His results. When you get intimate with God, He works it out,” Roger said reflecting his years of tuning in and aiming to walk God’s way.
(Joan Hershberger is a reporter at the News-Times. E-mail her at email@example.com.)