A few years ago a flood saturated the first floor of the women’s shelter in Detroit. The knee high water destroyed the pantry collection of cereals, dry milk, and other boxed goods which the facility workers needed to feed the women and children. A small group of women from an Alliance Church several states away heard about the tragedy and desired to collect resources to help. Our plan to collect money to buy supplies was quickly rolled into action. Since shipping is so expensive, we decided to purchase the supplies once we arrived in town. We could deliver the items to the facility in person which I was really looking forward to visiting.
We made a plan and asked God to bless it.
However we wanted to buy needed items, so we visited the women’s shelter first to create a list. The extensive list included simple items like ketchup, Kool-Aid, diapers, formula, and children’s clothes. Our group prayed over the list wondering which items we should purchase. Secretly I lamented over the fact that the list was so long and our pile of funds was so small. But our prayers were hopeful that God can stretch our dollars farther.
We trusted God to provide and were cheerful as we waltzed into the local Wal-Mart expecting all the needed items to be on sale. We carefully selected as many items as possible within our budget, but our hearts were saddened. Disappointed we were unable to purchase everything on the list and had to place some items back on the shelves. I knew that God can do all things and was disappointed that my expected shopping trip was less fruitful than hoped for. I had envisioned walking through the facility door with everything they desired, but that clearly wasn’t happening. One item troubled my heart greatly. Many children staying at the women’s shelter arrived with only the clothes on their back. They needed clothes badly, but we were forced to grudgingly remove them from our cart. We just didn’t have enough to buy everything on the list!
Sometimes, things don’t work out like we expect!
With disappointment lurking deep in our hearts, we drove to the facility in downtown Detroit. The women’s shelter parking lot has a secured parking lot. To enter, you have to push the button and be recognized before your vehicle can drive into the parking lot. The facility workers were expecting our arrival and allowed our van to enter. As our van was pulling in, another white van pulled in right behind us. We were concerned because this vehicle was not part of our group and we tried to alert the security officer. Before the guard could stop the vehicle, it swung into a parking spot right next to ours.
As we were unloading the grocery bags containing the highly prized ketchup and Kool-Aid, the people in the second vehicle followed us in. Before we could even apologize for not being able to purchase all the needed items to the facility workers, our mouths dropped open in wonder. The driver of the second white van unloaded bags and bags of children clothes! They carried in exactly the items on the shelter’s list that our little group had been unable to purchase.
You see we weren’t able to supply everything they needed, but God can and He did!
All the people in the women’s shelter weren’t aware of how God had provided for them using two groups of people who didn’t even know each other. But our small group was in awe. God himself provided for all the items in such a way that we knew He had blessed our prayers and efforts. But he did it in such a way that we could not boast about it. We were praising His goodness and grace as we were so thankful to see how He moved in our presence.
For some reason it is difficult for people to admit that God acts in our daily lives. We struggle to believe in divine messages or that God has blessed us with commands to protect us from harmful consequences of sin. We long for supernatural evidence, but if we encounter it we rationalize it as natural. Of course “rich volunteers” arrived to save the day. That makes so much more sense, even when it’s not true.
Perhaps people don’t want to believe in God because He requires us to action. He may require us to stop doing some action, or he may require us to start doing an action. It is always interesting to me that people become so comfortable with harmful circumstances, and usually are reluctant to change. But God has plans for you that are better than what you have settled for. Trust him and surrender your doubts to him.
God will provide even when you have an extensive list! It just won’t be the way you expected, in case you haven’t heard God works in surprising ways!
Can I pray for you?
Lord we praise you for who you are, Our Provider. We thank you for breath in our lungs, the food you place on our table, and the strength in our legs. We confess our doubts and ask that you open our eyes so we can see the surprising ways you are moving in our lives. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
May I offer you a gift?
I’m a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m married to a firefighter, am a mother of two college age sons and one lovable rescue pup. I’m an Instructional Designer but my background is teaching Elementary school. I love learning and sharing with my friends.
So, I’m looking for online friends to grow spiritually alongside me. As my online friend, I spend time praying for you everyday. My goal is to specifically design encouraging gifts that you may give others so they know just how dearly loved by Jesus they are.
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