I am so amazed at how God shows his love in ways we can know and understand.
I opened my cupboard and took out a can of tuna fish to feed my cat. I was out of cat food. I was out of bread. I was out of pretty much everything that we use from day to day. Thank goodness that we'd grabbed some extra napkins from Little Caesars on our last visit or we'd be out of toilet paper too.
How did we end up here? And yet I feel that God's hand is securely on us. His severely loving hand.
Not being able to buy groceries has hit me harder than anything else. It's not a far away creditor or a utility company in which to negotiate with. It's our home, our family, our livelihood and our life. Suddenly it has felt like the floor has slipped out from under me and I've searched around frantically at times in order to secure myself.
I feel like I've failed. I've failed to care for my family. I've failed to sustain them in their needs. I cry out to the Lord, but feel the familiarity of my words hitting the ceiling and falling back. Frustration and despair have overtaken me.
I walked into church the next morning and someone handed me a plane envelope. I turned away from the crowd to open what was not expected. A beautiful card and a $50 gift card to a grocery store. No one signed the card. I made my way into the church kitchen to get ahold of myself. To be honest two thoughts hit me. I worried that I must have been complaining about our situation and felt bad and undeserving. Also, how far would $50 go with our family of seven? On the other hand the thought of someone caring that much for our family filled my heart with gratitude.
During worship we sang Psalm 40.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
Waited in Hebrew means to bind up or twist together. The root word is only used when talking about waiting on the Lord. I love that.
Then I remembered. When I was a struggling single mom there was a day when my cupboards were completely bare. I needed milk. I needed bread. Something to feed myself and my young daughter. I made a list of the groceries that I really needed and wondered how I would make it another week before payday. Then I went into work and my boss said, "Don't I owe you a little bonus?" Then she handed me a $50. I was surprised and grateful. After work I went to the grocery store and found every item on my list. Lastly I threw in a pint of Ben and Jerry's, just because I love it. The bill, including the last minute ice cream, came to $49.72. I let Shariah get a gum ball and I thanked God for his obvious provision.
In church the tears poured down my cheeks as I realized God's love for me. He cares not only about our family needing to eat, but also for my feelings of failure. He cares about my need for a love that is tangible. Suddenly I felt the force of His severe love envelope my being as a raised my hands in worship.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3