Ever notice how many times in the Bible the history of God’s provision for Israel is rehearsed? It’s something God meant for His people to do to remind them that when they met difficulty in the past, God was there but also to encourage them that when they met difficulty in the future, He would be there.
Over our 25 years of marriage, we have seen much of God’s provision. But this week, I find I need reminding. And so I am here to publicly rehearse some of God’s provision in our lives. Like Paul, I can say we have known need and we’ve known plenty. God has not only provided for us, but He has grown our faith and taught us contentment. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest condensed version.
- We got married, both full time students. Yes, our parents and grandparents helped us out, but only to provide for our needs, not to keep us in a lavish lifestyle. I distinctly remember my $20 a week grocery budget during that year and half until I landed my first full time job. Yes, things were cheaper 25 years ago, but $20 still wasn’t much!
- We both got out of school and were working. But that didn’t mean we were on our way up. In fact, we were farther in the hole with student loans–and a baby on the way. Our income went down when I quit work but those loan payments remained the same.
- We bought a house. Put the appliances on credit card, propelling us into our first and last tangle with credit card debt. Not fun. But it taught us a lesson we’ve never forgotten: wait.
- More babies. Less money. But we got the student loans paid off! Only wait–then God called my husband to leave his job with his secure income and forge his own law practice. Yep. Three whole months with nothing. Nada. (Thankfully, the Lord had prompted me to lay in a supply of peanut butter!)
- His practice grew. We moved to a bigger house, bought a car, took a vacation. Life was good. Then He asked us to put our kids in private school. Three of them. Would we sacrifice? We would.
- We moved into a smaller, 40-something year old house to better manage with college looming. We settled in, even saved a little. Things would be fine. Then hubby’s dream job came along. With a non-profit. And one kid already in college, two others headed there soon. (Even good things can be a financial challenge!) He took the job.
- An entire AC/heating system to be replaced? Enter my first advance from my first ever book contract. Two in college, one in private high school? Car issues? Other house issues? Somehow there is just enough, even when we don’t see how.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m not, really. I’m telling myself. This past weekend, we came home to two flooded bathrooms and drains backed up through half the house. After a treasure hunt by the plumber to find the front clean outs, we discovered them more than a foot underground, one never having been capped. Yep. Roots. But more than that, damage that must be fixed, the fixing of which starts a domino effect of things that must be done. Must. No longer “that would be nice.” Now a need to prevent even bigger issues. Did I mention we’ll have three in college next year???
When I opened my Bible the day after paying the plumber and knowing there would be more to come, the next chapter on my reading plan was Genesis 22. In my Bible the chapter titles are blank for me to fill them in. Long ago I had written “God Will Provide” in that space. As I read again His provision for Abraham–and ultimately for us–I remembered this litany of how God provided for us from 1987 to 2012. Can I doubt 2013 will be any different?