It amazes how God responds when we least expect it – even when we have asked nothing of him, or when we have not felt that it was right or proper to ask. Two examples have flown high on my radar this week. One seems next to trivial, though for my wife and I it is very significant, and the other is large when viewed from a human perspective, but they both reveal God’s grace.
First the trivial appearing: My wife and I moved into ministry, leaving behind a two bedroom small apartment and trading up to a huge four bedroom parsonage. We’ve spread out nicely and really enjoy all of the space, but I digress. After getting all of our stuff unpacked and placed where we wanted it, we really started thinking about being able to decorate our own space for the first time. (Within the vision of the Trustees, of course.) And, since we moved in August, we were thinking pretty quickly towards Christmas. (Okay, so the August to Christmas jump may be a little much, but we made it.) We decided we really wanted to get a Christmas tree that was larger than the one we used in our apartment. That was a 4′ tree that fit on an end table in our living room in our apartment. It was perfect for that space, but would be dwarfed by the room that we are putting our tree in here in the parsonage. So we got all excited about getting a larger tree and started dreams of decorations racing through our heads.
As reality set in, we finally set ourselves up on a budget. We had one of those before moving to New Jersey, but we actually started sticking to one here. And we realized around the middle of October that it just didn’t make much sense for us to splurge on a tree and more decorations just because. We decided to wait until after the holidays when the trees would go half (or more) off, and get one then. We would just use our small tree this year, and it would be fine. We didn’t give it another thought.
Then, Wednesday night at our Thanksgiving service, the organist came up to me and out of nowhere asked if we might want to use her 6.5′ artificial tree (we have always used artificial trees in our families, if you were wondering about buying one half off after Christmas). And I just went, “What? Are you kidding me?” Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about asking God for a new tree. I mean, it doesn’t have so much to do with the real meaning of Christmas, even if it is how we celebrate here. Yet God provided. Like I said, it may seem trivial, but I can only attribute it to God looking out for us in ways we wouldn’t even think to ask him for. And I am very grateful.
The more magnanimous one came this week at church. The church has been wanting for a while to add a new addition to their sanctuary and update and expand their educational space. Over the course of the last year they came to realize that they really needed to start with adding another minister to the mix (previously the church only had one full time pastor, all the other jobs being filled by part-time volunteers). Mind you, the church averages close to 200 in weekly attendance. Many churches I know of would have at least two full time staff, not to mention some additional part-time staff. I digress again. Basically, that’s why I’m here. And that is a whole other working of God, but I’ll save that for another time.
Many in the church were not confident that the church could financially undertake the full-time support of another minister and his family, especially with the background dream of this new building. But they stepped out in faith, and the necessary money has been there each month on average, and the church is very excited to see that. So now everyone is gearing back up for the building effort. The Trustees have a particular dollar figure in mind that they want on hand before starting the building. Up to this point, the building fund has about half of that figure. This week, God provided an anonymous donor who gave the entire original amount desired – so we are instantaneously at 150% of what they were hoping to have on hand to start the building. 🙂
I love seeing God work. And I love that I am at a point where my eyes are open, and I am recognizing Him when He works.