Remember the poem about Old Mother Hubbard? The poor dear peered into her cupboards one day and, to her dismay, discovered them bare. I felt the same despair one autumn afternoon when I opened our fridge.
Our family had followed God’s call to Quadra Island, British Columbia. There my husband volunteered as Camp Homewood’s program director for a one-year internship. During that time, he earned no income. We survived on a dwindling savings account and the government’s monthly child tax benefits. When the camp director asked us to join fulltime staff, he gave us the go-ahead to raise support through donations.
We began fundraising and people responded. Little by little, our monthly support increased. Then came the mail strike. With the postal system processing no private mail, our donors’ cheques could not reach us. Writing a newsletter to inform our database of our plight was impossible thanks to the strike, so we prayed and prayed some more. But before long, our cupboards, freezer and fridge resembled Mother Hubbard’s.
One morning I peered into the fridge and realized I needed to buy staples such as milk and eggs. Trouble was, my wallet was bare, too. To make matters worse, several weeks prior we’d invited a family of five for dinner on a particular day, and that day had arrived. What would I feed them? Thankfully a small package of ground beef lay in the bottom of my freezer. I cooked and mixed it with macaroni, asking God to miraculously expand it to feed 10 people.
The casserole was still baking when our dinner guests arrived. I stepped outside to greet them. And what to my wondering eyes did appear? Grocery bag upon grocery bag stuffed with goodies – crackers, cheese, potatoes, oatmeal, peanut butter, canned tuna, flour, sugar, soups, pasta and more.
The family made several trips from their van to our kitchen. I watched in shock and awe as the kitchen counter slowly disappeared under a dozen sacks or more. When the last bag arrived, I turned to the wife and asked, “How did you know?”
“Know what?” she said.
“How did you know we needed groceries?” I told her about the strike’s effect on our household and about our prayers for God to supply. I also told her that we’d shared our situation with no one, partly due to embarrassment and partly due to simply not knowing what to do.
“So how did you know about our need?” I said once more.
“My husband works in a grocery store,” she said. “A few days ago, he sensed God telling him to buy groceries for your family.”
Our eyes locked as the significance of this situation dawned on us: Our Sunday school theology had taught us that God, our heavenly Father, would provide for us. But now we’d experienced it. God – the only One who’d known our needs – had communicated our secret to a man with open ears and a heart willing to obey.
Stories such as this remind us that God makes promises and He cannot lie. He will fulfill – not always in our time or according to our understanding – but He will make good on His word. The details are His responsibility; believing Him – even when it’s scary – is ours.
How about you? Do you have a story about believing God’s promises and seeing Him fulfill?