You know the story. I certainly did. Well, at least I thought I did.
*There was a huge need: Jesus was preaching to 5,000 men (remember this number for later). The disciples wanted Jesus to send them away, to find their own food and lodging.
*God took a small offering: Jesus, instead, took five loaves of bread and two fish.
*God blessed them to overflowing proportions: This fed all of them AND they had twelve baskets of leftovers!
Yeah, yeah. Heard the story one-hundred times. Good for them. What does it have to do with me? Let me tell you.............
We got a sizable tax return this year. Five thousand dollars to be exact. Does that number ring a bell? I had all these thoughts of putting some in savings. Paying off this. Buying that. Going here. We did go "there" for Spring Break and had a wonderful time. But, as soon as we came back from vacation, the hospital bills started rolling in.
See, Joe went to the ER in December. He was vomiting for 5 days and we were afraid his kidneys were shutting down. After an IV and a few hours of observation, they sent him home. In January, Jack got very sick. After 3 days of not eating, walking, or talking I took him to the ER. He, too, was severely dehydrated. Turned out, he had RSV with Bronchiolitis and had to be hospitalized for 4 days. He finally came home, but had to be on oxygen. But our adventure doesn't end there. In February, Joshua had to get stitches on his forehead. We thanked God every time for healing, that we have a hospital so close, and that we have health insurance (of which, I pay $550/month).
We knew that we would have to pay a portion of each of our hospital visits, but were unsure how much. The insurance company tried to deny coverage for all 3 boys. Finally, after fighting the insurance company, they paid the hospital and doctors and sent us a bill for our portion. It took all of our remaining tax return. All of it. *I had a huge need.
I went to bed Sunday night, mad at God. Actually, that's saying it nicely. I think I was closer to "pissed off". I was upset that life wasn't fair. I didn't get to spend any of the tax return on me, yet I work 5 jobs to pay our bills. Then I started to get more mad that I do work 5 jobs, yet still live paycheck to paycheck. How come I don't have a nice, new house? How come I don't have a nice, new car? Life isn't fair, and I was upset about it.
Through the week, God was working on me. I found that I was excited for my friends who were experiencing blessings. I was grateful that I did have 5 jobs, when some people can't get one. I was grateful that we did have a tax return to pay the hospital bills. Ultimately, I was grateful that God (and doctors) had saved my 3 boys in the last 3 months. And then, I woke up Friday morning......
I woke up and realized that I had no money to give to God at church on Saturday. It was all gone to bills. All of it. I wept. I prayed for forgiveness at not saving even a small portion to give back. How selfish of me! I resigned myself to give the change in my wallet. It wouldn't be much, but it seriously was all I had. *God took my small offering.
Later that day, my boss walked into my classroom. She handed me a check for $130. *I had been blessed past my expectations. I had completely forgotten about that check. It was my meals check from a few weeks back. Turns out, it was sitting in the office for a few days and the ladies were waiting for me to get it. But I know the truth. God was waiting for me to come to that place. I can't wait to write that check Saturday night at church.
And then I read the sermon notes for this week:
1. God let's us feel our need for provisions.2. God blesses us by letting us participate with Him.
3. God blesses us by the way He abundantly meets the need.
So, now I get it. I can't do it on my own and God is still molding me. Lord knows, He has plenty to work on...........