1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
Exodus 16:12 NKJV
Exodus 16:22-26 NKJV
Exodus 17:5-6 NKJV
Philippians 4:19 NKJV
God is our provider.
For some unknown reason, God has seemed to place me in unusual circumstances at various times of my life.
I grew up in a metropolitan city and I lived there for thirty years.
We did youth ministry for a few years in a local church. It was a paid position, but was part time.
We had been asking and waiting for God to open doors to Pastor a church or lead some other kind of ministry. That door opened when a small church in a remote rural area called for an interview. We were prepared to answer all manner of theological and spiritual questions but once we were with the committee, there was only one question.
One of the men asked, “can I wear my overalls to church?”
The question came at a time when most of the men in churches we attended wore suits.
The man was immediately told he can wear whatever he has to wear. He said that was good because all he had was overalls.
As it turned out, we learned that day that God knows us better than we know and He provides everything we need. That first congregation was the sweetest and most solid group of people we could have hoped for. The people in that congregation were always understanding and gracious when my two youngest children were unruly in church (and believe me, there were trying times). They gave us grace.
We often think of God’s provision as being for our physical needs, but it reaches far beyond the physical. In that place, we found love and grace. While it was still a part-time position, we were able to have time to preach and minister in a safe place. What we needed was love and acceptance for who God made us to be. We thought we were ready to Pastor a large congregation in a city, but that wasn’t what we needed.
In Philippians 4:19-20 Paul wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Our next stop was to Pastor a full-time church in a small town in Northeast Missouri. We were there for ten years. Our daughter graduated from high school when we were there. She met the man she would marry.
The questions and issues we faced were much more difficult.
As a Pastor’s wife I faced many trials. I felt like I was always saying and doing the wrong thing, I’d never lived in a small town where everyone knew everything and everyone. I was told more than once that I was an outsider and I would always be an outsider because they knew I would eventually move on. In the beginning I felt like I didn’t belong there. Looking back, I should have ignored the comments and just loved them. I learned I didn’t need to worry about “fitting in” because He had called me to love people despite what they said or did.
Eventually, I was able to find my niche in children’s ministry and church choir. I’d forgotten how much I loved singing in a choir. While we were there I also had the opportunity to work for the county newspaper and eventually became Editor of the weekly publication. I learned more from that job about people than I could learn in the classroom. Still, my desire was to eventually be able to return to college to finish my degree. We lived close enough to Columbia, Missouri for me to drive to school. I graduated from the University of Missouri just before my daughter graduated from high school.
By the time we left that place my children were mostly grown. It had truly been a safe place for them to live and thrive. It was a good place to serve and learn how to love others.
In I Corinthians 10:13, we learn “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
I lost my dad when I lived there. I’ll never forget the night of my dad’s visitation when I looked up and saw nearly every deacon walk into the funeral home that night. They will never know what that meant to me. They drove 5 hours to get there and 5 hours to go home. That moment was the only thing I remember about that night. Maya Angelo once wrote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” They made me feel loved and included.
After I lost my dad God provided a place and a way for me to grow up.
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness God provided bread, meat, and water.
God told Moses in Exodus 16:12, “Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ” in the desert where there was no meat, God provided meat.
Then God provided bread, not only for six days, but for the seventh day. In Exodus 16:22-26 we learn, “And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’ ” So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” See, they were told to only gather enough bread for that day and when they tried to gather extra it spoiled in the night. But on the 6th day when they gathered enough bread for the Sabbath, it did not spoil. God provided what they needed even on the Sabbath.
Then, in the desert they had no water so in Exodus 17:5-6, “the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
For forty years God provided everything they needed.
What do you believe you need today? It’s been my experience that not only did God provide what I thought I needed, He provided what I really needed, and there was a difference.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: what you Need
Tell God what you need and ask God to provide what you really need. Wait and watch for God’s response.
In God, Deborah