I can remember always being so fascinated by stories of amazing answers to prayer, from biblical accounts, to stories of people like George Mueller who ran orphanages in England in the 1800’s where he never asked anyone for help except God, to stories my mom told me growing up of times she would come to God with urgent needs. I always longed to have my own amazing testimonies of tales to tell of God’s goodness and provision, yet, there were many points in God supplying for me in amazing, supernatural ways that I did not appreciate the wonder of the situation, because relying on God meant I could not rely on myself and I felt incredibly foolish in that place and as if I were on display to all the world. Many times I did find the wonder and beauty and awe and joy in those places, but there were many times I felt very frustrated as I felt like people in my life expected me to have a better plan for supplying my needs than how God was taking care of me, and I mean Christian friends who I think were just trying to be good friends and good counselors, but I often felt ridiculous for the obviousness and vastness of my need. Even while I knew that at other times in my life where I looked like I was more secure, I was actually in a much worse state, and I struggled a lot because I felt like the material prosperity of my life should reflect the spiritual healing I had received.
For years when I read in the bible about the Israelites groaning and mumbling in the desert, I criticized them, thinking how wonderful their miraculous provision was and how little they appreciated it. I finally understood the other side of it when I was being so much sustained by the provision of the Lord in such obvious ways and how desperately I longed for the ability to control my provision rather than rely on God for it! I still seek the balance in that aspect of trusting and leaning and relying on God in all things and knowing I will always desperately need Him no matter the state of my finances.
I’ve seen so many crazy ways that the Lord has provided for me, I have to begin to write some of the stories to record the goodness of God for me in the areas of provision.
With no money for toilet paper or shampoo, a friend shared the $43 she earned at her garage sale off of items she’d been given for free. She told me the Lord instructed her to give it to me. At the end of a two-week office assignment the Christian women I’d been helping with her extra workload, who did not know my financial straits, gave me an envelope with $200 that helped me make rent (this was not my pay for the work, but a personal gift she gave me). She also gave me a new backpack – she’d bought one for her son that was too large for him, she also brought me good coffee with a huge bottle of flavored creamer and some books by one of my favorite Christian authors.
While walking to the bank to get a money order for my rent, a girl I met at a work assignment nine months earlier chased me down after she saw me walk past her in front of the hospital where she was leaving from a check up. She shared how she had decided at the last minute to take an appointment that day and how pleased she was by the prime parking spot she landed—right by the sidewalk where I was marching past to get to the bank and my first day of a new job. The money order process ended up being more complicated and she drove me to two different banks, a gas station for the money order, my complex to make the payment in time to avoid eviction and to my new job. We shared about our learning on our path to recovery and prayed together.
I saw supernatural provision in many forms my first nine months in Albuquerque especially. There were several times where food that I was eating simply didn’t deplete. I remember in particular a pack of tortillas that I never seemed to make a dent in and a $1 bottle of soap that I put at the kitchen sink that just never totally ran dry. When I got some extra cash my roommate at the time was so eager to throw the bottle away. She couldn’t believe how the thing lasted six months! And the funny thing about the tortillas pack is that once I had money for more groceries, I started noticing the expiration date stamped right on top of the pack, so I finally tossed the still full pack.
Right about that time, a skin condition around my nose and scalp began to flare up. I was not only out of the medicated ointment, but also out of insurance and cash. About four months earlier I had tried to get even a drop out of the bottle, but it was bone dry. I started to toss it into the trash, but for reasons I could not and still cannot explain or understand, I kept the bottle. As the condition worsened, I remembered the bottle, but that remembrance seemed pointless – the bottle was completely empty. Yet, I found it, and applied it to my nose and a drop came out and soothed the irritated skin on my nose. I was so amazed and in awe and grateful for the relief to my red, cracking skin. Over the coming days, I got drop after drop out of the bottle, til I could actually shake the bottle and inside the container. I still have that bottle. I like to go and shake it and just relish the awe of the whole thing.
One day I was wishing for some fresh apples. A friend brought so many apple flats to my roommate that she immediately gave about half of them away I think, because she knew they were far too many for us to eat on our own. We initially kept 3 cardboard flats, but ended up still giving another flat away and simply still did not eat all the apples.
And yes, there were many, many times that I didn’t know where my rent was coming from. For two years all I could find were temporary jobs that typically ended suddenly without warning. I remember one Friday night leaving my job to come home to a phone call that I didn’t need to come back on Monday and I walked into my living room and lifted my arms and my voice to praise God. I didn’t praise God because I was happy, but to show my confidence in His supply and to stand in defiance to the negative emotions that stood eager to consume me. Time and time again I would be several weeks to a month without work. I had already been living lean so I had no savings to cover anything. It always came through differently, but it was only the last time that I asked my parents for help with the rent, every other time, it worked out different ways, different people offered me help without me asking. It often moved me to tears and abrupt, unexpected sobbing to have loving friends step in to help me out as I did my best. I prayed and praised and wept a lot – before and AFTER the answers came. I actually wailed with joy once when I received what was to me a significant answer. I realized then that wailing in joy sounds about the same as wailing for sorrow!
Provision has come a lot of different ways, and they aren’t always obviously supernatural, but I see the hand of God often in helping me.Then there are other times, I never have it on paper or in the bank and I get through. And sometimes I’m eating ramen noodles, but I tell you, often in those places, it’s like the Lord does a work for me on those inexpensive noodles! I have wondered if it’s like what I imagine He did to make manna taste good for the Israelite’s after so many years and so many meals. I have many more stories, but this is a quick list of some of the highlights of the Lord’s provision to me personally the last couple of years.