God Provides in Unexpected Ways
"27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:27-31 ESV
When I had only been in ministry for a couple of years. My wife and I, like many young pastor couples, were living hand to mouth; just barely getting by. We spent a lot of time praying for the Lord to help us make ends meet and fix things as they broke. In that challenging season, my 5-year-old daughter needed a crown for one of her teeth. Our dentist offered us a clergy discount, but we still needed to pay a little over $700 for the dental work. That might as well have been a million dollars to us. So, we prayed and asked God to provide for our need. We didn’t burden anyone with our trouble. We just kept it to ourselves and prayed… a lot.
Sunday morning, after preaching, I was about to give the altar call. Without warning, a young lady walked up on the stage and put her hand out for the microphone. I had no idea what was happening, but I was so taken aback, and she seemed so harmless. I just handed the mic to her.
This unassuming, young woman began to speak softly into the microphone. She told the church that as she had been praying the night before the Lord told her to give the pastor a check for a specific amount of money. (In some churches that may be normal, but we weren’t that kind of church.) She then smiled at me and produced the check. It was the cost of my daughter's dental bill to the penny. I was astonished.
At first, I refused the offering. After all, she was a young mom, all of 20 years old, and just as broke as my wife and I were. As I began to hand the check back, the young woman insisted that she had to do it. She said that she had received a large tax return and felt blessed to be a blessing. In that moment, I felt the prompting of the Lord and understood that He was providing in an unexpected way. He was answering our desperate prayers through this young mother. Now, it was up to me to accept the provision through this unexpected source.
It was humbling to take that check. IT WAS HARD! It was like having a mountain top experience and a deep valley experience all at once. I was simultaneously joyous and ashamed, but my wife and I prayed and knew we had to cash the check. We were confident that it was God's provision for us.
The young woman was blessed by being obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and by the sense of being a contributing member of her church. We were blessed by the provision but also by the revelation that part of ministry is humbly living in complete dependence upon God. Bonus blessing: my daughter got a shiny, new, silver tooth.
Thank You, Sarah, for being obedient to God, and acting as a conduit through which He met our need. Wherever you are, your act of faith and the memory of that moment continue to bless us. - Scott