Finances were sparse, yet my fiance, Becca and I were enjoying our new found love for each other. The Lord was showing us how eager and able He is to satisfy all our needs. I'd just had a mild stroke. It's what they call a TIA. And was unable to continue working in the line of work in which I'd previously been engaged.
Becca and I both resided in the same apartment complex. One day, discovering her smile for the first time, the world seemed to get brighter. But that's a story for another time.
I was struggling financially, yet God has promised to provide as long as I keep seeking Him with all my heart, and putting Him first. My monthly rent was due, but I was short by exactly seventy-seven dollars and fifty cents.
Talking to my pastor on the phone, I told him about my situation.
"Because of my stroke, I had to quit my job. I don't have enough to pay my rent, but God is Jehovah Jireh: 'the Lord who provides'. I'm anxious to see how He does it. My rent is due today!"
"We'll be praying for you Sheldon. And we'll see if someone can help."
Of course I was thinking the needed funds would come through the church or from some kind hearted Christian. But God was determined to show Himself mighty!
Searching through my belongings I tried to find something I could part with to sell at a pawn shop and procure the needed cash. But there was nothing I was willing to give up. Kneeling at the edge of my single bed, I bowed my head and lifted my voice to the heavens.
"Dear Lord, I don't have all the money to pay my rent. You said in your word that you will take care of us and make a way. And you always have Lord. I Thank you in advance for providing these funds. I am convinced that you are going to take care of this. I believe you are faithful and I trust your word. I ask this in the name of our precious Lord Jesus, Amen."
Now God had taught me previously that I'm not to expect blessings to just fall from the sky, while I sit on my hands and do nothing. I must do my part and try to earn my way. We must meet God half way. On my way out, I met Becca in the hallway. We decided to head downtown together.
"I just might find some odd job I can do."
We both started feeling a little sleepy and sluggish, so we went first to a Starbucks, where Becca bought us each a cup of strong coffee. Parking ourselves at a small round table, enjoying the view of downtown, which swarmed with interesting, strange and wonderful people, we tried to brainstorm for an answer to my problem.
Starbucks was really jumping with business, so we didn't notice the young college age couple when they first came in. But as they neared us, they stood turning in circles eyeing all the patrons. Becca said, "They must be looking for someone."
The fellow suddenly made an announcement.
"I need a person who'd like to make an easy seventy-five dollars. It will be fun, and you don't even have to go anywhere—you can do it right here."
My hand shot up like it was spring loaded.
"What do I have to do?"
"We are playing a game. It's a puzzle for teams of participants to solve, based on clues gathered from people they must hunt for and find. You would be a clue giver."
"Okay, we can do that."
"Well let me explain. You need to make up a series of actions that you repeat over and over again, until the group notices. They'll ask you for the clue. The groups will come in one at a time."
"How will I know it's the right people? This place is packed!"
"The groups will find this location from a map. When they come in they will all clap twice, and that's your cue to begin your series of actions. But they have to find you. You cannot tell them you're the clue giver until they pick you out."
The couple handed me a check for seventy-five dollars and then skipped out the door with big grins.
The series of actions I invented began with me taking out my cell phone and scrolling through the messages stored there. Next, I rummaged around in my satchel, but took nothing out of it and set it back down. Then I'd look at my watch, take a sip of coffee and smile at Becca. I'd then say, "You are so beautiful!" That would be followed up by a kiss. Then the series would begin all over again. Pretty sneaky way of getting extra kisses, right?
A total of five groups came through one at a time about ten minutes apart. We had a great time playing our roles, and the college age people loved our performance. As they would finally notice us doing the same thing over and over they'd point at us and yell, "Clue-giver". I would respond with their clue, of which I never learned the significance. "Alcatraz is an island."
I've never had so much fun earning my rent money! Perhaps the Landlords would forgive me for the two dollars and fifty cents I still lacked. Walking back to the apartment, Becca and I rested on a bench in the park, where I poured out my grateful heart to Jehovah Jireh in praise for His faithful provision.
The park was abandoned, with not a soul in sight, except for me and my wife to be. And as the sun blazed down, we enjoyed the shade under a huge oak tree holding hands and talking of past miraculous provisions from God. It was soon time to leave. I had to pay the rent before the apartment complex office closed for the day. As we stood, the wind swayed the branches of our giant shade proffering tree, allowing a shaft of sunlight to glint off a shiny object setting on the end of our bench. It was two quarters, stacked one atop the other.
I now needed only two dollars and the rent would be fully paid. Stopping by my apartment to change clothes, I gathered the funds and headed out the door thinking of what I'd say about the two dollar shortage. Digging in my pants pocket for keys to lock the door I pulled out two one dollar bills that had somehow escaped my notice. I recounted just to make certain. Yep, the full six hundred was there.
I should have realized God wouldn't just partially provide. He is a God of wonderful ways, delightful mystery and awesome power. The following month, He did it again, only in an entirely different manner. But that too is another story.