We were poor when I was a child, but I didn't know that. My cousins and grandparents lived like us, so that was accepted as life. I was born at a time of economic hardship--the Dirty Thirties. My parents tried to eke out a living on a farm in Saskatchewan, but after having no crop for three years, they wiped the dust off their feet and moved into the town of Watrous.
My dad needed a job, so he joined the Canadian Army. I was five years old when he was sent overseas to fight in WWII. At this time, a new church started in town, and my mom responded to the gospel by receiving Christ as her savior. The church faded, but Mom's experience was a reality that was unshakeable; she grew in her walk with God. For the next five years, my mom was a single parent, raising my brother, sister and me. She received a portion of the army pay and was a good steward of the Lord's provision. We were never without things we needed.
When the war ended, my dad returned home with training as a mechanic, and he was hired to work in a local garage. Although he received a good wage, he was an alcoholic and spent his time and money at the local beer parlor. On payday, Mom tried to get money for our needs before my dad went to drink, but many times we had to go to where he was drinking and ask him to come out. My six-year-old sister was usually sent in because he would come out for her.
Although we never shopped for new clothes from the store, our clothes were provided for us. I would jokingly say that we got new clothes when the Salvation Army got new boxes. As we attended their Sunday school and services, we also had good fellowship. Mom loved company and would invite the officers to come home with us for a meal. Meat and milk were not always affordable, but she managed to make tasty meals with or without them.
We moved when I was twelve and again when I was fifteen, but our home life remained the same as far as my dad's drinking was concerned. Sometimes my mom would get jobs cleaning offices or hotel rooms, and as we got older we were able to work as well. The Lord always provided what we needed. We saw His hand at work in so many ways.
Lately there is talk about a coming economic downturn. One report says that costs are rising on the staples people need, such as groceries and housing. For some people it doesn't mean much, but for others that can mean real hardship. Economists and money managers are giving good advice, but where do I begin?
The Bible would encourage us to begin with God. In Psalm 78, we have a good example of people who forgot God's past provision and did not trust Him for the future. They were supposed to tell their children so that hope would be instilled in them; instead, they tested God in their hearts.
They spoke against God, saying, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?" They remembered His provision of water from the rock but then asked, "Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?" They did not believe in His wondrous works they had already seen.
They provoked and grieved God and their disbelief limited Him. They chose not to remember His power and the signs and wonders He had performed on their behalf. They knew from experience that God was able to meet their needs, but they still asked the question, "Can God...?" They limited Him!
We limit Him when we do not remember His past provision. We limit Him when we do not believe He cares about our present needs. Before Jesus broke bread, He gave thanks. We take the limits off God, allowing Him to work on our behalf, when we give Him thanks for past provision. We remove the limits we've placed on His power when we trust Him for our future.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." This is dependence on God to provide what we need. God knows our needs but He wants us to include Him, daily.
In the event of an economic downturn or collapse, we can be assured of God's desire to provide whatever we may need. He invites us to come to Him, thanking Him for the past and trusting Him now and for the future.
Janna Spratt is the author of a collection of poetry, "Quiet Reflections", and a children's book, "Billy Goat and the Red Neckerchief." Her autobiography, "A Path Through" is a tribute to the faithfulness of God. She blogs at apaththrough.wordpress.com
She is a mother, stepmom, grandmother and great-grandma. Recently she has moved to Langley, BC to assume Guardianship of her brother who has suffered a debilitating stroke.
"A PATH THROUGH"
by Janna Olsen Spratt
Hardcover: 104 pages
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (April 18, 2012)