Thursday, April 08, 2004

Miraculous Provision

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
~ Matthew 6:25-27

The other night I was watching “It’s a Miracle” on PAX TV – a half hour program hosted by Roma Downey – and they shared the story about a woman who had been recently divorced and was struggling to make ends meet. One Thanksgiving morning she awoke feeling desperate and afraid because she only had two hot dogs left to feed herself and her two little boys. But she wanted to try to make the day as special as possible, so they all went to the park and had a cookout. On their way home, the boys were complaining that they were still hungry. Then, just as they were climbing the stairs to their apartment, a kind little old lady emerged from the apartment below. “Sweetie,” the woman said, “I’ve prepared a Thanksgiving meal and I’d like to invite you and your boys to join me.” The young family was overjoyed by the invitation. Once they entered the apartment, they couldn’t believe their eyes. The table was beautifully set with a complete Thanksgiving feast. They enjoyed the turkey with all the trimmings, and the woman even sent them home with enough leftovers to last for a week.

The true magnitude of the miracle wasn’t realized until a few days later when the young mother went to the woman’s apartment to return her leftover dishes. When nobody answered the door, she peeked in the window and was astonished to see that the apartment was completely empty. She went straight to the landlord’s apartment to inquire about the woman in the downstairs apartment. The landlord seemed bewildered as he explained that the apartment had been vacant for over two months.

“In all my 57 years,” the woman explained, “that hour and a half of unconditional love changed my life more than any other single event.”
As a result of her experience, the woman decided to devote her life to working with the homeless and went on to win a presidential award for her work.


There is a similar story of miraculous provision in one of my favorite books, Where Angels Walk by Joan Wester Anderson. In September of 1944, Kenneth Ware and his wife Suzie were living in Switzerland with their son when they found themselves penniless. So Suzie decided to pray very specifically. She told God that she needed “…five pounds of potatoes, two pounds of pastry flour, apples, pears, a cauliflower, carrots, veal cutlets for Saturday, and beef for Sunday.”

Just a few hours later Suzie heard a knock on their door. When she answered it, she saw a man standing in the doorway carrying a basket of groceries. He was between thirty and forty years old, “…over six feet tall and strong looking, with blue eyes, white-blond hair, and a long blue apron over his work clothes.” He seemed radiant and glowing.

“Mrs. Ware,” the gentleman announced, “I’m bringing you what you asked for.”

“There must be some mistake,” Suzie replied. “I have not ordered anything.” She thought perhaps he had come to the wrong apartment.

The man ignored her question and repeated his former statement. “I am bringing what you asked for.” Then he walked back to the kitchen and emptied the basket. There on the table were the exact items Suzie had requested from God that very morning. She was in utter shock.

“I turned to apologize, to explain that I hadn’t a coin to give him, but his look of reproach sealed my lips.”


Throughout our lifetime, Keen and I have seen God miraculously provide for our needs time and time again. Back in 1979, when Keen was working for the Wabaunsee County Weed Department and his take home pay was only $688.00/month, it wasn’t easy to make the money stretch. Just a few days before I was due to deliver our firstborn child, I was crying at the kitchen table, wondering how we were going to make it. It was only the 7th day of the month and after paying all of our bills, we were already out of money. So Keen told me to repeat this one Bible verse over and over. “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory.” (Philippians 4:19) It wasn’t easy, but I did it.

This time God chose my mother to be His angel on earth. When Mom arrived to help care for Jared, she noticed the bare cupboards and graciously filled them.
Here’s a poem I wrote to thank Mom for everything she did for us that week.

The day you left, Keen and I prayed,
and asked the Lord to show us a way
That we could show you how we appreciate
All you did for us during your stay.

You gave me security in my newfound role,
You built my confidence day by day.
Just knowing you were in the next room, Mom
Made all my fears go away.

You cooked all our meals and washed all our clothes,
You did dishes from morning till night;
You showed me how to give Jared a bath,
So now I’m doing it right.

You bought us many groceries, which we surely did need,
And with them you kept us well fed;
And on those mornings when I needed my rest,
You even brought me breakfast in bed!

You helped me burp Jared, when my arms grew so weary,
And you cleaned him up when he messed;
You stayed up with me for those late night feedings,
Mom, you were just the best!
You bought us all those things at K-Mart that day,
And you even cleaned our house.
I couldn’t have done it without you, Mom
For I was as weak as a mouse.

We can’t fail to mention all the joy that you brought us,
Just by your company;
One night we watched a Snoopy special,
And the next night we played Monopoly.

You “oohed and ahhed” over Jared all day,
Just like a grandma should do;
You made us so proud of our little son,
That we even chimed in, too.

You took us to dinner for chicken that night,
What a treat for both Keen and me;
It was just such fun having you, Mom,
You were a part of our family.

Although you did many other things,
I think we will close it here,
By saying we love you and thank you, Mom,
To our hearts you will always be dear.

In the Old Testament there is a story about a widow woman who was down to her last little bit of oil and flour. She entreated the prophet Elisha to help her, lest her sons be sold into slavery to satisfy her debts. Elisha instructed the woman to borrow as many vessels as she could from all her neighbors and start filling them with oil. Miraculously, the oil multiplied until all the vases were full.

“Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay your debt, and you and your sons live on the rest.” ~ II Kings 4:1-7

That reminds me of the New Testament story about Jesus multiplying the loaves and the fishes to feed the multitudes. Sometime later, the disciples once again became worried about how they were going to feed the crowds. Jesus said:

“Do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many small hand baskets you gathered? Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many large provision baskets you took up?”
~ Matthew 16:8-10

In closing, I’d like to share a story which talks about the way God supernaturally provided for Moses and the Israelites in the desert.

"I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out upon you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.... that you might recognize and know [your dependence on Him who is saying], I am the Lord your God."
~ Deuteronomy 29:5, 6b

After escaping from slavery in Egypt, Moses and the Israelites journeyed in the desert for forty years. According to the Quartermaster General in the Army, Moses would have needed 1500 tons of food and 11,000,000 gallons of water each day to provide for the needs of 2 -3 million people. God alone provided their needs by sending manna from Heaven and water from the flinty rock. Then they had to cross the Red Sea, which required a pretty major miracle right there. Moses couldn’t possibly have thought all this out before he left Egypt. He simply obeyed God’s command and told Pharaoh to let his people go; then he trusted God with all the details.

If God provided for all their needs forty years in the wilderness, then He is more than able to take care of all of our needs, too.

“…He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake you nor let you down, relax My hold on you. Assuredly not!”

~ Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified)