I know Jehovah Jireh.
I remember well when we first met. I had set my heart first to seek him at the age of 3. I remember standing on the coffee table singing "Jehovah Jireh, my provider" as loud as I could and watching my brother learn to play guitar on the same song. I lived my life doing all I knew to do to follow Him, but there came a time I realized I had never personally met Jehovah Jireh. I knew the Lord. I knew Jehovah Jireh was one of His many Names. I had never lacked but I had never had reason to seek The Provider for my needs.
It was the year 2000. I was working at an internship where my job was to help teenagers get on the mission field. One of my requirements was to encourage them that God would provide but I had no personal stories to prove my words. Like I said, I had never lacked. If there was something I needed or even wanted and couldn't quite finish paying for, my parents covered the balance or I didn't really need it. So, what could I tell these kids and their parents who had NO way to get the money for their mission trips except by trusting Jehovah Jireh. How did I know He would come through?
I knew His Word was faithful and so I set my heart to seek out what He said on provision. I looked up every verse I could find on the subject and wrote it down in a notebook. I memorized and meditated on them and looked up more and did the same. One day I came across one that intrigued me. It said "who provides RICHLY FOR OUR ENJOYMENT". That was a new concept to me. I knew God was supposed to take care of our needs (or at least that's what I thought) but our enjoyment? And not just our enjoyment... but RICHLY for our enjoyment? (BTW it's 2 Timothy 5:17) I had to let that one soak in a while.
As I meditated on that one for a week or so another thought came to my mind one morning out of the blue. I did not have a watch. I like having a watch but I hadn't had one for some time and I missed having a watch. I thought to myself, "It would be nice to have a watch. Don't need one (there was a computer or clock in every room I went in) but it would be nice." I then got dressed and went to work for the day.
That afternoon after work, I stopped by the mailroom to see if by chance I had a letter. There was a package there labeled to "Maria". No last name. There were three Maria's on campus so I took the package and sought them out. Neither of the other Maria's were expecting a package or knew anyone from Tenessee so I opened the package. It was a video advertisement from some company and along side the video was... a plastic kids velcro watch! I laughed! I said "God, YOU did this!" I put on the silly looking watch and began to tell people about the sense of humor our Mighty God has that He would provide a silly looking kids watch just to show me he provides for more than just my needs, and He hears even my thoughts!
Two weeks later I went camping and the watch part of the watch fell out and got lost. I was upset. I told God "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to lose your gift. I wanted it. It was nice having a watch."
That day there was a lost and found store in the cafeteria where you could by anything for a dollar. I didn't have spending money, not even a dollar, but I went over to look at the tables just for fun. As soon as I walked up to the table my eyes caught sight of something lying there. A watch! A gold mickey mouse watch. No sooner had I laid eyes on it than the guy running the cash register said to me, "I think you should have that watch."
"Oh, I don't have a dollar." I replied. The next thing I knew, he pulled out a dollar from his pocket, stuck it in the register and handed me the watch! I put it on. It was too small to clasp properly as again it was a kids watch- but I wore it proudly. Again I shared the story with those I saw. I was tickled that God replaced my watch!
About two weeks later it fell off and got lost. I was upset. I told God, "I"m sorry! I didn't mean to lose your gift! It was nice having a watch."
That day when I went to my room I found a watch setting in my cubby. I asked my roommates who it belonged to and to make a long story short one of my roommates (who worked opposite shift from me and I rarely saw and did not know the watch story) had realized she had two watches and didn't need it so she gave it to me! Ha! It was a pretty nice sports watch. Not really my style, but nice. Of course, I put it on and once again told the story to anyone who would listen how God was cracking me up in His provision for my enjoyment!
You guessed it... about two weeks later, the pin came out and got lost. My watch was no longer wearable. I was disappointed but continued to carry it around with me. I set by my computer at work and told God, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to lose the pin. I miss being able to wear my watch." The phone rang. I answered it. "There is a gift up at the front desk for you from one of the missionaries you have been encouraging." I hurried to the front desk and found a small box waiting for me. Any guesses as to what I found inside? Indeed, it was a watch! A nice one. One I wore for over a year or two until the battery died and my husband bought me a new one that I liked even better.
Obviously a watch is insignificant in the larger scheme of things, but this story was the beginning of my relationship with Jehovah Jireh. He heard the cry of my heart, that I wanted to know Him. He saw where my faith was lacking. He knew I believed he would take care of my needs, but that I didn't expect him to care about my desires, my enjoyment. But, he wanted to show me, indeed he does. He is a romantic, wooing, loving, humorous, caring God "who provides RICHLY FOR OUR ENJOYMENT". Over then next several years He repeated this scenario with several objects. Each time providing four or five times the same object only better each time and in totally miraculous ways- pianos, computers, CARS, wash machines.
Three years ago when our van was completely out of service and we had no money for a new one I was terribly tempted to buy one on a loan. We had long before decided we did not want to have debt and that buying vehicles cash was the only way we would buy them, but here we were with our 5th baby on the way and no van. Like I said, I was terribly tempted to head to the car lot anyway, but God said to wait. Two weeks later when nothing had changed I almost broke my resolve again. Again God said "Wait."
Two weeks after that, some friends asked if they could come over for awhile. "Of course! You know we love company!" They pulled into our driveway with a new van and handed us the title and a key to the nicest vehicle we had ever owned, FREE! Before this it had a been a little red hatch back, a big brown oldsmobile (both on their last legs), a couple $500 cars that should have cost us much more, and a nice gold crysler (but too small for our family).
Soon after our fifth child was born our washer and dryer gave out. This had been an old set my in laws had purchased at a yardsale and given to us two years prior. It was nice but on it's last leg to begin with and finally gave out. I was stomping clothes to wash them in the bathtub (and then hanging them to dry) and crying out to God, "Lord, you know I have 5 children and this is just not ideal laundry options for our family! Is this a time we should go get a loan for a washer and dryer?" I heard him clearly say, "No. This week."
That was on Monday. On Saturday I got a call from Sears. "Your washer and dryer are available for delivery. Can we come now?" We didn't order a washer and dryer! Ah, but someone else did. An annonymous donor from our church.
God has MANY times over the years revealed himself as Jehovah Jireh to me. I remember once when we were living with Gary's folks in CA. We had been there 5 months with our first little baby and it was time for us to move out. We had been looking for an apartment and nothing was working. Finally we found something and were approved to move in. We had the first months rent but were lacking the $1000 deposit which obviously was required. It was two days before the deposit was due or we'd lose the apartment, the manager was asking me to sign papers. I spoke with Gary and we prayed. We believed God said to go ahead and sign, so we did. As soon as we got home the phone rang. "I have a friend that needs her house painted in two days and she's paying $1000. Would you like the job?"
I remember checks in the mail in the nick of time. Groceries on our desk just when we needed them. I remember once when we were out of milk and other groceries and I knelt at the couch to pray. 15 minutes after I got up there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a friend there with a bag of groceries in one arm and a gallon of milk in the other. I could only laugh.
One summer, I was pregnant and our apartment was very hot. The only air conditioner was downstairs which of course left the upstairs sweltering. We came home from church one day to find a brand new air conditioner unit in the box sitting on our door step.
There have been annonymousely paid bills, checks given through church offerings to our name, money passed in handshakes, and this doesn't even begin to count all the times we've received hand-me-down clothing... for every member in our family, some with tags still on! There have been shoes, bikes, toys, blankets, baby things, diapers, wipes, you name it, it has walked through our door and just at the time we needed it. I remember once when we thought we weren't going to have food and next thing we know the youth group we served began showing up with food and supplies. So many, the cupboards and floor of our kitchen were full and overflowing and we had to say "Please, don't bring anymore!"
When we made a move with nothing more than what would fit in our van with 4 children- furniture and household goods were given and our house fully furnished. Christmas tree decorations. Hair cuts. School supplies. Books. Dates to special events and babysitters covered on anniversaries. One year a couple gave us $300 a month for a YEAR! Another year, mom provided free childcare so Gary and I could both work and get back on our feet.
One year we made less than $20,000. Had $17,000 in medical debt and paid off $11,000. How is that possible?
For 11 years of marraige we never made over $20,000 a year and yet we never suffered real lack or went hungry even with a growing family. (6 kids in those 11 years!)
And recently when we thought we had hit rock bottom and had no forseeable way out, God did it again. He picked us up out of the mire and set our feet on a rock. Literately. The house we were living in- though in itself a huge blessing- was in an area that flooded whenever it rained until our yard was a lake. But he moved us to a house built of stone. He took us from rags to riches and blessed us beyond our imaginations. He took us from no job to two full time jobs and the chance to catch up and get ahead... again. God is a God who goes above and beyond our wildest imaginations and provides RICHLY FOR OUR ENJOYMENT! He is JEHOVAH JIREH MY PROVIDER, His grace is sufficiant for me.
Stay tuned to hear how I know Jehovah Rafa (Healer), Wisdom, Constant Companion, Hope, Love...
These are The Words of My Testimony.