As a child, I was privileged to witness some pretty remarkable stories of God’s provision. Right out of Bible college, my mom and dad moved to Southeast Idaho to begin a ministry planting churches. It was a pioneering ministry — attempting to grow a church community in a region with minimal Christian influence. They had virtually no funding, and they dealt with financial shortage on a regular basis.
The words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us today our daily bread,” were not an abstraction to my mom and dad. They moved where they felt God had guided them to move, did the work they believed their Lord had directed them to do, and trusted that they would have what they needed, when they needed it.
It was truly a faith venture, an adventure of trust. They experienced God’s faithfulness again and again.
One of the more dramatic stories of God’s provision occurred one day when my dad returned home from his office at the church to find my mother in tears. As I recall, it was the beginning of a new school year and mom had compiled a lengthy list of the immediate expenses she anticipated: school supplies, school clothes, medical costs, groceries, necessary household items — all things she felt we needed but could not afford. She had itemized these necessities and added up the amount required to cover them. The sum was $727. By today’s standards, this may not feel like an astounding amount, but in the late ‘60s, on a miniscule income, it apparently felt overwhelming. In fact, the sum seemed so insurmountable that it was difficult to believe God would meet such a colossal need. As my dad relates the story today, he and my mom knelt and prayed. They had a strong belief that their Lord saw their needs and cared deeply for them. The prayer itself was a confession that God could provide what they needed in any creative way he chose.
Later that day, when Dad went to get the mail, a single letter awaited him at the post office. It was from a couple in California whom he knew by name but had never personally met. The letter was brief and said that they had recently sold a small business — a milk route from back in the day when milk was delivered by bottle to people’s doorsteps — and the profit from the sale was $7,270. The letter went on to relate that they desired to give away one tenth of the amount they received from the sale and for some reason they had an impression that this should be sent to my parents. Enclosed in the envelope was a check for $727 — the exact amount my mother had cried over and that my parents had prayed over earlier in the day.
As far as I know, this is the only instance that a specific financial need was met for them to the exact dollar amount. But this event and others that were similar but less dramatic made a huge impact on me as a child. My mom and dad were faithful to relay these stories, and they made a strong impression upon my own faith development. In the early years of my life I was reared on stories of needed funds arriving from unexpected sources.
I grew up believing that I was part of a system: If you looked out for God’s interests, he looked after you. The stories my parents relayed prepared me for my own journey of trust. They groomed me for days when I needed to embrace God’s leading and learn to depend on his provision.
Trust is a thread running through pages of our Bible. Specifically, we encounter the consistent theme of God’s desire to be trusted in extreme situations. Though the Old Testament story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:2–6 is not fundamentally a narrative about giving, it does provide a powerful example of radical trust and gracious provision that are foundation stones for the generous life.
Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. — 1 Kings 17:3
With these words Elijah is driven into seclusion. But the Kerith Ravine boasts no grocery stores, no farmers’ market. No farms for that matter. How will the man of God survive? How does one subsist in such a remote place? The Lord broaches this topic in Elijah’s deployment.
You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there. — 1 Kings 17:4, emphasis added
We watch with awe as Elijah obeys. Whatever his doubts, fears, and apprehensions, he trusts God enough to travel to this secluded, un-peopled place. He runs and hides and God provides.
What if God still whispers to his children, “Just do what I’m asking you to do. Go where I ask you to go, and stay where I ask you to stay, and I will provide for your daily needs. Look after my interests and I will look after you. Trust me.”
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Is this a timely devotional for you? Do you have needs that seem overwhelming to you? Remember that they are not overwhelming to God and submit them to Him in trust. Meditate upon His faithfulness today. Take time to write down five specific times that the Lord provided for you beyond your understanding. Come join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear your stories of God’s faithfulness! ~ Devotionals Daily