Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: THANKFUL (11/14/19)
TITLE: How I Learned the Whole Story--God Always Provides
By Sandra Fischer
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Mama sighed and took a few coins from her purse. I knew she wished she could give more. I tried to keep my head down during the prayer, but I couldn’t help peeking to see if Mr. Phillips put anything in the plate. He was the owner of the general store where Mama worked. I thought he was one of the richest men in town. I reckoned he had lots of blessings to share, but each week he handed the plate along when it came to him. After the service, Mama and I filed out of the church and she shook pastor’s hand, thanking him for reminding us about sharing our blessings.
I asked Mama, “Do you think people here really have blessings to share?” The small farming town we lived in was hard hit by the drought that swept through Kansas, taking almost everything with it. People could barely keep food on the table, much less have anything extra to share.
“God always provides, son.” Mama repeated the same words she said when Papa died, ones she said often. “He provided me a job when we needed help.”
After that Sunday, mysterious things happened at the general store where people picked up their mail. Mama said Mr. Phillips was always interested in how people were doing, and sometimes folks shared a need. Within a week or so, packages from an anonymous sender arrived with just what those people needed.
Mama told me the stories. “Nora Piper said her husband broke the ax handle he needed to chop wood. So, guess what came in the post today for Mr. Piper?”
“A hoe?” I grinned.
“Funny boy. And, remember how Mrs. Winters needed a special brace for her bad leg, but they couldn’t afford it right away?”
“Let me guess. The brace showed up at the store. Are you going to tell me God sent it?”
“Yes, I believe he did. We just don’t know how, but maybe Mr. Phillips knows.” Mama smiled.
“I don’t think it’s Mr. Phillips. He doesn’t ever put anything in the Sunday offering.”
“How would you know?”
“I see him just pass the plate.”
Mama took my face in her hands and glued her eyes to mine. “Son, do you remember when Papa was sick, and we didn’t know it? Remember how the doctor said afterwards he wouldn’t get the medicine he needed, because we needed the money for seed? We didn’t know how sick Papa was until it was too late, because he kept it hidden. Sometimes, son, we don’t know the whole story.”
Mama wiped my eyes and hers with her apron. “God always provides,” she said.
The provisions kept coming and Mama shared the stories every time. Homer Parker received a new harness for his plow horse after one broke. Millie Haller received three chickens to replace the ones a fox had taken. On and on the provisions came.
Finally, rain came to the thirsty land and farmers planted new seed. People thanked God for the promise of a good harvest. Then, the accident happened. Mr. Phillips was unloading a wagon when one of the horses spooked. The wagon tipped over and fell on him, killing him instantly. It was an awful tragedy. I think Mama cried as much then as she did when Papa died.
Mr. Phillips’ son came, and Pastor Winters asked him to speak at the funeral. He told how much his father loved and cared for him and his family and how generous he was. “My father was blessed. He made a small fortune in Topeka and wanted to share it. He bought the general store here, came to know you people and decided to stay. When he heard of a need, he would contact me and I’d send what was needed, but he wanted the credit to go to God, so he never told anyone. He even gave his tithe to the church in secret. I share this with you today to honor him and God.”
I gasped and looked at Mama. She smiled and squeezed my hand.
And, that’s how I learned the whole story about blessings people give. And, like Mama says, God always provides.
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