by Jana Carlson
I’d been feeding my kids popcorn for supper and chocolate cake for breakfast. Not for fun, but because it’s all we had.
A perfect storm of circumstances – everything from unemployment to an international recession to a deceitful accountant – had put our family into a place of extreme financial difficulty.
Believing In God’s Faithfulness
It didn’t take long for us to realize that this was a potentially life-changing opportunity to grow in our faith. We’d had financial challenges before, but we’d always had some form of seemingly secure income. This time, God removed every possible form of income we could count on.
We decided to take God at His Word. In Genesis 22, God is revealed as Our Provider. In Philippians 4:19, He promises to supply all our needs. If God will meet all your needs, there’s no cause for worry.
It wasn’t easy. It was an hourly exercise. We had to constantly remind ourselves and each other of who God is and what His Word tells us. We had to encourage our hearts with Truth.
Some days we literally did not know how we’d feed our kids. We were trusting God for our “daily bread”.
And He was faithful. Not a day went by that food wasn’t on the table or bills were not paid.
I kept a diary of God’s provision for us during that season in an old school notebook I called “Stones of Remembrance”. It is a delight to go through it and see line after line of God surprising us and blessing us with, not only our needs, but unexpected and undeserved gifts.
Some might think it inappropriate to share with children the desperation we were in at the time. We did the opposite. Sharing our needs with our children brought us together as a family and gave them an opportunity to join with us in prayer and see how God answered.
Along with food, we all needed some winter clothing. We prayed about that. Not more than a week later, a box showed up through the mail from total strangers. It contained wool socks, snow pants, and even a pair of brand-new boots that fit!
Another time, we received a package from a completely different set of strangers full of non-perishable food items. It fed us for nearly a week.
The joy on the faces of our children in those miraculous moments was priceless. There were many of those moments.
When You Need to Know God will Meet all Your Needs
The Faithfulness of God
God is true to His Word. Sometimes, we jump in too soon when we think He’s not going to come through for us. We trust in our own timing, ideas, or resources. But God never fails us.
Our motto during that season was often, “If we need it, God will bring it. If He doesn’t provide it, we don’t actually need it.”
There was discomfort. “Making do”. Fixing broken zippers and eating junk food for meals and giving homemade gifts. Our kids got used (and free) ice skates and dress-up clothes for Christmas that year. (They loved it!) We became creative and resourceful.
If God didn’t provide what we thought we needed, He provided us with inspiration to work with what we had.
Our Wilderness = The Place of Blessing
God’s Word emphasizes humility as a prerequisite for much of God’s blessing (Matthew 5:3-10; James 4:6; Luke 14:11; Proverbs 22:4; Proverbs 18:12).
When we are in a position of complete and utter reliance on Him, we’re in the perfect position to see Him work in ways we’ve not experienced before. When we can’t do anything more, He shows His power and His glory by doing the impossible.
It’s the Gospel in action. We need a Savior. We don’t deserve one. Jesus is that Savior. We need only to recognize our need of Him, accept His gift of grace, and we are free from our bondage.
God Gives Good Gifts
It was hard to receive some of the gifts we were given during that time. We felt we didn’t deserve them. Some of our hardship was due to mistakes or unwise choices we had made. Why should anyone give us anything? We felt it was our own responsibility to dig ourselves out of the pit.
But the heart of God is to bless His children. He knows we are imperfect humans, yet He delights in us anyway! He loves to care for us and meet our needs, but He also loves to surprise us with more than we expect. He’s a loving, generous Father who gives good gifts. He is a God of boundless grace (1 Peter 5:7; James 1:17; Ephesians 3:20).
Grateful For The Struggle
It was the poorest time in our lives, but it was the richest. We had the least, but we gained treasures beyond measurable value.
Our family grew closer to each other, but more importantly, our faith grew. God’s Word came alive to us in a way that would have been impossible without our desperate circumstances.
Because of that impossible trial, I can pray in faith (James 1:6) for God’s provision today. I have stories to tell others to encourage them in their own time of need (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). The blessings of that season of hardship continue in my life and have rippled out into the lives of others.
Our God is a good God. He is faithful. Trust Him.
Jana has an unquenchable passion for inspiring women to know God’s living and active Word and apply it to their lives. She blogs at Wield The Word. Connect with Jana on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.