I was just reading a blog post over at The Mustard Seed Budget, and it brought to mind a wonderful story from my childhood that taught me that God knows your need before you even know it yourself; and that it is His delight to provide for His children.
I was about five years old. We had moved from southern Minnesota to Minneapolis so my dad could attend Northwestern Bible College. It was 1952. Dad had a part-time job in an auto body shop, and Mom worked full time at a bank in the city. It was much harder, I know now, than I realized at the time. I didn’t know that we were poor. It just wasn’t something I worried about.
I remember on this particular evening that my mom came home from work very tired. As she went into the kitchen of our apartment, I heard cupboard doors opening and closing, and expected to hear and smell other indications that supper was on the way. The next thing I remember is hearing my mom crying, and my dad going into the kitchen. There were very low voices, and I heard Mom’s continued crying. I remember creeping closer to the kitchen door–in those days, there was often a door between the kitchen and the next room. Yes, she was crying, and Dad was trying to comfort her.
I heard her say, “Johnny, there’s nothing to eat, and we don’t have any money to go to the store!” More murmuring, and then I scurried away from the door as I heard their footsteps nearing.
Dad called my sister and me into the living room. He said we needed to pray right then, because we needed food and there wasn’t money to buy any. I distinctly remember getting down on my knees beside the big grey sofa with red threads running in a pattern; I remember my mom’s crying as Dad began to pray.
As he prayed, I became aware of a noise–quite a lot of noise–in the hallway of our apartment building. The next thing we knew, the doorbell was ringing, someone was knocking, and there were voices that I recognized!
Dad got up to open the door, and we all followed him. Standing there with their arms full of bags and boxes were several members of the family from Fairmont, Minnesota, that had “adopted” us into their family while we lived there and attended their church. One of the adult daughters had been burdened early that morning that John and June weren’t doing well and needed some encouragement. She called her parents and siblings, all farm families, and they raided their pantries, root cellars, and freezers; they also brought a variety of other household goods that I don’t even clearly remember. Seems like there were some pots and pans, tablecloths, maybe dishes. I’m not sure.
They stood at our door, laughing at our astonishment, and I remember someone saying, “Well, aren’t you going to invite us in?”
What a party we had that night! They filled our refrigerator and our cupboards. We didn’t have a freezer, so I don’t know if one of the neighbors helped out or how we handled that. I just remember, far more than having a full tummy, that suddenly in the middle of our prayer, a very solemn moment, here came these people who loved us and that we loved so much, providing all we needed and so much more.
What a wonderful way for a little girl to learn Jeremiah 33:3. “Call unto Me, and I will answer thee; and show thee great and mighty things thou knowest not.”
And Matthew 6:8. “. . . for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”
Sixty years later, I still love this story. God has never failed to provide. Ever.