On Labor Day last year, my husband came home and told me there was a good chance that he wasn’t going to get another paycheck. His employer was struggling to keep the business afloat and repeatedly talked about filing for bankruptcy.
My husband had been commuting 500 miles round trip each week for over a year. He would leave early Monday morning and return home late Friday night. We had not relocated our family to the new city because we didn’t feel that the job was a perfect fit, but since another opportunity hadn’t come up, we’d put up with the separation. It was wearing on the whole family. I was at home acting as both mom and dad while he was away supporting the family.
That year of separation turned out to be an amazing opportunity for both of us to grow in our reliance on God for all our needs. I needed help and sanity dealing with the kids, as well as strength and support to continuously run the house on my own. My husband needed to feel love and support while he was away from his family. Both of us turned wholeheartedly to God for our answers. When we learned of the possible imminent failure of the business, it was only natural for both of us to turn to prayer for our sustenance and a solution to our employment situation.
During this trying time, I looked to the Bible for inspiration. I held onto the thought that God was the source of our sustenance. I didn’t know what the solution would be, but I knew that God was meeting every need.
The Bible has many accounts of people relying on God for provision, even under extreme circumstances. The story of Moses leading the children of Israel through the wilderness is a great example. The Israelites were fleeing slavery from the Egyptians. After the Egyptians perished in the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered, searching for the Promised Land. For 40 years they had to rely on God to provide them with their food. When they needed food, manna fell from the sky. They could collect just enough of it for that day. If they tried to store it for another day, it would spoil.
The Bible also tells of the many times when Jesus proved that God would meet humanity’s needs. He fed the multitudes with just a few fishes and some loaves of bread. He turned water into wine. And he healed multitudes. Jesus showed that relying on God for our sustenance was such an important lesson. He included it in the Lord’s Prayer, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Daily, I prayed to see and express God’s abundance in all I did. I saw the abundant beauty in the flowers. I thanked God for the abundant joy on my kids’ faces as they laughed, or the abundant patience God gave me to deal with them. Every day I kept a journal of all my gratitude for God’s abundance. Every day I thanked God for giving us our daily bread. Even when I found a penny, I thanked God for His abundance.
That next week my husband did get paid. We continued to work through this instability for the next eight months, and each pay period, the check was there. The supply we saw was not just limited to employment or a paycheck. I picked up many different freelance projects and odd jobs to add to the family income. Every time a friend or family member asked us to dinner, we saw this as God providing for our needs. Lodging and airfare for a family wedding were provided, and clothes for the children were given to us or handed down from friends.
After a year and a half of our living apart, and eight months of living paycheck to paycheck, my husband got a new job in our hometown. As with the children of Israel, God sustained us through the “wilderness.”
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, described wilderness in a very hopeful way – in part, as “the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 597). One “great fact of existence” for us was that no matter what the picture looked like, God was always providing for us. And He always will.