Friday, September 13, 2013

"In the Fire..." ~Matthew 6:25-34

        Thinking today about how God provides.
     I learned this lesson as a young wife and mother.  Times were hard.  Money was scarce.  We stopped at a lot of garage sales in those days.  We clipped coupons.  Patched tires.  Lived paycheck to paycheck.  Things weren’t always easy.  In fact, they rarely were.   I spent a lot of time on my knees, making sure God knew what bills were due and what our account balance was.  Just in case He didn’t.
     Perhaps the greatest lesson I ever learned is that in fact, He did.  He knew exactly.  We made it.  Day by day.  Week by week.  Month by month.  We rarely had plenty but we always had enough.  God knew our young family’s needs and He filled them.  It made all the difference.   I knew  Jehovah Jireh, my Provider.  
      Later, as a single mom, it was a lesson I was determined to teach my three children.  In good times and bad, our God knows our needs.  He meets them day by day.  So many times I couldn’t understand how we would make it till the next payday.  But we did.  Struggle made me stronger.  I worked harder.  Day by day.  Week by week. Month by month.  I began to think I could make it on my own.  I began to feel relief.  And a little pride in my ability to provide all by myself.
     And then the unthinkable happened.  As we scratched and struggled through a long hot summer, tragedy struck.  I got a call at work saying our house was on fire.  By the time I got there it was engulfed.  Hours later, we owned just the clothes on our backs.  The contents weren’t insured.  I couldn’t afford the extra insurance.  I had three kids and less than $100 to my name.  No where to go.  No food.  No clothes. I was at the bottom of the barrel.  The end of the line.  The lowest of the low.  Nowhere to turn.  No one to turn to.  Except Johovah Jireh.
      My children looked to me with fearful and questioning eyes…and I looked to God.
I remember sitting in the yard of my home, covered in black soot, feeling sick and empty.  I will never forget the smell of our belongings burning.  I thought about the pride that I had felt in the past few years in my ability to provide for my kids.  The pride when they went to bed with full bellies and clean clothes.  I thought about how hard I had struggled to pay the bills, to keep gas in the car, to mow my yard.  I thought about the two jobs I was working.  How so many nights I had cried myself to sleep, tired and scared, but knowing I was making it on my own.  And how everything we owned, everything I had poured my blood, sweat and tears into for almost twenty years, was gone in a few hours time.  I felt like God had knocked the wind out of me.
      As I sat in that yard watching my last hope burn to the ground, I felt Him whispering in my ear that I had not done any of it.  I had not held things together.  I had not had things under control.    He had and, in fact, He still did.  The fire was a reminder of a lesson I will never again forget.  It is all His.  He is My Provider.  Day by day.  Month by month.  Year by year.
     In the following days and weeks, my children saw Him provide every morsel of food we ate, every piece of clean clothing we wore.  God used his people to carry us through the wilderness.  Out of the ashes came some of the biggest blessings of our lives.  Some of the most important lessons of our lives.  My children met Jehovah Jireh in the flames.  Our Provider.
     It was a long road back.  Many years have passed since those days.  But I have never forgotten that my possessions on earth are temporary.  There are things I cried over losing.  My children’s baby pictures, my Grandma’s quilts and wedding ring, so many memories.  Things you take for granted until they are gone.  
      But the things I gained in the fire are greater.  A belief in the goodness of people,  a compassion for those in need, a broken heart for those who have no where left to turn.  And mostly, a closer trust in my Provider.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
     I don’t worry so much anymore about my bills, or what clothes I wear, or the car I drive.  I don’t worry about what I will eat or what house I will live in.  I learned where my treasure is when I was sitting in that yard watching the flames.  I know my God will Provide.  I know Jehovah Jireh.  
And that changes everything.

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