Monday, December 19, 2011

His Providence

He walked into the church office with defeat written all over his face. His need was large, our benevolence fund was long gone, and the $9 I had in my purse would buy him a few more miles in his old truck, but not much else.

I recognized this man from a visit I'd made to his family's apartment to deliver food a few years ago. Sick wife, 2 sons, no work. Fast forward to this visit -- wife even sicker, still no work and about to be evicted from their apartment. "I used to have fifty customers in this area and I've gone to every single one. No one's getting their trees trimmed these days. Times are hard."

I asked him to sit down and said, "Things are really rough for you right now." He slumped forward, put his hand over his eyes and began to cry. "Yeah, it's really bad this time, and on top of everything else..." he paused, and swallowed. In almost a whisper he added, "my son tried to commit suicide last night."

The words hung there between us as the tears dripped off the end of his nose. His seventeen year old son. His namesake. His baby. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, " he said. "I just don't know what to do."

We talked for awhile, I prayed for him. I asked for a phone number, but he shook his head. His phone had been turned off. He thanked me for the prayer and the bit of cash and left. As he walked out the door, my heart continued to ache with his pain and hopelessness. Here was a man willing to do whatever it took to provide for his family, and he couldn't. And after a day of knocking on doors, he'd remembered the church that had handed out groceries one Easter and took a chance. And barely recouped his gas money.

I saw him pause for just a second before he got into his truck as if he was mustering up the strength to go home empty-handed.

And I cried.


After church the following Sunday, an older gentleman handed me an envelope with four crisp hundred dollar bills inside. "Use this for a needy family," he said.

Now I had the money to help, but no name, address or phone number. "Oh, God," I prayed, "if you want this family to have this money, you are going to have to connect us again somehow. I have no way to reach them. It's been years between the times I have seen them, but you know exactly where they are and what they need. Bring them back."


I'm in the office. The secretary is out, so I'm the only one answering the phone. The wife calls! I explain to her how God is answering both her prayers and mine.


I hugged two very grateful, very weary people and watched them drive away with cash in their hands and fresh hope in their hearts.

And I cried again.


  1. Thank you Jesus! I cried reading this. Amazing, and definitely has God's fingerprints all over it. The prayers of a righteous (wo)man are powerful and effective.

  2. I cried too. Amazing how many people are blessed by the obedience of the man who gave you the money. What if he had thought, "no, that's probably just me thinking, not God leading?" A lot of people would have missed out on a blessing.