Remembering my parents’ prayer for divine provision

Published 7:30 am Sunday, August 21, 2022

My parents were married on August 9, 1953 and celebrated 59 years together before my dad passed away. Being the eldest of their three children, I remember most of those years.

However, one of their life experiences happened when they were young newly-weds. Every time I’ve heard the story, it reminds me of a powerful principle. When we ask God to meet our needs, He will answer. How and when is up to Him, and sometimes it’s amazing.

In January 1955, my dad graduated from a Bible college in Lakeland, FL. 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 of those mornings, 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 passed before 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 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 recall how God answered my parents’ prayer and supplied divine provision for them and for me – before I was born.  And, my faith is strengthened.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”