As I’ve studied the Bible, I’ve noticed that the Israelites had this habit of recounting the stories of God’s faithfulness to them. Isaiah 38:19 even says – “the fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.”
With feasts and festivals and holy days, they set aside time to remember what God had done for them, how God had protected and saved them on numerous occasions. But I also get a sense that God’s people included stories of God’s faithfulness in daily conversations, talking about Him as they sat at home and as they walked along the road, as they lay down and as they rose up. (Deut. 6:7)
We have tried to do this in our family. Discussions of God’s faithfulness and stories of His provision are part of our daily conversation. We have a few favorite stories of times God was really, really obvious that He was the One providing. One of my favorites is the story of the roller skates.
We were serving with an international mission organization at the home offices in Florida. We hadn’t lived there very many months when there was a mistake with our monthly check. Each month, people and churches sent money to the mission for our account. And at the end of the month, the finance office deducted our insurance payment, our rent, some other fees and the children’s monthly school tuition. Then we received a check for whatever was left. That’s the money we used for groceries, gas, clothes, doctor’s appointments — whatever we needed each month.
Well, this particular month we didn’t have as many donations as we normally had (or someone sent the check too late to be included in that month’s “paycheck”). And the finance office made a mistake and took out too much for tuition. The check we received was for about $150. No, I didn’t forget any zeroes. We had $150 to live on for a month.
Of course, at first my husband and I were seized with panic. How in the world would eight of us live on a hundred and fifty dollars? Then we prayed. We both felt a peace, that God was telling us just to trust Him. We didn’t call the finance office to get a credit for the extra tuition; we didn’t send out an email or make any phone calls asking for more money. We just waited to see what God would do. It was completely His idea for us to be there, so we trusted He would provide what we needed.
Trying to make a game-like challenge out of the situation, I got creative with the food in our cupboards and freezer. We may not have been eating foods that satisfied every craving we had, but we weren’t going hungry. One evening, we ate a very unsatisfactory meatless dinner, thanking God for providing and resisting the urge to grumble and complain. We tucked the children into bed and settled onto the couch to rest.
Then the phone rang. The mission had hosted a thank-you dinner for the snowbird volunteers who had spent their winter helping out around the home offices. There was quite a bit of food left over, the caller said, would we be interested? My husband hurried downstairs. When he returned to our apartment, tears poured down my face as I looked at the bags and containers of food he brought. We had bags of smoked chicken and beef and pork, baked beans, cornbread, baked potatoes, coleslaw. There was so much food! So much meat! I used that meat in various meals for at least a week, stretching it as far as we could.
For several weeks, ThingTwo had been asking for roller skates. We explained that roller skates weren’t in the budget, that buying some wouldn’t be the wisest use of our money. She didn’t complain. But she did pray, asking God to make roller skates fit in the budget.
Near the end of that month, a neighbor knocked on our door. “My daughter outgrew these,” she said, holding out a pair of roller skates. “We thought one of your girls might be able to wear them.”
I had never cried over roller skates before. But I sure did that day. What a sweet, loving Father we have! Not only did He provide the food we needed, He provided delicious, abundant meat! And not only did He give us our needs, He gave my little girl the desire of her heart.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19