When faith, need is tested, look up

Published 1:46pm Monday, March 11, 2013

I am more thankful than ever for a heritage of faith and the word of God planted in my heart as a child. Our family has recently relived a lifetime of memories and recalled testimonies of God’s faithfulness through the years, since my father passed away. I’d like to share one of those testimonies that I will never forget.

In January 1955, my dad graduated from a Bible college in Lakeland, Fla. He then accepted a call to pastor a small, struggling church in Kingstree, S.C. The congregation’s

membership matched the income they gave their minister – both were sparse. My parents set up housekeeping in a little, white frame house next door to the church.

During the move, my mother found out she was pregnant. The next few months at the new pastorate proved their faith. Sundays, the offerings were mostly off.  Church bills were paid first, then the treasurer paid my dad whatever was left over.

About a month before I was born, they experienced one of their most trying times. Although my mother and father were anxiously looking forward to becoming new parents, the last month of my mom’s pregnancy proved to be the leanest month financially.

Their shoestring lifestyle grew shorter and tighter, even for the essentials. They watched their cupboard gradually going bare. The young couple considered calling their parents for assistance, but decided to trust God a few more days.

One morning, my parents awoke to eat the only remaining food in the house. For breakfast, they toasted the last two slices of bread. My dad poured the last glass of milk for my mom and he drank water. Lunch looked unlikely.

As noon approached, my parents exercised their faith by setting the table. Then they pulled out their chairs and sat down in front of their empty plates. While saying grace, my parents made their necessary and urgent request to God.

The two of them sat at the table, glancing at the clock and their reflections in the plates. A half hour had passed when my parents heard a knock at their back door. One of their neighbors, a man who did not attend the church, was standing there. He began to tell them that a hired cook had mistakenly prepared lunch, forgetting that his family was about to leave town for a week.

The neighbor asked if they would eat the meal, so the food would not be wasted. In a few minutes, the cook was carrying a pot roast and bowls of vegetables into the kitchen. Since the neighbor was going to be away, he asked if they would gather all the ripe harvest in his garden while he was gone.

Whenever my faith wavers, I remember the promise in Philippians 4:19 that “God shall supply all (my) needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  And, I remember how God has answered many prayers in the past.  We chose a song for Dad’s service that’s my prayer, “…As those who’ve gone before us, let us leave to those behind us the heritage of faithfulness passed on through Godly lives…Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

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Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is jwhite@andycable.com.

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