It all started with a bag of clothes.
Or, rather, three bags of clothes. Three totally different bags of clothes from three totally different women, each bag stuffed full of fashionable women’s clothing and given to me during the same one week period. Everything was just my size.
Then there was the phone call. “Cheri, I had a party at my house and no one ate anything. I have a bunch left over. Could you use it?”
“Sure,” I responded, unaware that I was about to receive an abundance of fresh vegetables, a variety of chips and dips, meatballs, cheese, and an incredibly delicious chocolate cake. “This is the best lunch ever!” one of my boys proclaimed as we feasted on the surprise meal.
Later that week, my husband came home with a huge ham and a bag of potatoes. “They said it was too big for them and they wanted our family to have it,” he explained.
“Do you think God’s trying to tell us something?” I finally asked my husband. “Something like ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you?’”
And when my husband reminded me of the check we had received in the mail earlier that week to help with car repairs, I was convinced. God was reminding us in a very tangible way that He had never let us down in the past and He would not let us down now. He would take care of us.
Being in ministry has many rewards – a huge paycheck is not usually one of them. There are times when it can be very tight financially, but God always takes care of His people.
Reflecting on the goodness of God in my own life made me curious about the lives of others. Surely there were other people out there with stories similar to mine . . . other people in ministry who could attest to the fact that God truly takes care of His people.
So I asked. And what happened next turned out to be the most meaningful facebook discussion I have ever been a part of. In the end, all I could do was sit back in amazement at the testimonies of an awesome God who always takes care of His people. After reading the following testimonies (shared with permission) perhaps you will do the same.
“Things are much easier now but the ‘lean’ days and God’s faithfulness is always at the forefront of my mind. I home schooled and was a stay at home mom. There was a time when I was pregnant with our 3rd child that we had no insurance. The church could hardly pay us our salary and sometimes didn’t, and although I taught piano lessons, summer was coming and the day was nearing when our son would be born. We had scrimped and saved enough money to pay the doctor but had no money for the hospital. The doctor, who was a Christian, told us it was time to make a reservation at the hospital for the C-section. We had no money. We had no insurance. We had been tempted to get some Government help but decided we should live by faith. When our doctor found out about the financial situation, he was appalled. He told us about a (government) program and we still drug our feet. But we applied ….. and were rejected. So we proceeded to try to take out a loan, and then got a letter from the government that they changed their mind. Weird….that never happens unless maybe you apply and reapply again and again. But now I needed this card or a certain number to make the reservation at the hospital. Of course we were only a month out from having the baby and everyone told us that the paperwork takes 6 months to process. So we prayed and I just relaxed knowing this baby was going to come one way or another . . .access or not . . . insurance or not . . . money or not. My mother in law took me to the hospital where I had no reservation. We stopped at the mailbox before we left our house. There in the mailbox was the yellow envelope containing the access card with the number needed. When I went to the admitting desk, the guy looked panicked when I told him the story. They had one room in the maternity ward left. He said this was amazing and he had never seen anything like it. God is good! I had a healthy baby boy. . . . now 21 years old…. and studying to go into the ministry!!”
“We live in a rural area, and have been blessed with fresh veggies and canned goods, home-baked goodies, and help with our own ‘rookie’ gardening, canning, and hunting ventures. Many, many years ago, I was laid off from work, and almost out of food. The people who were renting the apartment next door were from Alaska, and couldn’t take the heat in the Deep South. They gave me bags of meat, veggies, and things that they couldn’t take home with them. Unexpected checks and finding a $20 bill in the street are just a couple other examples. No matter how bleak the circumstances look, God always comes through!”
