Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Grand Finale

            The inspiration for the provision series came one evening in December while I was at work. It had been a really rough night, so I decided to get away for a little while to grab some dinner.
I announced that I was going to Sonic and asked if anyone would like me to pick up anything for them. One of the girls called out her order saying she’d pay me back when I returned.
The whole day, I’d been stressing about money. Actually, the whole month I’d been stressing about money. Make that the whole year. Wait a minute, make that my whole life. But this season was particularly difficult because Christmas was approaching and I didn’t want to skimp on Christmas presents when I felt like I could maybe skimp on something else. Eating at Sonic might be one of those things, I don’t know.
Anyway, the stressful night put me in mind for a burger. As I got in the car a thought hit me. I realized I didn’t want to stress about money anymore. I knew I didn’t need to. I serve a God that will supply all my needs. On top of that, one of the things that stresses me out when I am in a bind is that I get really stingy and count pennies and get Nazi-mean when it comes to people paying me back for things. So I decided, to prove my renewed trust in the Owner of Cattle Upon a Thousand Hills, I decided I was going to buy my coworkers dinner.
I knew I was supposed to be going to a movie that evening with some friends. I needed the dinner money for my ticket. But I decided not to think about it. I was very happy to not be worrying about money and very happy to be able to lighten the load for my coworker. The night perked up a bit after that.
I got off work and headed for the movie. I was late so my friends had already purchased my ticket. I thought that was strange since I could have bought it when I got there, but didn’t say anything as I entered the movie at the end of the previews.
When the movie was over, I tried to pay my friends back for my ticket. They just laughed it off and said, “Merry Christmas.”
The ticket was almost exactly the price of the meal I’d just purchased for my coworker.
That was pretty amazing to me. I honestly didn’t expect God to work that fast. 
That would have been enough. I got the message pretty loud and clear. But occasionally God likes to make a really big deal out of things, just because He’s God and He can.
So the next morning, I met some out-of-town friends for breakfast. The meal was pretty expensive, but I wasn’t passing up the time with friends I don’t ever get to see. It was worth the extra money to be able to enjoy their company.
Then, one of my friends picked up the tab for the whole meal.
The cost of the breakfast and the movie ticket were triple what I spent on the meal for my coworker.
So that was the story that got my wheels turning for this provision series.
And, like I mentioned earlier, God sometimes likes to do things pretty extravagantly. I mentioned in my last blog post that the grand finale was going to be a provision story that God performed just recently. Let me tell you about it.
Last week, I started thinking about the fact that I need to get my oil changed in my car. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had it done, so I figured it was due. I briefly made a mental note to budget some money for that and then let the thought slip from my mind.
The next day, I was at my parent’s house. My little brother came up to me and handed me an oil filter. “For the next time you need to change the oil in your car,” he said.
It took me by surprise. Did I mention to him that I needed to get the oil on my car changed? I couldn’t remember ever talking to him about it. It was so sudden that I didn’t get a chance to ask. It was super sweet and I thanked God for saving me $15 on the oil change.
I was still a little puzzled by the random oil filter that was handed me when the next day my sister dropped by work. We chatted for a little bit and then she handed me an envelope. After she left, I opened it to find $20 and a note that said, “I felt like God was telling me to give you some money to get the oil changed on your car.”
Stunned. Confused. Bewildered. That’s how I felt. I hadn’t even prayed about getting my oil changed. I wasn’t even worried about the money. All I did was think about the fact that it was probably time.
Then, boom. Boom. Pow. God caused the money to show up—very specifically.
Usually, when I hear stories like that, it follows an act of obedience or a heartfelt prayer. Neither of those happened in my case. That’s the real thing that makes me smile and makes me cry. God will go all out for His children. I mean ALL OUT. I felt so loved, especially because He gave me this story in the middle of my provision series. He cares about my blog!  
Of course, the moral of the story could be "choose your friends and siblings wisely" (even though I don't get any credit for their presence in my life). I can't discredit the generous hearts of the people the Lord has put in my life. It thrills me that so many people got to play a role in this series--and in drawing me closer to Jesus--without even realizing it.
So that’s the Grand Finale. What a whirlwind this series has been. It’s been so refreshing for me, but convicting, too. Even after all of that, I still don’t trust God. I still fret about money, the future, and everything else I usually fret about.
That’s another reason why I’m excited about the conclusion of this series. I’m going to re-read all the posts every time I’m in a provision bind. I’m going to use this for remembrance.

                        I have been young, and now am old,
                        yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
                        or his children begging for bread.
(Psalm 37:25 ESV)

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