Friday, October 22, 2010

I am Thankful God Provides

When Cheryl and I got married we were quite naive and full of faith. I had a Ford Pinto my parents had bought me and forty dollars to my name. We knew we were supposed to go to Wheaton and we were confident God would provide. Until the day before our wedding we didn’t have a place to live in Wheaton, but we were going none the less. So we packed everything we owned in a 4X6 U-Haul and headed north.

I had no doubt God was going to provide. A few weeks before the wedding my Dad uncharacteristically approached me about my plans. He wanted to know how we were going to survive and pay for school. I boldly assured him he didn’t need to worry; God had told us to go and He would provide for us. Later, Dad let me know he told a lot of people what I had said and how God did provid.

When you’re young stepping out of the boat is not that hard. Even if you sink it’s always a good day for a swim. Then reality hits; the water is cold and the waves push you under over and over again. A couple of months into marriage and graduate school we were up against the financial wall. Our final tuition payment for the quarter and our rent were due. We needed $670.00. As Cheryl and I knelt by our bed praying, God spoke to me saying the money was on its way. I looked over at Cheryl and told her God was going to provide. In my imagination I saw dozens of small gifts arriving in the mail over a period of a few days. I was confident, but I was not prepared for the mail on the next day.

Cheryl had gone through her under graduate program on veteran’s benefits due to her father’s war injuries. They had sent her a couple of checks after we got married and when we called they said she would have to return the money. She did not qualify for further benefits. But the mail that day brought a letter and check from the Veterans Administration. The staff person Cheryl had talked with was misinformed. She did qualify for six more months of benefits. The check in the envelope was for the three months they had withheld her payments; it was for $671 and some cents. We paid our bill and went to out to celebrate; we went to McDonalds where we split a burger, fries and a shake.

We have had other times of financial despair but never again has a check arrived in the mail the next day so closely tied to the amount for which we prayed. We have worked and borrowed and repaid. We have struggled to beat checks to the bank and been late on more than one payment. But we have never been truly delinquent. God always provides, just not on our time table. In His tardiness He nudges me toward a better understanding of the currency of His Kingdom which is not houses, land, cars, or American dollars. The currency of Heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). These are the gifts of God which He provides without limit; the ones which will remain for all eternity.

Cleveland, Tennessee
October 22, 2010

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