Every day I am reminded—that is, if I stop to think about it—of how rich I am. Walls and a roof to keep out the endlessly dripping Washington sky. Food in my refrigerator. Options in my pantry. A nearby grocery store or drive-thru if all else fails. Clothes—lots of them—in my closet. (Even the outdated ones are reminders that, for a very long time, I’ve had plenty of clothes to wear.) Clean water. A paycheck. Health insurance. Even a few dollars in a retirement account.
Or I could boil it all down: I have ready access to a furnace and a fridge.
I’m not wealthy by Western standards, but I have what I need and then some.
It’s that “and then some” that I’m especially thinking about today. One year ago today, my friend Harry died. Harry was God’s provision for one of my non-material needs: the need to be needed. But when he died, Harry became God’s provision for a whole lot of “and then some.”
About a week after Harry’s death, his caregivers gave me an envelope that Harry had directed them to give me after he was gone. Tucked inside a sweet “thank you” card was a handful of crisp Ben Franklins. The next day the Bens went to wait in the bank while I grieved the loss of my friend and pondered the perfect purchase in his memory.
One spring day when I felt more like deep winter, the epiphany came. Harry lived nearly all of his 81 years in western Washington, and he was appalled that I had barely seen or done anything interesting here. (Never mind I’d only lived here 1/60 of the time he had, and never mind that I don’t have money for everything I want, as he did.) So I decided to let Harry’s Bens pay for some sightseeing splurges. In June, a couple Bens paid for a trip with a good friend to the rose-blooming Butchart Gardens. In July, a couple more made it possible to go whale-watching in the San Juans with another good friend. Then in October, the last of the Bens accompanied me on a three-day retreat to the Olympic Peninsula.
God always provides for my needs. He doesn’t always (okay, often) do it in the way and in the time I think He should, but nonetheless, He does it. And I’m so grateful that I can trust my loving Father to take care of me. But what really gets me is everything else He does besides. I shouldn’t be surprised by His often lavish, always perfectly timed gifts: after all, He is a loving God whose love is not limited by resources. My own parents have spent their lives providing for their family’s needs and doing as much as they could beyond that to lavish love on us, but their means have always been limited. My heavenly parent’s are not.
I don’t know what 2015 holds, nor how God will provide for everything in it. But I know He will. And I’m pretty sure that, at just the right times, He will surprise me with a few extra gifts. That’s just the kind of God He is.