2 Kings 4:3-4
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
In 2 Kings 4 we find the story of a widow woman who found herself in a predicament after her husband passed away. She was left to pay his debts. If she didn’t pay them, then she risked losing her two sons to slavery. From the widows perspective she didn’t have many assets to pay off this debt. All she had was a little bit of olive oil (verse 2). Prophet Elisha advised her on what to do which for some of us might sound like a strange solution. He told her to go ask all of her neighbors for empty jars, as many as she could get. Some miraculous way her little bit of oil would be able to fill up enough jars to sell for a profit and pay for her debts. After doing as the prophet advised the widow was able to fill enough jars for a profit and paid off her husband’s debt.
As I was reflecting on this passage of scripture I thought about my own personal testimony during a time I found myself not having enough. The widow risked losing her children and I was risking killing my daughter’s dream. All the widow had was a little oil. All I had was the gift to write and a little faith.
Back in April of this year my daughter was winding down her last month of junior high school. She wanted to try out for the high school drill team as this has always been a dream of hers. As she went through the week long try out process I was torn. I knew that if she made the drill team it was going to be an expensive journey and a financial burden to me. I had no clue how I would be able to afford this extra-curricular activity. I’ve heard and know the drill team to be expensive, but I just didn’t know how pricey it would be. I was secretly thinking maybe she would not make the team and I was stressing for nothing.
The week long try-outs took place. It was an exciting time for my daughter and a nonchalant experience for me. Friday of try out week arrived. At 10pm the results would be posted. She looked online and she made the team. On one hand I was excited, but deep down inside my worry began as I started wondering how I would fund this. Little did I know that when my daughter made this team on a Friday at 10pm that our journey would begin immediately. The Monday immediately following try outs was a parent meeting. At this meeting we found out the total cost of the uniforms and the exciting news that the drill team was taking their “Big Trip” which happens every four years. That means there is only one opportunity for the girls to take a trip like this and it just so happen to fall during my daughter’s freshman year of high school. All exciting news until I looked at the paper with the cost of uniforms and the cost of the trip. That was enough to have me wanting to pass out in the school cafeteria. The bigger shocker was that uniform money and the trip deposit were all due by the beginning of June. After looking at the totals of everything and the time frame for when it was all due it’s safe to say my anxiety kicked in even more. As with any parent we want the best for our children. I did not want to deny my daughter this opportunity to live out her dream of being on the drill team or to miss out on a fabulous trip and a once in a life time experience. I was torn, I was stressed, and this was one of those rare times I felt helpless as a parent.
I looked at my budget and my bank account and there was no possible way I would be able to have this much money in the short period of time. Do I just tell my child she can’t be on the drill team after letting her go through try outs and making it or do I step out on faith? I certainly didn’t have the heart to tell her no, so I went with option B, the Faith option. I didn’t have much faith at the time, but I was quickly reminded all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. I remember that night in the prayer closet I cried so hard. I had no plan or clue how to make this happen. Who could I ask for the money? Who had that much money to give? Should I borrow it even though I was not in the position to pay it back? Could I work a 2nd job in a short period of time? I had all of these questions with no answer or a plan.
I opened up to one of my friends. She shared her testimony of how she raised the money to pledge a sorority in college. She gave me the idea of writing letters to family and friends. It was tough for me because I have never enjoyed fundraising or asking people for this type of money. I am the parent who puts the wrapping paper fundraisers in the recycle bin. This letter would require me and my daughter to step out of our comfort zone. I prayed about it and after much prayer and clearly hearing from God I proceeded with the fundraising letter. When I started the process I can honestly say I had wavering faith. Although I prayed I was still hesitant. I drafted my letter and spelled out everything as to why I needed the money, how much and when everything was due. I sent the letters out by mail. I made a list thinking that if each person gave X amount of dollars I would have enough for the uniforms and the trip deposit. I remember thinking if I could raise just what I needed by the beginning of June I could buy some time and figure out how I would be able to pay the trip installments due throughout the summer months and the Fall.
