Allow me to share a story today from years past. It encourages me as I think about it. I was going through old emails and was reminded of just how faithful our Lord is to us, when we surrender to Him.
Let me set the stage for you. The day is November 10, 2009. I was helping get a young church started in the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri. Along with this, I was raising support to do this, as well as working three other jobs (property management, unloading books at Barnes and Noble early in the mornings, relief manager at Ronald McDonald House). Add to the equation, I was finishing my MDIV at Midwestern Seminary. As well, I had been dating a girl named Leslie, who would later become my wife, who had just moved to Kansas City 4 months previously. Needless to say-I was a busy man. Probably too busy, as I look back. Never the less, it is where the Lord had me at the time.
I knew even on November 10th that I wanted to marry Leslie. I struggled with the idea of proposing to her, because at the time I didn't have any money set aside specifically to buy a ring, nor was there any hope of having that kind of expendable income in my possession anytime soon. Financing an engagement ring is not my style, so that was not an option. So, I had just started to pray. I felt selfish in my prayers. I prayed that the Lord would provide, somehow, a way for me to attain a ring and propose to her.
So come back now to November 10, 2009. I had been at Barnes and Noble early that morning unloading 50 LB boxes of books, and I was beat. It was around lunch time, and I had just arrived home. I got my mail, and noticed an unusually bulky letter. It was in a normal sized letter envelope. I set it aside and cooled off from work a bit. I went later and grabbed the mail. I opened the letter, and to my surprise, the envelope was FULL OF CASH MONEY. It was nothing but $20's and $50's. In total, there was $2000 CASH that someone had sent through the mail!
I immediately emailed Leslie, and this is exactly what I said:
I just got a letter in the mail with $2,000.00 cash in it, with no note from who it is from, except that is marked as from Lee's Summit. Holy crap!
Now before anyone gets on to me, yes, I did write the last two words. Hopefully i've become a little more refined since then. :-)
My immediate thought was-"Oh No-Someone left their drug money at the wrong apartment!". It would not have been a stretch to think of that in the area of town I lived. It wasn't the most sketchy part of town, but it wasn't the least sketchy either. At times, stuff went down in that area. So my first reaction was, "What do I do?!" But then I looked at the envelope again. It has my name on it. It was addressed to me. It had a return address, out of Lee's Summit, but no name. So I did what any good investigator does who wants knowledge-I googled the address. The map showed a vacant, dilapidated strip mall. Not a soul there who could have sent it.
To this day I have no idea who gave me that money. At times, it still drives me nuts. I'm confident I have an idea, and I believe that person lied to me when I asked them if it was them. :-) I'm confident they wanted to remain anonymous.
But ultimately, The Lord provided those resources for me. I was able to, just a few months later, propose to Leslie, and the rest is history.
I'm not foolish enough, nor does my theology dictate, that if I pray for more money, God is always going to drop a wad of cash at my front door. The Lord Gives, and the Lord Takes Away. In either case, he is still God. However on this day, it was God giving me the resources, so he may be glorified through marriage. My heart was to marry Leslie, so that we could serve the Lord together for a lifetime in marriage and ministry. I'm thankful for that day and the many i've had as a husband since.
God is faithful. He is not always going to do what he did in this story, but again, I never asked Him to. What happened in this story was a complete shock. I anticipated working hard for many months to scrounge together a few dollars to buy a ring out of a gumball machine or something. :-)
For the Glory of God.
Matthew is 34 years old and currently lives in St Louis, Missouri with his wife Leslie. He serves as the Associate Pastor at The Groves Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.