Stories of God’s Provision

In high school I wrote poetry and other stories, but never thought of writing as a possible career path. Instead, I felt most drawn to social work. As I read the words of Jesus in Luke 4:18-19, I imagined myself living them out in some form of community service:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Immediately after high school, I took the required two years of liberal arts, then applied to the school of social work. I had excellent grades, solid volunteer experience, enthusiastic references. But despite my diligent preparation and sense of God’s call, my application was refused. Why hadn’t God provided a place for me?

As I related this story years later to a member of my congregation, he replied, “But as a pastor, you’re kind of a social worker, aren’t you? You’re serving people in the church and in the community.” I had to agree. Although I had no idea what was in store for me, God proved faithful and provided for me in a wonderful way. In time both my desire to serve others and my writing would become significant parts of my vocation.

Last spring as the new editor of Purpose, I inherited the February theme of God’s provision, and I’m grateful for all of the writers who responded with story after story giving evidence of God at work. The February 2020 issue includes Brenda Eby Zook’s story of holy yogurt, Ruth O’Neil’s story of growing in prayer, Doug Slabach’s column on how God’s Spirit moved one man to offer a gift, and more stories of God’s provision.

Besides these stories of encouragement, the February issue raises some excellent questions. From Karen González‘s discussion of the book of Ruth, I can’ t help but wonder, If God so cares for an immigrant widow, how are we to care for immigrants today? More directly, Stephanie Hertzenberg asks, “What does God look like?” Aimee Reid wonders, “Do we recognize God’s provision when it happens?”

I pray that this theme of God’s provision will inspire and challenge us to see God’s hand at work—yesterday, today, and tomorrow, in everyday and miraculous ways.

Prayer: Our gracious God, we give thanks for your provision, for a generosity that meets our physical and spiritual needs with more than enough. Where anything is lacking—in our own lives and in the world—we pray for your abundant care. Amen.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: How have you experience God’s hand at work in your life?

Purpose is a periodical of MennoMedia, an agency of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. This excerpt is adapted from Purpose, Vol 53, No. 2 (February 2020), copyright 2019, pages 2, 29. Used with permission. For a sample copy of the entire February 2020 issue, please see the Purpose website.

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