"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows."
My friend Sarah recently lent me a book called "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. Its a true story of how a Dutchman smuggled thousands of Bibles behind the Iron Curtain through God's guidance and provision. There are many accounts in the book of times when Andy needed money or supplies and no way of getting it. In every one of those instances, God provided. In the Christian community we hear stories like that all the time: "I needed $17.35 and there was exactly $17.35 in my bank account where before there was $0!" or "My car died and so-and-so gave me their car for free!" After hearing several of those stories, its easy to think to yourself, "That's really cool that God's providing!" but we don't let it affect our hearts or the way we live our lives. And then this happened to me...
Monday morning, I was in the kitchen making a batch of much-needed coffee after a long weekend at the CU Annual Conference (which was amazing, by the way) when my doorbell rang. My initial thought was that it must be the postman with a package I'm expecting. Still in my pajamas, I answered the door to see an elderly woman who I didn't know on my doorstep. She smiled and said, "Does an American girl named Sam live here?" Thinking that maybe she was a neighbor who got my package on accident, I replied, "Yes, that's me." She took my hand in both of hers and said, "I'm sorry its not in an envelope" and walked away with a wave and a smile. I looked in my hand and there sat a crumpled 20euro note. I stuttered out a "Thank you" as she walked away, then closed the door and immediately started crying like a baby.
Any little annoyances in my life at that moment seemed so insignificant and trivial. I suddenly had real, tangible evidence of God's provision. He has been providing for me throughout my entire life and that provision has been most obvious during this Relay year where all of my living and ministry expenses are coming from God through my supporters. But here was tangible evidence of the way God speaks, ordains things, intertwines peoples' lives, and works out all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). I don't know who this woman was, how she knew my name, where I lived, or that I needed money, but God knows all of these things and He must have made the way for all of this to happen. Perhaps God spoke to her directly, maybe he used another one of His children to tell her. But whatever the means, God made it happen.
God's provision is just one of the many lessons I've been learning on my Relay year, but its also probably the most significant. My things are not my own (Psalm 50:9-12). Everything comes from God and belongs to God (James 1:17). He provides for His people exactly what they need (2 Kings 4:1-7). We are to live in light of those truths by using our money, possessions, and resources for the good of God's kingdom. Furthermore, we should always listen for God's voice and follow wherever the Spirit leads us no matter how seemingly scary or uncomfortable. He has a reason and purpose for everything, even if you cannot see or understand the effects your faithful actions may have.
I pray that this story doesn't result in an apathetic response on your part but that it does indeed affect your heart and the way you live your life and spend your money. I also pray that I would never forget this incredible moment or become discontent with the things God has so generously given me.
"I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it."