Wow!! I couldn't believe it... I was in shock. I counted the thick wad of money... $1,000 in cash... an anonymous gift. The second anonymous (cash) gift in the past few weeks. It was $520 the first time. It didn't appear to be from the same source this time. Who did we know that could afford to be so generous? God is really trying to get a message to us with this one, I thought. I was shaking and almost giddy. I could sense the lady standing next to me as I counted the money wonder in disbelief (is this some kind of illegal money?) so I told her in my amazement that it was a gift and I had no idea who it came from, just that I found it on the seat of my car this morning. There was an envelope marked in green ink, "To the Stacks". It appeared to be written left handed so as to disguise the writing.
WOW!!! We were being taken care of! God is certainly with us in our struggles. I was struck with the certainty of His care and personal involvement in our lives.
We were having our share of problems recently. I had been out of work for the past few months (except for a part time temporary job I was fortunate to have found). My wife Peg was in the hospital with an uncertain prognosis. We were struggling to do our best each day to care for our family.
This has been a time of pain, fear, anxiety, doubt, concern, financial strain, searching, questioning... soul searching, spiritual renewal, support and encouragement, growth...
I called Peg at the hospital to tell her what had happened. She found it hard to believe too. She shared with me what she had read this same morning from her daily meditation book. The title this morning was God will provide. It was a true story about how God provided food for a Minister and his wife who were out of money and quoted scripture about the story of God providing a Sacrifice for Abraham (in place of his son Isaac).
Now we were no longer in disbelief as much as we were aware of God's involvement in these events and in our lives. We felt cared for and secure in God's love for us. Whatever his plan for us we felt He had given us a gift of faith to trust and be at peace about our situation.
I think that God has a great sense of humor. Later on that day I realized the burden of such an anonymous gift. Now we have to be nice to everyone... And as I think more seriously I'm reminded of the many blessings we receive from each other through the Body of Christ. Our gratitude and faith have been renewed.
Royal Oak, Michigan
At the time of writing, a Parishioner at St. Columban Church of Birmingham, MI. St. Columban is now called Christ Our Light church after a merger with St. Alan.
Bill Griffin, a frequent contributor to WTNESS.ORG, caught up with Mike a few weeks after this story was posted here to ask him what about those events made him aware of God's involvement. Bill was not doubting him - just trying to understand why he didn't just attribute it to the generosity of two people who wanted to help?
Mike had to think about it for a while. Then he explained, "It's easier to understand our conclusion when you know that Peg and I had a long-standing relationship with Jesus. It started long before the bad events started to happen. That relationship has a sort of quiet strength to it, and because of it, we did not curse or blame God for me being out of work or Peg being in the hospital. We developed a mature way of looking at the world: we don't expect our lives to be roses. When the bad stuff happens, we can accept it more easily if we offer it up as a sacrifice to be united to Christ's. Of course sometimes that takes a few days." Mike was smiling when he said that last bit.
Bill asked what he meant by 'relationship'.
Mike said "Jesus is not just an historical figure, but a person we have a relationship with. It's a give and take. We get to know Him. This seemed like something He would do."