God’s Provision in Troubled Times
As things in our nation get more difficult and the value of the dollar continues to fall, we are going to have to depend more on Jesus. We are independent people and we would prefer to take care of our needs ourselves rather than ask the Lord and wait for his answer. However, sometimes God purposely allows us to not be able to do or buy certain things because he wants us to depend on him so we can grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with him.
When Jesus sent out his twelve disciples to minister in Matthew 10, he told them not to take anything with them for their journeys. Specifically he said, “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.” Apparently this was the custom of the rabbis when they traveled and although these men were not formally rabbis, they were doing the work of God.
Can you imagine taking a trip with no money, no suitcase, no change of clothes or anything else? Of course life is very different these days and his directions to us today would probably be somewhat different, but the point I want to make here is that he sent them out such that they would have to depend on God to take care of them, and most often he uses human agents to do so.
In addition to Jesus sending them out with no physical provisions, he told them to “Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!”
Jesus knew that their dependence on God would open the way for miracles to occur, miracles that would not have been possible had they gone forth in their own strength with all they needed for their journey.
Times are different now, but the way God works in our lives remains the same. We must face situations in life that require faith so that God can reveal himself to us in ways that show us he is faithful and that he will take care of us. In this way we often experience miracles.
One such incident comes to mind. It was 1985 and we and our two teenage daughters had just moved into a doublewide on a 200 acre farm near Newark, Ohio. We had come to that area to pastor a small church of about fifteen people who were meeting in a room in a schoolhouse. Our only income came from that little church. Stoner tried several times to get a job in Newark but no one would hire him. Apparently he was “over-qualified.”
Winter had arrived and our house was cold, the oil tank was empty and we had no money to buy fuel. We were trying to make it through the winter by using a kerosene space heater in the living room. One frosty morning as we were lying in our bed under a thick pile of blankets, my husband announced that he was tired of us all being cold and he was going to have our oil tank filled even though we didn’t have the money to pay for it. Something would have to work out. We came there to serve God and he was sure God did not want us being cold.
So he called and made arrangements for the tank to be filled that day. Something else happened that day. When he went to the end of our long, gravel driveway to get the mail, inside the mailbox was a check from a friend of ours in Indianapolis. It was just the amount needed to fill our oil tank. That person had never given to us before and never did again. He knew nothing about our need.
God knew our need and at the right time he gave my husband the faith to declare that we would trust God to meet our need. And he did!
Soon after that, I began to experience God’s supernatural in an unusual and unexpected way. This was not the first time we had had to trust God to meet a financial need. There had been many such times, but apparently we were at a place in God where he deemed it was time for my ministry to women to begin to expand into a more supernatural ministry. People started asking me to cast demons out of them. I would never have expected such a thing, but it happened and it was the precursor to the satanic ritual abuse ministry that began in 1992.
I write this in the hopes that my experience with God can be an encouragement to others who are facing difficulties. The way the United States economy is going, we are soon all going to have to depend on God to provide for our needs because the dollar is quickly losing its value. Our nation is many trillions of dollars in debt with no possible way of paying it off. The more the government prints paper money that has nothing to back it, the more people’s confidence in the dollar falls worldwide. There are already nations that don’t want our money because they know there is no gold or anything else of value to back it.
We faced another problem while living in this doublewide. Although it was a very nice house and probably had my favorite floor plan of all the houses we have lived in, there were rats living in the crawl space. We would lie in bed at night and listen to the rats gnawing on the foundation or floor or something. Whatever it was, it was loud and we had concerns that they would eventually break through into the house.
We told people in our little church what was going on and unbeknownst to us there was a woman in the congregation who worked for an exterminator. One day when we were not at home, she came to the house and threw three kinds of rat poison under it. We never heard the rats ever again. I don’t know what it would have cost to have a professional exterminator come out to the house and do the job, but God provided a way that didn’t cost us one penny.
This reminds me of another time when we had a serious problem and no money. This occurred in a small town in Indiana where we again had a small congregation. Something had gone wrong with our Honda, the only car we had, and we lived nine miles from the nearest town that had a grocery store. One of the lobes had worn on the cam shaft and it would have cost several hundred dollars to have it fixed. The same job would cost $1200 dollars today. What were we to do?
The Lord had a plan. Seemingly out of nowhere a man whom no one in the church knew decided to attend our little country church. He just happened to be a Honda representative with a background as a mechanic. One Saturday after the men’s breakfast meeting, the man put on his work clothes and began to work on our car. He fixed the problem, provided the needed parts at his own expense and gave my husband the Honda Mechanics shop manual should there ever be another problem. Then the man left the church. I think he only attended three or four times.
That shop manual proved to be of great value a few years later when the gas tank on the Honda began to leak. Stoner, with God’s help and the Honda manual, was able to replace that gas tank himself. It was extremely difficult and it took him all day, but he was able to do it.
Some people would have used a credit card when facing such needs as I have described, but we had learned a few years earlier that credit cards can be a terrible trap, one that is almost impossible to get out of. In 1973 we had used a credit card to pay some bills and then found ourselves in the situation where almost two-thirds of our monthly payment went for interest and only one third was applied to the principle. We were able to get out of that hole when we sold our house and paid off the credit card before moving to another community. We decided then that never again would we allow a credit card bill to accumulate beyond what we could pay off completely each month. Now we use a card for convenience only.
If we had used a charge card to pay the oil company when the tank was empty or to pay an exterminator when the rats were trying to get in our house, we would not have been able to know our heavenly Father’s loving care and the opportunity to grow in our faith, faith that would be a necessary component for trusting God for miracles in the deliverance and healing ministry. Also we would have found ourselves once again in the position of being a servant to the lender with little hope of getting free from debt.
In the difficult days that lie ahead for our nation, may we as Christians look to the Lord in prayer for all things. As we do so we will learn that God is indeed with us, and as our faith grows, I believe we will experience many exciting answers to prayer. We will need God’s help and provision like never before because everything we have trusted in will be shaken to its very core.