Her eyes opened to darkness hanging heavy in the room. She could feel the cool air on her face and she instinctively pulled the covers up over her nose. Why was she awake again in the middle of the night? Why did sleep elude her when she needed it so much? She rolled over gently not to wake her husband breathing rhythmically beside her. She envied him, she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since she could remember.
And it looked like this night would be no different.
After a few minutes, she made the decision to read her Bible. She slipped off the side of the bed and planted her feet firmly on the cold floor. She had to hold in a squeal, she had been so perfectly warm until now. She grabbed her old robe, which felt more like an old familiar blanket, wrapped it tightly around her waist and headed to the bedroom door. She heard her husband stir and she stopped in her tracks. No reason for both of them to be awake. Once he settled, she tiptoed to through door and into the living room. It was a small space, everything about their home was small. But she didn’t care, she shared it with the love of her life and they had dreams of filling the cramped rooms with the laughter of children one day.
She fumbled through the drawer until she found a match, then she lit a candle. The dark immediately rolled back, helpless to the light. It was nights like these she was so thankful for the old family Bible her mother had given her before she moved so far away. Oh, how she missed her beloved family. But, she’d said “I do” six short months earlier and that meant whatever happened she’d follow this man God had given her. She’d prayed for a husband for so long, so she wouldn’t complain no matter how hard it was to leave.
This was a journey they were on together. Poor as church mice, but happy as clams. A small house and small bank account didn’t matter to her, they were young and the future stretched out before them like taffy stretching on a hot summer day. She was excited for this new place and their new church. God had called them here to minister and she would do her best.
The cold creeped into her bones as she sat cross legged on the couch, candle in one hand and Bible in the other. She began to read words of encouragement and her soul felt warm no matter the chill bumps on her arms. God’s word never ceased to be her foundation, it grounded her when all else seemed to fall away beneath her feet.
“But, seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you as well.” Matthew 6:33.
She read it out loud in the smallest whisper, she knew the Lord heard.
“Father,” she prayed, “we need so much. Our cupboards are bare, the furniture is sparse, and you promised to take care of us if we seek you first. Here we are in the middle of the nowhere trusting you to provide a miracle. You promised, Lord.” She said more for herself than God.
She read on…
“I have never seen a righteous person forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Psalm 37:25.
She loved to read the Psalms, David trusted God with his whole heart and God always provided. That brought her such encouragement time and again. She continued to read, reminding herself God would always take care of their needs, he promised and she was naive enough to trust him.
She wasn’t sure how long she sat there, but the night began to give in to daylight and she could hear the old rooster begin to welcome the day. He didn’t seem to mind if the hour was rude. She blew out her candle and felt her way back to the bedroom to get changed. There was a lot to do today, but first she needed to take care of the animals. She dreaded the frigid outside air but even the cold couldn’t stop her from saying good morning to her chickens. They’d become more like friends over the last several months, and she knew they’d be waiting for their morning greeting.
As she slipped out of her night clothes and into her working ones, she quietly thanked the Lord for the eggs, she likened it unto the manna the children of Israel had picked up each morning while in the desert waiting to enter the Promise Land. She wouldn’t complain about the cold or the smell of the chicken coop, she would rejoice and be glad in this new day. She’d learned you could do a lot of things with eggs: omelets, fried, scrambled, boiled, and she was thankful.
She bundled up and headed out the front door straight for the old tattered coop.
“Good morning, Henrietta! Hello there, Stella! How are you Daisy?” She spoke to them all as she gathered the bounty. “Good girls!” She bragged as her basked filled. They wouldn’t go hungry today. Now, if only Lucille, their one and only cow, would give them a bucket of creamy milk, they’d be set! She marched to the barn with a prayer on her tongue. Lucille was temperamental and if something didn’t suit her, she’d leave you with an empty bucket.
“Be good to me today, Lucille,” she said under her breath, it hung like a thousand tiny crystals in the air.
She pulled the old creeky barn door open and the smell of manure accosted her. “Good morning, Lucille! I hope you slept well!” She said while rubbing her hands together for warmth. Lucille was in an especially good mood and greeted her with a hearty low. Her bucket was nearly half full for her effort and she lugged it into the house so thankful for God’s provision.
“Why do I doubt, Father? You always provide. Eggs and milk and wood for the stove. It’s more than enough.”
She began to sing an old hymn while she cooked, one of her favorites.
The first verse said it all for her this morning.
“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
–The Solid Rock
In a day and age when we have abundance, it’s easy to forget small beginnings. I don’t know about you, but when I first married we had so little. I wish I had savored those times more instead of wishing for our lives to be easier.
Our greatest growth happens in hardship. Many are in the midst of a difficult time right now, the world is so upside down.
God has not forgotten us.
He has not forgotten YOU.
He sees and he will provide.
Don’t let your hope be built on anything less.