Keeping the Lights On

I swung open my etched glass front door and smiled at the man on my front porch, asking what I could do for him.

“Ma’am, I’m here to turn off your electricity”, he said.

I told him to come in for a moment and asked how that could be possible. He told me that I hadn’t paid my bill that month, and he had orders to turn off the service. “I’m sorry,” I exclaimed. “I don’t know how that happened! If I give you a check right now, can you leave the service on?” He nodded, and told me he needed to be paid $278.

I walked to my kitchen and wrote the check – knowing full well I had only $11.00 in my bank account.

I thanked him for stopping by, and with a smile I closed the door – but as I turned, the smile faded and my thoughts turned to my predicament. I knew I had a day or two before the check bounced, so who could I call to ask for $278?

Suddenly something just rose up in me. I stopped in my tracks, looked up and said “No! Father, YOU said that you will take care of my needs. YOU told me to trust You for my provision. So I’m not telling anyone about this, and I’m trusting You. If You get me the money, great. If You don’t, my lights will go out. So be it. I’m tired of living this way.”

I felt a bit of a swagger coming on. I had taken a stand. I called God on His promise. Perhaps that should have scared me a bit, but after years of unemployment, scrapping to feed my kids, and now in process of losing my home, I was tired of the treadmill.

Help me or don’t, God.
I’m done.

The following day I walked out to my mailbox. I called it my daily “walk of death” because of all the overdue bills and collections notices which filled the box every day. Reaching in, I pulled out the expected pile of envelopes – but right on top there was one that caught my eye. A large card envelope, with my name and address handwritten on the front. No return address, and a postmark from a neighboring county.

And it was fat.
I opened the envelope and immediately saw the cash.
A bunch of $20s.
A few $10s.
A $5.
And (3) $1 dollar bills.
Exactly $278.

The card simply said “Jesus loves you.”

I was shaking as I returned inside, My mind was racing. I hadn’t told anyone I needed the money. No one! More miraculously, the card was postmarked the day before the worker had shown up at my door.

My teenaged daughter asked me who sent it. My answer was quick and instinctive. “It was Jesus.”

“Well, if Jesus sent it, why didn’t He send $10,000?” she joked.

But I knew.

I knew that he sent exactly $278 to prove to me that He heard my prayer. He honored my faith, even if was accompanied by a bit of snark.

If He had sent me $250, or $300,I might have though it was a coincidence. With the exact amount, I couldn’t deny that He had stepped in to help me.

Whether He inspired someone to count out exactly $278 in bills, or He manifested it right inside my mailbox didn’t matter. Something took hold of me that day.

I realized that His promises were true.
I realized that I could trust Him completely.

Since that day, when I need something, I tell only Him.
I tell Him that if I really need it, I know He will bring it.
And if He does not, I trust that I didn’t really need it.
The miraculous life which has transpired is extraordinary.
And 10 years later I am still living a life of radical faith, and He has never let me down.

But the beginning of it all was the day I trusted Him to simply keep the lights on – and learned that when it comes to His kids, He cares about every detail.

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