It’s funny how I often think that provision has to occur in a certain way or time. We have been blessed through the years to have seen God provide for us over and over again. Sometimes the provision was a direct answer: the garden produced bountifully and we canned a lot of food, or one of the children needed shoes and we were given shoes in that size by someone who had no idea we needed shoes. A few years ago Lindy needed a camera for school–a really (by our standards) expensive camera–and we did not have the cash. My dad offered to loan us most of the money, but when it came down to it, we were about $130 short. That day I received a check in the mail. Someone had donated almost that exact amount anonymously to the church to give to us. Things like that are always a faith-building thing, and they happen quite often. Whether it is shoes, money, vegetables, or an offer of meat or something else, God always shows up. These things are faith builders–and I know that is the experience of having our faith built up over the past 17 1/2 years that has allowed us to go into this uncertain season of looking for permanent employment without fear.
When the Handy Man and I got married, we were pretty broke. I suppose that is the way with most couples. We had to “creatively finance” our mobile home up here on the mountain, meaning we borrowed the down payment and then had to pay it back along with the mortgage over the next few years. And we did that. Now, after so many years, we are looking at the other end of that spectrum: in a few years (or less) this place will be ours, excepting the taxes the governments demands of us in order for us to keep it, of course. Now the question of provision is not so much the “can we pay our housing bills” sort of thing, but rather all the extras that come with having this many children in the home: how to pay for extra homeschool classes, buying new shoes when they all wear out at the same time, having the cash to buy our co-op grains, etc. And yet, it always works out. We always have what we need, and often what we want, too.
One thing the Handy Man and I have always dreamed about was owning a camper. We like to camp. We haven’t done much camping in the past few years–first I was pregnant or dealing with newborns, and then we had Curious George–but we hope to get back to camping again. We have all the equipment, and I even bought the Handy Man a special coffee pot he can use over the campfire for Christmas a few years ago. This past week, the Handy Man brought home a camper.
It isn’t fancy. It is quite old and needs a few repairs, but he was able to trade some labor for it, and that kind of win-win deal is always welcome here at our house. We haven’t planned our first camping trip yet. Things are still up in the air as far as employment goes, and with our school schedule, it isn’t likely we are going to go camping anytime soon. Perhaps spring break will be our inaugural trip with our new-to-us camper.
The point, though, is that all these years we have dreamed of owning a camper, and the Lord, in His goodness and in His time, provided it. It is neat to look back over the years and remember the unexpected ways God provides. We always thought we would pay off the house, save for a number of years and then buy a camper. I guess we get to look forward to some camping sooner rather than later. And as long as it isn’t Florida in June I really look forward to some nice camping again.
We have learned that the Lord always provides what we need, and sometimes, He also provides what we want. We are so very blessed. Sometimes he even allows us to participate in the provision for someone else, and when that happens, it is really special. I have heard some argue that it isn’t God but people who do the providing. I have heard the rather arrogant assertion that because a man works, he has earned everything himself. All I can say to that is our experience totally belies it. Yes, God uses people–all the time he uses those who are imperfect to do His perfect will–but the people must be willing and available to hear and obey. Sometimes the provision is something you might expect, and sometimes it comes out of the blue. One thing I know for certain, though, is that God will always give His children what they need, and He seldom does it the way we expect it to happen. I like serving the God who loves us that individually and who proves his love for us o’er and o’er, as the hymn says.
And every time we go camping, we will be reminded how much the Lord loves to surprise His children. That should make every camping trip extra special, don’t you agree?