We say the Lord’s prayer every Sunday at City Pres. Those words have become quite significant to our family over the past 2 months. Our family business had a hard summer, therefore, our family had a hard summer. Money trickled in slowly and randomly, making it difficult for a family of 5 to survive. But survive we have. We still have a roof over our heads and we have never gone hungry.
I was going on small grocery runs every couple of days, and we were literally subsisting on our daily bread. Sometimes bread was the only thing I was buying. By God’s great grace, my children never tired or complained about the endless amounts of grilled cheeses and peanut butter sandwiches I was serving them. I’m sure they noticed that we didn’t have spaghetti or chicken nuggets or our usual favorite meals. But they trusted and believed and experienced being fed every day. Their father and I worried and doubted and stressed. But our children simply trusted and rested. Oh, the lessons they teach me.
In the darkest moments, with light bulbs literally burning out around us, seemingly every day, God changed my prayer. I stopped praying for God to provide. He always has. He always will. I simply prayed that he would help me to trust in his provision. I needed to rest. To rest from the worry, the doubt, the fear, the stress. To just trust. Henri Nouwen writes, “Trust is so hard, since you have nothing to fall back on. Still, trust is what is essential. The new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable.” I had read those words one Sunday before church and they were echoing in my ears during our staff meeting. So I shared with our team that our family was struggling. I shared that we were scared and worried and full of doubt and stress. I told them that our business had a quarter in the bank. 25 cents, y’all. And our personal account wasn’t much better, at $7. We had mortgage to pay and food to buy and school supplies to get and bills to pay. We needed a miracle.
Moments later, I was sitting in the service, hearing Kristin’s story of rescue, crying big, ugly tears at God’s provision and grace to her. And then I stood with all of City Pres and sang (or tried to) the words, “Without money, without money, come to Jesus Christ and buy.” And Brenden cried. And we all cried. And our family prayed after taking communion. And God provided. The very next day we received a payment that covered our mortgage and electric bill, and allowed us to buy some groceries. And he provided through the generosity of our church and her members.
We’re still in the middle of this lesson. Nothing is certain. We are still wandering through the desert, having to trust. In many ways, it parallels what City Pres is facing with our potential new building. We don’t know if everything is going to work out. We don’t know what God has in store for us. We have to trust that God’s plan is better than ours. We have to trust that someday, when we look back on this time in our lives, we will resonate with the words of Deuteronomy 8, that, like the Israelites wandering in the desert, our clothes did not wear out and our feet did not swell. That God provided manna for us, and water from the rock. And Lord, may you guard us from the pride which might cause us to say, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:17)
Lord, we know you will provide, help us to simply trust.