Oct 27, 2016

It all started at a wedding

It started with a passage of scripture for a wedding. Cathy and I were in the process of planning our wedding in 1981 and we wanted to have a scripture verse that would be the focus on our ceremony. After much consideration we choose Matthew 6:24-34.
I liked this passage because I saw it as a way for me to witness to our non-Christian friends who would be attending our wedding. This was my chance to let them know that THEY needed to seek Him. Little did I know that this passage would be a key life-verse for both Cathy and I.
In fact, had I known it, I probably would have picked another passage of scripture that would be the hallmark of our lives.
Something along the lines of; 
“Your life will have no problems. Come to Him and you will never have any struggles. You will never have to use faith. Simply ask God and He will give you whatever you want as soon as you ask. He is a super generous God who is at your service to meet every wish”
Unfortunately, that verse doesn’t exist. So, we set out into our marriage with our eyes blind to what was ahead of us, simply committing that we would seek Him first in all things.
We had to learn to stand on Matthew 6:24-34 right away during our first year of marriage. Shortly after our wedding, we got together with another couple from church to compare wedding photos. They had gotten married one week earlier than we did and weren’t able to attend our wedding because they were on their honeymoon. 
At some point during our evening the conversation transformed into a sales pitch for insurance. The husband had a personal goal of selling one million dollars during his first year and we were in his crosshairs.
When we explained that we already had enough insurance (with another agent from the same insurance company), he quickly stated that you can never have too much insurance, because who knows what will happen.
When that attempt didn’t work to stop this salesman, I stated that if something came up, we would have rely on God’s provision. His response still challenges me today. He said, in essence; “You can’t look to God to provide for you, that’s stupid!”
What alarmed us more was that no matter how much we defended our decision to “seek first His kingdom”, he was determined to undermine our faith and get us to “live in the real world”, not some fantasy world of make believe.
We quickly ended our evening and asked them to leave as his wife, who had been friends with me since kindergarten, hid her face in embarrassment as they headed out the door. Little did I know that this was the beginning of learning to stand by faith and not by what others would say to undermine our faith.
After living in our apartment for six months, a friend of ours from church offered to rent us his duplex for three hundred a month plus utilities. The house was much larger than our one bedroom apartment which we were renting for around two hundred and forty dollars a month plus electricity, and would provide much needed room because it included a basement.
The old drafty house also became a place to stretch our faith as we now had to pay for heat. We learned to see his provision for tools to remove snow and do lawn work. The opportunity prepared us to lean on the Lord as we learned how to care for a house.
Numerous times we saw His provision as needs arose. One time He even provided fresh large shrimp from a neighbor who was a chef and was very grateful to come home and see that Cathy and I had shoveled his sidewalks and driveway when we were out shoveling our rental property. Another time we saw the Lord’s protection one night when we were gone and someone broke into the house.
When our son Jonathan was born during our first year of marriage, he had a cleft palate and needed surgery in two months. We didn’t have insurance and to add to our “trial” I was laid off from a construction job due to a labor strike. Not only did I have to trust God for provision for our daily bread (including rent, utilities, fuel, etc.), but for the entire medical bills as well.
As I was pondering how to handle this financial weight, a doctor came into the hospital room and told us some good news. Because I was laid off, we qualified to have Jonathan’s surgery entirely paid for.
In fact, due to our financial situation, we qualified to have ALL medical services related to his cleft palate paid for until he turned eighteen years of age. This included more plastic surgery one year later, his orthodontic treatments for braces, and an annual checkup by several specialists.
This also included speech therapy, which we never needed. It was our “misfortune” that placed us in a position to see His provision.
And here Jonathan is now 35 years old and the Lord has been faithful to provide for him all of these years. This includes his college, graduate work, employment, vehicles, friends, and multiple homes. Today he lives on a farm where he, along with his wife, is now raising his two children and transitioning into the life of a farmer.
Not once has the Lord let Cathy and me down as other needs arose throughout the years. Not once has He neglected to provide for any of our children. Not once has He NOT proven Himself to be faithful.
And it all started with a wedding.