by Eric Elder
Are you in need of something from God today? If so, let me encourage you (as a friend recently encouraged me) that “God’s provision is there before the need has presented itself. It is merely a matter of the light shining on the provision so it can be seen.”
I’ve been amazed to see this truth lived out in my own life over the last few weeks.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to another friend who shared with me, rather unintentionally, that his family was down to their last $49 in their bank account. He was trying hard to fill it back up, but his hard work wasn’t bearing as much fruit as he needed.
He had done so much for me over the years that I wondered what I could do for him. I looked in my own bank account and saw that I had $500.36. Before I had time to talk myself out of it, I wrote out a check for $500 and put it in the mail to my friend. I knew it was the right thing to do. I just had to trust that God would somehow provide for us both.
The day my check arrived at my friend’s house, another need presented itself, this time, a bill I hadn’t anticipated for $2,000! To make matters worse, I got a message from my bank saying that a check I had deposited a few months earlier had accidentally been deposited twice, so they were removing the amount of that check, which just happened to be $500, from my bank account! And I found out from my friend that same day that my check to him for $500 had just arrived at his house!
I took a deep breath and said, “God, I know You were prompting me to do this. I’m going to have to trust You to cover it.” I was headed out of town for the weekend and didn’t have time to think about it or hardly even worry about. I had to trust that God would work it out.
When I got back from my trip, I saw an email in my inbox that I had already seen just before I left on my trip, but had simply ignored it because it looked like spam. It was an agent for a company who said he had a client who was interested in buying one of the domain names I owned. (A domain name is a website address, like http://www.theranch.org or http://www.thisdaysthought.org. I’ve bought and used several domain names over the years for different projects, each of which has cost me about $15 a year.)
I checked out this agent’s website, and the company actually looked legitimate. And the domain name their client wanted to buy was one which I had used many years ago, and thought I might use again some day, but I wasn’t sure if I ever would. So I wrote to the agent and asked what his client was offering to pay for the domain name.
He wrote back and said, “$1,000.”
$1,000! I couldn’t believe it! On one hand, I wanted to jump at the opportunity. But on the other hand, I was still wondering if maybe I should hang onto that domain name in case I decided to use it someday again.
I thought, If they had offered me $10,000, that would be a no-brainer. I’d just pick out another domain name if I ever needed one in the future. But for $1,000, I’m not sure if I should give it up.
There was a button on the agent’s website where I could make a counter offer. I thought about entering $10,000, but that seemed ridiculous. I would have been happy for maybe $2,000 or $3,000 for it. But for $10,000, it would certainly be an easy decision.
Not wanting to give it much more thought, especially since I still wondered if this was even a legitimate offer, I clicked the button to make a counter offer. I entered $10,000 and pushed “Send.”
A few hours later, I got an email saying the client would like to move forward with the purchase, and they were willing to offer $2,500, but that would be their final offer.
$2,500! That was right in the $2,000-$3,000 range that I said I would be happy for! And not coincidentally, that was exactly the amount I was needing to cover for my two unexpected expenses of $500 for my friend and $2,000 for myself.
“God, I can’t believe it! I’m sorry I had so little faith!” Trusting now that it was God’s provision, I clicked the “Accept Offer” button. By the end of the week, I had transferred my domain name to the client and deposited their check into my bank account. My friend cashed my check, and I paid my unexpected bill.
When I looked back at the original email from the agent, I saw that it had come on the same morning as my friend had received my check (and I received my notice from my bank), and the same day I received that unexpected bill for $2,000. God’s provision was already right there in my inbox. It was merely a matter of the light shining on the provision so it could be seen.
This reminded me of the unusual way Jesus paid a bill for a friend and Himself one day, too.
When a tax collector came to Jesus and Peter asking them to pay their two-drachma “temple tax,” Jesus gave Peter these unusual instructions. Jesus said:
“…go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for My tax and yours” (Matthew 17:27b).
I can imagine the surprise on Peter’s face when he threw out his fishing line, reeled in a fish, and there in its mouth was a four-drachma coin!
The provision for both Peter and Jesus was there all along, either already in the fish’s mouth, or perhaps on the bottom of the lake, just waiting for the God of the universe to direct the fish to nibble along till it picked up the coin in its mouth and went to the spot where Peter would be fishing. God’s provision was already there before the need presented itself. It was merely a matter of the light shining on the provision so it could be seen.
I was thinking about sharing my story with you today, about God’s provision for me, but then something else unexpected came up that made me hesitate. Another need presented itself that I had no way of meeting. I thought, God, how can I write this story about You providing for our needs even before the needs present themselves when I’m facing another need right now that I have no idea how I’m going to meet?!? But then something amazing happened–just yesterday.
Back on Thursday, when this need arose, we had a terrible snowstorm. Schools and businesses were closed for the first time all winter. My mail had been delivered to my mailbox before the storm got too bad, but by the time I made it out to the mailbox later in the day, the door to the mailbox had blown open by the storm and a magazine was hanging half-way out, soaked in snow. I wondered if anything else had blown out, and as I looked around, I did find one piece of junk mail, almost completely covered and soaked by the wet snow. I tried to look for any other mail that might have blown out, but the storm was too fierce to keep searching any further.
Then yesterday, when almost all of the snow had finally melted, I looked out in my yard. There were six pieces of mail, strewn all over the yard, that had been completely covered by the snow just a few days earlier. I picked up each one, some important, others not, and one from a church where I used to attend. When I finally opened the last letter from the church, I was in shock! Enclosed was a check for the exact amount of the need I had learned about on the day of the snowstorm! A letter was attached explaining that the church wanted to give a special one-time gift from their surplus offerings from last year to gospel-centered ministries. This check was a portion of that surplus for the year! In all the years since we attended that church, we had never received such a gift before!
Again, I was astounded, not only that the need was covered, but that it was already covered on the same day that the need had presented itself. God’s provision was already there; it was merely hidden under a blanket of snow until the light of the sun shown upon it!