It’s funny how doubt creeps up behind you and latches onto your soul, like dark, silent parasite, draining away your faith.
“Is God there?”
“Does anyone hear me?”
“What is the point of praying?”
Prayer is as familiar to me as breathing, but I doubt. I really do, especially when it comes to the gritty prayers for tangible needs.
Sometimes I wonder: if I pray in doubt, does it really count? Like if God knows that I think He won’t come through, is the prayer pointless?
If my faith is smaller than a mustard seed, is it even worth planting?
About a month ago, right after Aaron left for his military training, I had a gutter company come to the house to give me an estimate to replace our soffits, facias and gutters. It really needed to be done; in fact, our realtor didn’t want to list the house until they were fixed.
Aaron and I thought the work would be around $1200-$1500. That was going to take a chunk out of our meager bank account but we thought we could make it work.
When the gutter guy gave me the estimate of $3000, my heart just sank. I smiled, thanked him and went to my room and cried. I hadn’t cried at all since Aaron left (about 4-5 days at this point) but in that moment, all my tears came out.
There was no way we could afford $3000. It was impossible.
I cried and prayed, “Lord, please provide for our needs” all the while wondering, How?
Then I remembered that Aaron and I had talked about asking my brother for a loan if we got in a pinch. I hoped the pinch would never come but here it was, painfully squeezing out all other options. So I took a deep, shaky breath and talked to my brother that morning. He immediately and graciously offered to loan us the money.
I was so thankful, but it was a huge kick in the gut. I felt so low, having to ask my family for money to fix our house.
The work was delayed on the gutters because of the massive rain we got a few weeks ago. More days went by and I finally called the company, eager to get going so we could get it done and put our house on the market.
Finally, they started the work a week ago—but then more rain. The foreman said he would finish on Tuesday of this week, but then, in an act of generosity, he worked all day on Sunday so his men could finish up on Monday.
Let’s back up the story a few days though.
On Friday, I was invited to a lovely, life-giving going away party with some ladies from our church. They poured encouragement into me, and we all ate good food and laughed and had wonderful conversation.
As the party was wrapping up, a lovely friend—a woman who is widowed and retired—pulled me aside and asked, “Can I ask you something? Can I send you a check?”
I hesitated for a brief second and contemplated refusing. But her face looked so hopeful so I told her, “Yes, you may. I won’t say no.”
Her face lit up. “Oh good! I already looked up your address.”
She was beyond delighted, and her reaction soothed the complicated feelings I felt at telling her I would accept her money.
On Monday, the men fished all the gutter work. My brother sent the money to my bank account. Everything seemed in place.
I thanked my brother profusely but I wondered, with a sigh, how long it would take us to pay him back. But that didn’t matter. I was thankful for this gift of help in our time of need.
My son brought the mail in on Monday afternoon but a few hours later, on a whim, I checked the mailbox again and found a small card at the bottom.
It was from my widowed, retired friend.
I smiled at her lovely cursive note, her well-wishes and encouragement.
Dearest Brittany, You are going through a challenging time. It may be hard to believe, but the day will come when you will look back and it will seem like a short time. I’ve had wearing times which seemed to stretch on and on and I couldn’t see the end, but the end of these times did come. God resolves one problem at a time and I know your great faith will be rewarded.
As for the enclosed check, don’t’ think it’s a big thing…I can do without this without any problem.
I finished her note, and opened the check, expecting a generous gift of $100 or even $200.
My mouth fell open and something like a holy presence rushed into my kitchen.
It was a check for $3000.
It was the very amount I needed on the very day the gutters were finished. I can now pay my brother back immediately.
I was astonished. I’m still astonished but then I want to laugh at my pitiful faith because I prayed for God to provide and then I was surprised when He did.
Maybe that makes God laugh too, in a good-natured way, like He is whispering in my ear, See? I’m here. I hear you. I know your needs. I’m going to take care of you.
It was a jaw-dropping, overflowing, right-on-time answer to my prayer, prayed in tears a month ago.
I’m fall-on-my-knees thankful to God for telling my friend to be His hands and feet and meet the very real needs in my life right now.
That mustard seed of faith grew, even though it was buried with a heap of doubt. But my faith is growing; it’s stronger than ever because God hears us. He loves us and His provision is greater than our weakness.