Saturday, August 16, 2014
When we were in Michigan last weekend for our family reunion I decided to go for a walk around the block. That sounds like a nice, leisurely, little stroll but the temps were in the mid-80's and out where our farm is, "around the block" is a five mile hike.
Things started off well but by the time I reached the four mile mark I was already out of water. I was kicking myself for forgetting to wear a hat and put on sunscreen, and as I rounded the corner and beheld the final one-mile stretch with no shade whatsoever, I was already dreading what was to come.
The sun and I don't get along. I had heat stroke once in my 30's and it's not fun. Ever since then I am very susceptible to getting it again and never like to venture out into the sun for prolonged periods of time. I was now looking at at least 20 solid minutes in the glaring August sun.
After a couple hundred feet I was already feeling it. Mouth dry, temples pounding. That's when I noticed a blue object in the ditch, A bandana! It was clean, and brand new. I picked it up and thanked God as I tied it around my neck to keep the sun off of it. Subtle. Yet God had provided exactly what I needed.
The second story of provision is found in the book of 2nd Kings, the fourth chapter.
"Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2 And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.” - 2 Kings 4:1-7
God provided for the widow of one of his servants through Elijah. Amazing! And rather obvious!!
The third story, the story of God's unforeseen provision, began six weeks ago when my father died of pneumonia. He had also suffered with Alzheimer's for years. The story ended yesterday, beginning with a text from a young friend of mine - Katie.
"If you could keep my family in your prayers it would be much appreciated. My aunt passed away this morning."
My young friend and I have been through a lot together. Many late night conversations, we have laughed together and we have cried together and we have prayed together . . . when she surrendered her heart to Jesus. We are very close. I am also close to the rest of her family and now Katie's mom's sister had just died. I felt like I should be there with Katie, so after work I stopped by their house.
Katie's mom came out to greet me when I arrived. "Katie can't come out right now. She's in the shower." So I talked to her mom for a while. She was on the verge of tears as she told me about her sister.
"My sister had cancer . . . and dementia . . . AND pneumonia," she said.
I thought about that for a moment as I listened. Her sister had died from the same basic things that my dad had died of - except for the cancer. It also occurred to me that God didn't want me there to talk with Katie. He wanted me there to talk with Katie's mom. God providing again!!
We talked for 5-10 minutes and then I asked Katie's mom if I could pray for her. She said yes, so I put my arm on her shoulder and I prayed. I believe my words had added meaning For her, and my prayers rang true in her ears, because I had already felt the pain that Katie's mom was feeling. God had provided once again. He provided someone who knew EXACTLY what she was going through, right when she needed it.
It is quite possible that if Katie had been available to talk her mom and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to talk or to pray. But God provided. He always does.
There will be times, when God provides for His children, that we cannot see the things He does or the comfort he distributes in our lives. But if we give ourselves opportunities to reflect on just how great our God is, His provision for us really becomes rather obvious. Take time today to look around as you go. Thank Him for the big things as well as the little things. He is a great God who provides. We should thank Him and give Him praise.