I love talking to people with a strong faith talk about different things that God has provided for them when resources were slim and needs were high.
Like the story from Great Grandpa: They needed wood to keep their cabin warm, and they had no wood. A prayer was prayed asking for a miracle. Minutes later, there was a knock at the door, and when they opened the door, nobody was there... except a pile of wood. It was snowing, and there were no footprints anywhere around the door or the pile of wood. An absolute miracle.
If you were in that situation, would you have prayed for a miracle, and believed God would provide?
Or would you have fretted about how you had no wood? Check.
Recently, I have been asking my God to stretch my faith so that I would pray prayers like that one.
In our first year of marriage, when we were both still in college, I prayed specific prayers like that a LOT, because, well, the needs were HIGH. And the resources were LOW. Really low. Like our entire monthly budget back then was less than our current mortgage payment kind of low.
And God provided:
The money to buy a computer - boom. It was there.
Incredible health insurance at a very low cost - there is no way health plans like that even exist anymore. And little did we know, we'd be needing it for some rather extensive medical bills that year.
A computer chair we had prayed for - a broken but fixable chair showed up in the hallway.
And at the end of our first year of marriage, a place to live AND work - all in one, God provided an apartment manager position for us.
Not to mention that whole first year of marriage our entire budget was like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I remember we tried to sit down and make a budget, but whenever we did, we always ended up with more expenses than we did income. Writing out a budget never worked. But we always had enough money to pay our bills. I remember us scratching our heads and saying, "how has this been working??" We never ever, not once went in the red.
And it's almost like our faith didn't take any human faith. God gave it to us freely. It was a no-brainer. "Well, of course God will provide!" Like, duh! I really honestly do not remember ever being stressed about money at all back then.
Except for the time I forgot to deposit a check and I overdrafted our bank account and had to pay $25 for one overdraft. That was stressful. That was my entire week's budget for food!! I remember that SO clearly. Anyhoo.
Then we both graduated and were a double-income-no-kids family, with NO rent (we managed an apartment complex, Matt was starting to get music gigs, and I worked full-time), and we had plenty of money. Suddenly I wasn't praying for provision or miracles because God was providing the resources through our jobs. How easy it is to forget that the provision is still coming from God. We got into an easy, comfortable time.
Once we had a mortgage payment, and then kids, and I cut way back on my work hours, we were living mostly on Matt's self-employment income. Which you all know is rock-solid and never fluctuates (HA!). So the game of trusting and praying and fretting began again. It's a game we've played for 6 years.
Sometimes we're good at it, relying on the trust and prayer. Sometimes we're not so good at it, relying on the fretting.
What we're relying on the fretting to do, I do not know. Let me know if you come up with a good outcome of fretting. So far I haven't come up with anything.
Several weeks ago, Lysa TerKeurst had a great story on her blog about a huge prayer of faith, and the miraculous outcome. I felt a spark in my heart, a little poke of the Holy Spirit, saying "I have all of this waiting for you, and more... just trust me". It really inspired me to begin to pray, "What should I be trusting you for, Lord? What am I holding on to that is rightfully yours?"
So, can you believe that all of THAT was a prelude for my story? Congratulations if you got this far!
We're having a foreign exchange student stay with us beginning in a few weeks, and we needed to have a desk and a bed in her room. Neither of which we own. Neither of which we really have room in the budget for at the moment. I prayed about it. A simple, seemingly selfish, not at all "spiritual" prayer. "Lord, we need a desk and a bed. Will you help us find them inexpensively?"
So I was looking on Craigslist, and searched "desk". That's it. Talk about a broad search.
The first, most recent listing that came up had been posted only 10 minutes earlier. It was a posting for a "FREE retro 50's desk". The desk was in this person's alley waiting to be hauled away.
The address of the house was 3 blocks away from my house. 3 blocks. I couldn't believe it. Within 20 minutes, we had loaded a very functional, large desk into our van! 3 blocks away! And the price? FREE!
It gets better. While we were waiting to load up the car and go pick it up, I got a call from my friend Sarah, and upon telling her what we were doing, and mentioning that we were looking for a bed also, she said, "Oh! My mom has a twin size matress and box spring that she wants to get rid of. What do you need?"
"Uh... a twin size matress and box spring. How much does she want for them?"
"Nothing. She says it's free!"
Woo. Hoo. !!!!!
One "selfish" prayer. And a wee bit of faith.
And one morning, within 20 minutes of each other, God provided a desk. And a bed. Not inexpensively, as I had requested. Better than I had requested. FREE.
"...him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think..." Ephesians 3:20
I don't want to over-spiritualize this, either, because it's not about a desk and a bed. God is far more interested in what's going on in my heart than he is in a bed or a desk.
But that's kind of my point. I am reminded about both the awesome power AND the personal care that the God of the Universe has taken on ME, little old ME and my cares and requests.
I believe that God impressed on me to pray that prayer- SO that he could provide far more abundantly than all I asked or thought- in order that I would see Him and praise Him.
Because that's just what He's like.
So, I'm asking it again. "What should I be trusting you for, Lord?"