It’s amazing how God provides in mysterious ways! Just last week we saw God provide for our oldest son, Uno’s need for clothes. He, being the oldest, usually is the one that we buy new clothes for even if they are just “new” to him from the thrift stores. Our daughters have been provided for from about five different families in our church and we have tubs of clothes in our garage waiting for them to be old enough to wear them. Uno, however, has a pair of winter boots, a couple of shirts, and maybe a few other miscellaneous items in his tub…until now!
A month ago when I was packing up the winter clothes and getting out the summer clothes I noticed he was down to the bottom of his tub with all the winter clothes he had worn this year going into the tub for our second son, Dos. It would remind you of how the widow woman who Elijah saw felt when she noticed she was down to the bottom of the barrel with her meal and oil that morning. I began praying and telling God about Uno’s need and asking Him to provide.
We thought nothing of it when we were on our way to find some jeans at the store when my husband mentioned something to our neighbors that were outside. “Oh, we’re just going out to buy some clothes for our son before we head out on vacation,” my husband said. Then, bam! What do you know, God prompts the neighbor lady to go inside and bring us something…
When we returned from the store the doorbell rang and as we swung open the door, there she was with her arms stacked high, almost higher than her face, with boy clothes! God’s answer to my prayers was right there. She has two older boys that had outgrown the clothes and they were sitting in their garage waiting to be given away to charity. Well, God’s charity was shining down upon us when He provided so much!
When God provides so generously I am always reminded of the verse that my mother would quote to my sisters and I as children,
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38.
I can’t count the times that God has impressed on my heart to give away our children’s clothes. There have been times when Uno had outgrown clothes and Dos had not grown into them yet (they are 18 months apart) and God has burdened my heart for a single mother that needed clothes for her children. I have gone in and taken a majority of the clothes and given them to that mother. I can’t help it, I just feel like sometimes it’s a waste to have things sitting in storage when they can be used for someone else’s child.
If Jesus came back tomorrow would I wish that I had obeyed when He had placed that burden on my heart? That’s why when I’m impressed to give I do… I want to be obedient.
When we see God’s principles work, like when we give away clothes and then we receive clothes for our children, then we cannot question the principle outlined in Luke 6:38. The clothing stacked up in our neighbor’s arms were the evidence of “pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” He now has clothes up to size 14 when he wears size 7. Whether they will be in style in 7 years may be a different story!
If I could encourage you in one way through this testimony it would be, do not doubt God’s ability to keep track. He repays all things, whether good or bad. It’s been said many times that God is never a debtor. While we should give without expectation of receiving, we should be looking for God’s provisions and being thankful for them. The times we hold back and give begrudgingly are times we rob ourselves of abundant blessings!
Even ministry women, that are on a budget, with little to give can find themselves in a battle of generosity vs. holding on to their substance while on their knees praying to God to meet their needs. Remember God’s Word says in II Corinthians 9:6-8,
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
God not only loves a cheerful giver, He provides abounding grace for you to be able to “abound to every good work.” In other words, He gives you plenty of grace to do plenty of good toward others. He will prompt your heart to give. Then, in time He gives back to you. If you recognize His abundant blessings and glorify Him for it, then you will have a story to tell just like we do.
The next blessing you can give is sharing with your children how He has provided and He cares for them by answering your prayers. They need to know He cares about the needs they have. When you share stories like these, you are not only exercising your faith, you are passing it on to the next generation. You are setting up stones for them to look back on and to see and remind them when they need to trust again, that God has come through in the past and He will do it again.
When God provides and answers our prayers it becomes a stepping stone of faith that leads us to the next step.
- Will we trust God to provide the next need?
- Will we be waiting in anticipation to see how He does it differently this time?
- Will we spread the praise to those around us?
Our neighbors are unbelievers that God worked through. That is nothing short of a miracle. You just never know how God will come through! He is so good!