“There was a time when our daughters were little and they needed shoes badly. We had no money to buy shoes. We took our need to God, and Him only. Within a few days there was a check in the mail with a note that said, ‘For the girls’ shoes’. Another time, my husband needed dental work done, and he had not been to the dentist since before we had gotten married. His family dentist was about an hour away at the time. He needed to have two teeth pulled by an oral surgeon. Again, no money to pay. On the way home, both of us were praying about it. He took the babysitter home and when he came back to the house, I was sitting at the kitchen table, crying. A letter had been in the mail with a check from friends who felt God impressed them to send us this money. It was enough to pay the oral surgeon, the dentist, and gas for two trips back and forth the hour’s distance.”
“This story is about an evangelist who lived in our area when we lived in the country. They were on very limited income as well. We would call each other with statements like, ‘I’ve got buns, do you have any hot dogs?’ and we would get together and share. But what impressed me about the wife is that she would periodically go through her closets and give away clothes… NICE clothes. She would have her children do the same. And within one to two days there would be a bag or box of new clothes on her doorstep. She said she didn’t know who they came from. That happened over and over.”
“God has provided for us in some dramatic ways: once, He “healed” a hole in our water holding tank for our well (water was shooting through the hole onto the wall. When we went to assess what needed to be done the next morning, the hole was GONE!), our vehicle died and we had no funds to replace it and a couple had God lay on their hearts to *give* us a nice vehicle that lasted us for at least five years. Probably the thing that spoke to us most about how much God cares about the littlest details is when my hubby was out of work, and we were beyond ‘broke’. I decided we needed a little cheer in our day and decided to splurge and bake a cake from what we had left, and used the last of our cocoa and flour in the process. I had also put out our last bar of soap that morning, and put the last roll of toilet paper on the spool. After we ate dinner (and cake!), we went to Wednesday night church: we had only enough gas to get to church, but not home. We knew we needed to go: we both were teaching classes that night, I had to lead worship practice, & the boys had Rangers. After church was over a lady came up to me and said, “Do you have enough gas to get home?” Only God!! THEN, another lady came up to me and said, ‘I need you to stop by my house on your way home from church tonight.’ We did. She met me at the door and said, ‘I felt I needed to do this, but I’ve never had anything quite like this happen: God told me to get these things together for you, and it is just a WEIRD collection!’ We carried several bags of groceries and miscellaneous items into our house and set them in the kitchen floor, and our boys began to help us unpack them. Our youngest said, ‘Mom, God gave us a miracle!‘ Yes, He did. And not only did he give us gas money to get home, and groceries, but among those things in the bags were a container of cocoa, flour, two bars of soap, and toilet paper! You can’t tell this lady God doesn’t care about every single detail of our lives, big and small!”
“I grew up in a household of 6, my parents were inner city missionaries and we saw God come through over and over. One time in particular, we had nothing in the fridge except ice and light. Someone knocked on the door and left bags of groceries at the doorstep. To this day we have no idea who did that. Now I am married to an associate pastor with 3 kids and we find ourselves in the same boat financially. I remember one Sunday we had $50 in our bank account and no food for dinner. We decided to give that $50 to the Lord. We went to church and someone gave us a check for $50 and someone else had a trunk full of frozen chicken that they gave to us.”
“My husband is a pastor. We have very limited insurance on our daughter. Two years ago she started to have some health issues that are still left unsolved, nothing life threatening. We carried her to several doctors, including specialists. The bills were mounting up and we did not have the extra money to pay for them. I had one office automatically send our bill to collections which upset me badly. I prayed and cried out for help. The very next day I received a personal bill from his office with ‘Paid in Full’ written in his handwriting. I called the office and the lady in the billing department said it was correct. She said the funny thing about it, is that he has never done it before. He came in that morning, told her to pull our bill. He told her he was awakened in the night and told to do this! I cried and told the woman it was God answering my prayers. She said yes it was and to pray for that doctor because he was not a believer.”
Let me say it again, GOD ALWAYS TAKES CARE OF HIS PEOPLE!!!
Weary, worried servant . . . rest in Him. He knows your needs better than you do. He will not let you down. If He knows how to clothe the grass of the field, which is alive today and is tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
And He might just use three totally different bags of clothes from three totally different women in the process.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).