God As My Provider
By Colleen Donahue
It was back in my university days that I found myself living in Amsterdam Holland – now called the Netherlands. I was part of a campus ministry called Christian Corps International that had a vision for running businesses around the world. At that time we owned a small hotel in the south part of Amsterdam and I was part of the staff running it. I learned many things during my year there, but one little experience stands out for me that I will never forget – insignificant to anyone else -- but important to me.
It had to do with my new shoes. Prior to moving to Amsterdam, I was a university student and a poor one at that. I had money only for things that were absolutely necessary. But I felt that a new pair of dress shoes were in order for my upcoming job at the hotel. I saved until I could buy the ones I wanted. There were dark blue – not leather- but fashionable for the time. I just loved them and enjoyed dressing up in order to wear them.
Shortly after moving to Hotel Centropa, a couple came to stay with us for a few days. They were missionaries on their way to India. Everything was going smoothly on their trip except for one thing – Sue had left all her shoes in a taxi in New York City -- leaving her with only a pair of impractical sandals. I remember how quickly Sandy and Evy (coworkers at the hotel with me) brought out their many pairs of shoes for Sue to try on. None of them fit. I didn’t say anything. I only had two pairs with me—my everyday old shoes, and my new blue ones. I really had none to spare.
"Give Them Away!"
That night I couldn’t get to sleep. God was speaking to me—on the inside. He wanted me to offer Sue my new shoes. I pleaded with Him, “But what would I wear? I don’t have enough money to buy another pair and I surely can’t wear my old worn shoes with a nice dress!” Things went round and round in my head until I finally gave up. At breakfast, I would bring them out. Hopefully, she wouldn’t fit into them, or wouldn’t like them.
The next morning, we all had breakfast together. Then Sue and Mike prepared to leave. They were flying to India that day. I felt terrible because I had not brought my shoes out for Sue like I promised God I would. I really didn’t want to part with them! But time was ticking away and it was now or never. As they prepared to leave, I said, “Wait” and ran for the shoes. I asked Sue to try them on. Not only did they fit her perfectly, but she loved the style and the color. Very grateful, they left with Sue looking quite nice in my blue shoes. Despite the fact that I would miss the shoes I was glad I had obeyed. I felt a great relief inside.
Later - that very day - we had a visitor from a church in a neighboring town of Harlaam. Several members from that church knew Evy (a Dutch girl working with us) and wondered if she could use some clothes. Evy accepted the bag and off they went. She went straight to the living room and laid everything out for all of us to have a look. The bag had many nice things, but the real treasure was what looked like a brand new pair of black leather shoes – top quality, and very fashionable.
Sandy and Evy each grabbed a shoe in the hope that it would fit. Neither of them fit into the shoes. Then, both of them handed their shoe to me and said, “Here, you try them on!” It was a Cinderella fit. They not only fit beautifully, but they were many times the quality of my blue shoes and a nicer style! God had not only provided Sue with the shoes she needed through me, but He had prompted some lady to donate a new pair of shoes to a missionary bag that would be delivered on the very day that I needed a pair! This was to be my first lesson in knowing God as my provider.
It's hard for us especially in the Western world, to believe that God will still supply physical needs such as food, clothing, and money. We are so efficient at supplying our own physical needs that we never (or rarely) look to God for the practical things of life. God has been relegated to supplying only our spiritual or emotional needs.
This is quite contrary to a God who wants to supply ALL our needs according to HIS riches (Philippians 4:19). It will only be too great a blessing for any of us to someday be in the position where the bank account has failed, the backup support person is gone, our stocks have crashed, or a computer has just taken over the job that we thought was secure. It’s then, that “they who trust Him wholly, will find Him wholly true.”