Jars and Jug: God’s Promise to Provide
by Wilson Hutchinson
On Fridays, Iâ€™ve been teaching Bible for the Family Center kids, via Zoom. Each week I teach them one of Godâ€™s names, and share stories that illustrate His Name.
For our class on May 22nd, I decided to teach them Jehovah Jireh: The Lord who Provides. As I was praying and thinking about which stories to tell them, the story of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath came to mind. Earlier that day, Becky had texted Chef Mike, Sara, and me with some disappointing news. â€œPlease pray for God to provide in his feeding of the 5000 way,â€ she concluded.
Usually I teach the Bible class from my room, but I needed to shop for 5000 Pies before teaching. I was running out of time, so I quickly gathered up my teaching materials, thinking that I might have to teach from the Training Center.
On my way to Restaurant Depot, I pulled up 1 Kings 17 on an audio Bible to re-familiarize myself with the story. As I listened, I thought, I should send this story to Becky to encourage her. I realized suddenly that I would be teaching on Godâ€™s provision from the place where our church has been providing food for families whoâ€™ve been struggling financially because of the COVID crisis. â€œWow, this is totally God,â€ I thought. By the time I started loading my car with food, I realized I wouldnâ€™t even have another option. I said out loud, â€œThank You God! Youâ€™re speaking.â€
Our Family Center Bible Class starts at 3:00 pm and I was a few minutes late. We played a game and then I taught about Godâ€™s provision. As I finished the story of the Widow of Zarephath, Emily Kazim raised her hand. She explained to the kids that our church has a restaurant called 5000 Pies, and she knew itâ€™s been tough for us financially. â€œWilson, I had no idea that you would be teaching this story today, and you didnâ€™t know this, but last week, as I was praying for 5000 Pies, God gave me this same story.â€
So immediately I said, â€œGod is speaking to us right now! Iâ€™m the manager at 5000 Pies. Itâ€™s been a tough season for us. Weâ€™re okay, but we barely have enough. Usually I teach you guys from my room, but today I ran out of time, and so I had to teach you guys from here at the Training Center. This is really significant, because 5000 Pies is right next door. When Iâ€™m finished, Iâ€™ll walk two doors down, right into 5000 Pies. God is telling us that Heâ€™s going to provide for us. We just have to give our first to Him, and trust and obey. And Heâ€™ll do the rest! Heâ€™s going to take care of us!â€
Two days pass. Itâ€™s Sunday morning. I decide to pull up the COVID Intercession Team spreadsheet to see what Iâ€™m supposed to be praying for. (We have a prayer cycle with two people praying for FOL every day of the week.) A comment from Daniel Groot catches my eye. Amazed by what Iâ€™m seeing, I realize that he had typed the comment on Friday, May 22nd, at 3:40 pm, just minutes before I started to teach the kids. Daniel wrote: â€œI see this image of the Widow at Zaraphethâ€™s jars, continuing to overflow as she provides for herself, her household, and Elijah. I pray that our neighbors, as they receive provision from the Lord, understand it is from Him and learn that he is their provider as well.â€
So, I call Daniel, and he tells me that he usually prays with Alice Becerra, but they couldnâ€™t coordinate their schedules on Friday, so he had to pray alone. He was really tired and didnâ€™t feel like praying, but he decided to pray anyway. He told me, â€œThis is such a good reminder for me. Prayer really is partnership with God!â€
At the end of my time with the kids on Friday, I had asked them to close their eyes and pray: â€œGod, how do you want to provide for me and my family?â€ I said, â€œThe biggest, most important way God speaks to us is through His Bible, but just like God popped this exact same story into Ms. Emilyâ€™s mind as she was praying, sometimes God speaks to us in our thoughts, or with pictures that we see in our mind. Most of the thoughts up here are just my own thoughts. And bad thoughts donâ€™t come from God. But some thoughts are from God.â€
Once they had opened their eyes, I asked if God had shared anything with them. A 4th grade boy raised his hand. â€œI saw this. It was Jesus, but he was standing in front of our front door so that no robbers could get in.â€
Three days pass. I share this story with Nayelli, and she says, â€œThatâ€™s interesting, because I had the same vision. I shared it with Caroline [who leads the COVID intercession team].â€ Three weeks earlier, Nayelli wrote that during her morning time with God she heard the first half of John 10:10, â€œThe thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,â€ but then she got an image of God standing at each of our doors, protecting us by not allowing the thief to come in. She saw the thief go from house to house, but at each one, the Lord was standing. She knew that His protection was not only for FOL core families, but also for a wider circle of West Long Beach families, whom we serve and love evangelistically.
Shocked by the miracle story of the jar and jug, this same 4th grade boy had asked, â€œHow full were they? Were they, like, full?â€
â€œThe Bible doesnâ€™t actually tell us how full they were,â€ I answered, â€œbut it does say that until it rained, they always had enough.â€