Sometimes it might feel like God is billion miles away. Sometimes it might feel like He doesn't know our struggles. But, He does. He knows them all. And He is always there, ready to pick us up when we fall. Trust me. I know. Boy, how I know. I have been meaning to share this story for a long time, and today at church our guest speaker (Forestdale's Youth pastor's Father in law) spoke on this very subject. I guess that was the push I needed to finally open up.
I grew up in the church, raised by Christian parents. I spent my school years in public, private, and home school. Yea, I saw it all. But, something stuck while I was homeschooling. Something got to me. I never forgot it, and I never will. We read a whole lot when we were homeschooled. Mostly classic novels, and mostly for fun. But sometimes we had required reading- you know, those readers that have condensed stories required for Reading class. Well ours had an extra element that most readers don't have. Ours had stories about missionaries mixed in. These were the stories I loved best. I don't know why, but I always found them gripping. Perhaps because I always found the subjects had a certain kind of bravery I just did not think I had. Or perhaps what they possessed was Faith. Faith that God will protect them and that He would provide. Faith that even when things got terrifying, there was someone watching out for them. Faith in something bigger than themselves.
One story in particular sticks out in my mind. I do not remember what grade I was in, but I do remember the story well. It was about George Mueller. He was born in Germany in 1805. His youth was spent stealing and drinking, but then he met God. That changed everything. He moved to England and opened an orphanage. He never had much money and oftentimes couldn't afford to even feed the children. He never told anyone of their needs except for God and he always trusted they would be provided for. One day, as dinner time arrived and the children gathered around the table, he had nothing to feed them. Yet, he joined the children at the table and said a prayer as he had always done. Just at the moment, someone arrived at the door with food.
That story always amazed me. How George had such faith that he would be provided for stunned me. But, then I began to see this in my own life. There were times where my family was so broke we would eat whatever assortment of canned goods we got from the church's food pantry. I remember one time a bag of groceries was left at our front door. I have no idea who left them, but I remember it impacted our whole family. We always praised God for his provision. I can remember one time my parents couldn't even afford to buy milk. Any parent with children can understand the need to have milk in the house. We were at church and a family friend approached my mother and asked her if we wanted 2 gallons of milk. She said that she had bought 2 gallons, and not realizing it, so did her husband. I remember everyone feeling overwhelmed at how amazing the timing was and how specific the need was. When my brother and I wanted to go to a very unique private high school, somehow God always provided the money for tuition.
Then one day I grew up, got married, and we struck out on our own. There have been countless times we wonder how we are going to make it, and yet somehow we always manage to have food and our bills covered. Several years ago, a woman my mother worked with felt compelled to purchase grocery cards and bless families who needed it. We were struggling that year. My husband was deployed and did not make a whole lot and we were living on the economy as there was no available base housing in our area. It was tough. We were given $200 for groceries, and because of this gift were able to pay for propane to stay warm.
Last Christmas was also particularly rough. I am so thankful for programs like Toys for Tots that take care of the kids on base. But this last Christmas we had run out of money and food. I remember feeling so helpless, but thought of Mueller and how God always took care of him. I thought of all the times growing up and how God always provided for our big crazy family. Seth and I prayed- we had nothing else to do. Then one night as a friend picked me up for music practice, she found something on our front door. On our front door was a giftcard to the grocery store. It was just amount needed to get us through to the next pay day. With the card was a note that simply read, "He knows your needs, and is faithful to provide." It still chokes me up. This was the second time God provided for us via grocery card. How could I have forgotten the first time? Only this time was entirely anomynous. To this day we have that index card on our refridgerator to remind us that God will always take care of us.
I am so blessed these days. While we might not have a lot of extra money, we always have our needs met. We live in a very beautiful area because my husband is stationed here (another God story I will share another time), and we would likely not be able to be here otherwise. We have an amazing church family, both here on the Cape and back in NH. I love them all. This is the first place where we have lived in our whole marriage that Seth and I are both happy. God is faithful to provide.
The story that the guest speaker at Forestdale shared was in 1 Kings 17. I realize that a lot of what was said was about the power of tithing, but Faith came up a lot. The story in 1 Kings is no exception. God sent Elijah to a widow who had nothing left and on the verge of death. Because of Elijah's faithfulness, the widow's obedience, and God's mercy, she and her son were provided for. This was yet another reminder that God will take care of us. If we are faithful to God, he will provide for us. In today's economy, with the stresses of money and bills, what better time than to put Faith and Trust in the One who can take care of me no matter what.