When I sent the letters out I was only expecting a certain amount from people in hopes that if everyone on my list gave it would be enough to meet our needs by June. Little did I know God was about to do exceedingly and abundantly. By the June deadline not even half of the people on my list replied or sent anything yet I had just what we needed with a little to spare! I was able to pay for the full cost of the uniforms and the deposit for the trip. I was blown away by the love and generosity of the people who graciously sowed into my daughter’s life! To God be the Glory!
After the June payments I still had trip installments due in July, August, and September. There was an October installment, but that payment was eliminated. The directors found cheaper air fare which reduced the cost of the trip and eliminated that installment. Nobody but God! There were fundraising opportunities as well, but some of the fundraisers did not bring in enough money to cover the different installments due, however every little bit helped. I remember thinking after June (since that was the deadline I put on the letter) that people would stop giving. My plan was just to figure out how to pay the installment as I went and save what I could along the way. While it probably wasn’t the smartest thought I remember thinking if I had to miss a bill payment on something I was going to pay for this trip. God decided to once again show me that He is Jehovah Jireh. Every month just as another installment was due another blessing would show up. People still gave after the June deadline. To my surprise each time the money was received it was right on time for the next installment and the next and the next. Every tear I cried and the prayers I prayed reaped the harvest we needed for my daughter to be on the drill team and to go on a weeklong out of state trip. When I made the final payment about 2 weeks ago all I could do was cry. God is so faithful! In the midst of my tears and my wavering faith God provided in a miraculous way!
When this journey began in April I had an unfavorable outcome in another area of my life dealing with my finances. As I look back over these last 6 months I know that God took me on this journey to remind me that He is the source. Every method money comes my way are God’s resources. Sometimes when we expect blessings from one place we can be let down and disappointed, but when we expect the blessing from God He never lets us down. I am grateful for every heart and every generous giver that God used to be a blessing to me and my daughter. God has a way of doing exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or imagine.
GOD, Jehovah Jireh, continuously provides through the generous hearts of others. I could sit here and type out so many scriptures that I stood on and prayed not knowing how the answers would come. I will be brief in saying that God’s word is true and if we just believe in it, then He will cause it to come to pass.
My church has a creed that we say every Sunday during the offering:
“Where there is a temple, there is a need.
Where there is a need, there is provision.
Where there is provision, there is God.
Where there is God, He supplies in miraculous ways.”
After I paid the last installment and sat in church that following Sunday I almost leaped out of my seat during the offering. God had certainly provided in a miraculous way for me. I was very hesitant about sharing my testimony as finances are a personal matter that you just don’t share with everyone. However, the testimony and the miracle I personally experienced is so great to me that I just can’t keep it to myself.
I know there are some people reading this who may have a great need or who may have lost hope in God’s provision, but be reminded today that He is Jehovah Jireh and He is faithful to provide. I’ve seen someone go over a year without employment. The employment check ran out but that individual still managed to eat and have a roof over their family’s head. I’ve seen someone face foreclosure and on the very day they were supposed to pack up and move God showed up with a letter or a phone call saying “Not Today”. I’ve seen someone not pay a mortgage for over a year and God blocked foreclosure and short sells several times. As of today that person is still in their home and back on track all because God provided in a miraculous way.
In April I was like the widow woman in 2 Kings, ye of little faith, but in October I find myself with increased faith. I am grateful at what the Lord has done not only in my daughter’s life, but in mine. I am truly having one of the best and funnest times of my life as a mom traveling to football games and band competitions watching my baby shine and living out her dreams. God is so awesome and faithful! Be blessed and encouraged on today!
Heavenly Father, today I am grateful to share my testimony that you are Jehovah Jireh my provider. Lord I lift up others who stand in need of a financial miracle. I pray that you will meet their needs as only you know how. I pray that they receive the miracle they need on today exceedingly, abundantly, above all they could ask you for or imagine. In Jesus Name. Amen