While working at Peniel Bible Camp in the early 1990’s, one of Pastor Gassman’s daughters would pray each year that God would provide a deer for their family. Each year, she would pray and then go hunting. And each year, God provided a deer for their family. Being a meat and potatoes guy, I was happy to take part in those family meals with the answer-to-prayer venison on my plate. As I recall, it was very good eating.
Fast forward a few years to November 3, 2019, and something similar happened but in a more unique way. One of the men in our church, had been hunting with no success. Each week, I would ask Dale how the hunt was and assure him I was praying for him. However, each week contained the same negative response — no deer yet.
Then it happened. During our coffee break between Sunday School and the morning service, I heard a thump which I took to be the front door closing. But when I greeted Dale at the front door, he asked me if I had seen the deer. Not sure what he meant, I looked out the door and saw nothing. He told me to look down the sidewalk. There beside the church was a deer which had collided with the side of the church and broken its neck!
For the rest of the day, I couldn’t stop smiling. We had prayed and God had answered that prayer in a very unique way. This reminds me of what God said in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Instead of putting God in a small box and expecting him to do as we imagine, sometimes God shows us that He is able to provide in ways we wouldn’t expect.
How often have you quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 to someone who was struggling with a situation? Probably lots of times. But stop for a minute and think of what the verses say. First, we are to trust. Second, we are to acknowledge. Trusting and acknowledging God go hand in hand. The first involves believing that God knows what is best and will do what is best in every event of our lives. But the second is not something to be left alone. After trusting God, and seeing his provision, shouldn’t we acknowledge His hand in our lives?
As a young Christian, I was given a copy of George Mueller’s biography. If you have not read it yet, you are missing out on a treat. Mueller relates how God provided for his personal needs and the needs of his ministries throughout his life. He often would thank God for the need provided before the need was met. So, he was a man of faith. But he also shared with others what God did for him during these times. As he acknowledged God’s repeated provision for him, many people learned that God was able and willing to help.
Working with a fleet of vehicles has given me the opportunity to pray for our drivers, and also to ask God for wisdom when purchasing vehicles for the company. My most recent prayer request was for wisdom in finding a reliable SUV for the company to drive in difficult areas near the railroad. We needed an SUV large enough to hold grown men comfortably but also to handle unforgiving terrain in some places. Before leaving the house, I asked God for wisdom in choosing a good vehicle. Thankfully, God answered that prayer.
When I arrived at the car lot, the advertised vehicle wasn’t quite as good as it had seemed in the pictures. The middle seat was a bit cramped, the suspension made noises over bumps, and some of the interior knobs were missing. After returning from the test drive, I asked about the vehicle parked next to me. As it turned out, this vehicle was less expensive, better equipped, and a better fit for what we needed. It wasn’t the vehicle I had planned on purchasing, but in God’s perfect timing, it was the one that we needed.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” — Proverbs 3:5-6