It caught my attention as I crossed the street the first day of my new job. It was embedded in a patched piece of pavement in the middle of the crosswalk. There it lay, shiny and immovable. I smiled when I saw it, and found myself quoting a promise from the Bible that has become my mainstay. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ¹
It was January 7, 2013, but my mind flew back to Beijing, China, to March 26, 2006.
As a widow on a fixed income, life is often a financial struggle for me. That month of March had been a particularly difficult one. I was receiving gifts each month to help with my finances while teaching English as a Second Language in Beijing. God always supplied what I needed and most often through those gifts. There were frequent tears of gratitude when He would once again come through. However, the amount from gifts that month was the lowest I had encountered, and I simply didn’t know how things could work out ~ there seemed to be no visible solution.
Not long before that, I had read a very touching story about pennies, and how God had spoken an important life lesson to someone regarding trusting God at all times for all things. (See below for the article.) On March 25, I pulled up the story from where I had saved it on my computer and printed it out. I taped it to my wall to help myself remember to trust God.
Now, remember, I’m in Beijing, China where U.S. coins are not just lying around. Yet the day after printing and posting the story on my wall, as I was walking down my street in Beijing, I looked down at my feet. I did that quite often because you never knew what might be on the sidewalk that you would want to avoid! There at my feet lay a U.S. penny! I stopped short and stared down at it, scarcely believing my eyes! How could this be? Nevertheless, there it was! Yes, even though the sidewalk was dirty, I reached down and picked up that penny! I put it in my pocket, took it back to my apartment, and placed it where I would see it several times a day. It served as a constant reminder that God is trustworthy and would always provide what is needed.
Although I have been the recipient of His miraculous provision many times, there was no “miracle” of provision that month or the next. However, I made it through! Those are the times when He teaches me to keep my eyes on Him, lean on Him more completely, and wait patiently for Him. He uses even the toughest of times to bring about His good for me!
And now nearly seven years later, here I was crossing a street in downtown Tacoma, preparing to start a new job. Once again, I could scarcely believe my eyes. In the middle of the street? So embedded in a patch on the pavement that it couldn’t be removed? Once again Philippians 4:19 filled my thoughts ~ “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Each day as I cross the street, I am reminded once again of God’s faithful provision for not only my financial needs but also for the myriad of other needs that are part of living!
I recently shared this with a friend. She immediately picked up on one of the homophones for “cent.” She reminded me that we as Christians are to be the “scent” ~ the pleasant aroma ~ of Christ to everyone we meet. That took me to another homophone ~ “sent”! God has “sent” us to the world we live in to be ambassadors for Him. As we yield to Him daily, He can work through us in unique ways to “supply” the needs of others from His unlimited riches in Christ Jesus. It won’t be us doing the supplying; we will simply be a conduit through which He can move to show Himself and His love to the people of this world.
Each time you see a penny, let this “cent” serve as a reminder that you are to be His “scent” to those around you. May you allow yourself to be “sent” many times and in many ways to fulfill His desire for the world to know Him and His great love!
If you have never met the Provider or have never given your life to Him, I encourage you to start on the most amazing journey of your life! Oh, not in order to see His faithful provision, but in order to know the One who knows your name and loves you with a love that will not let go! If you want to know how you can do this, please write. I will be glad to introduce you to Him!
This one will make you think…
Several years ago, a friend of mine, and her husband, was invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the water-way, and cars costing more than her house. The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host, and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.
As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts. Still silent, the man reached and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?
Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She causally mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some
A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?
“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”
She read the words “United States of America.”
“No, not that; read further.”
“No, keep reading.”
“In God we Trust?”
“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin, I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him! Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”
When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message.
It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful… And God is patient…
If you know the origin of this story, please leave a comment so I can give proper credit.
¹Philippians 4:19 KJV Public Domain
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