B. CALLING AND BIBLE SCHOOL
TRUSTING GOD FOR OUR DAILY NEEDS
The more challenging side of attending Bible School, was as that of trusting God for our daily needs. Since the Bible School had no accommodation for married couples, the Board had decided that we were to continue living in our own home as before and provide for our own needs . This meant that we were thrust into a lifestyle of trusting God for the instalment on our house , rates and taxes, electricity and telephone expenses, food, clothes, medical and travelling expenses and for whatever other needs might arise.
This was quite a challenge for we had been receiving a salary that had covered our monthly needs. Now, all of a sudden that fell away. The Mission also had very clear rules in regard to living a life of faith. We were not allowed to approach anybody for material assistance or even to mention our needs to others. We were to pray to God to provide and to leave it to Him. This was something we had never done before.
Martie had not been earning a salary for quite some time, for she had wanted to be home to nurse our son, so our income had not been sufficient to allow us to save up anything. We entered the Mission without any financial reserves.
My mother was very excited about our entering into mission work; I think she had probably been praying for it for a long time and consequently was quite at peace with us doing so. My dad, however, was against it. He saw it as a tremendous risk and that he might land up in a situation where he would have to bail us out as, we would surely be getting into financial trouble.
His fears were not unfounded for, from the very first month that we were without our salary, we had insufficient funds to cover our expenses. In some way or other my parents got to know about this and my dad offered to lend us some money to see us through. This of course was very generous of him but when I prayed about it, I felt I could not accept his offer. If I was to start borrowing money right from the outset, where would I end up after the two years of Bible School training? Secondly, I felt that if I was unable to trust God for the needs of this life, how could I trust Him for my need of eternal life? Certainly temporary, short term needs were a much smaller issue than eternal needs.
Martie and I decided that that was definitely not the way we would be going and we got down on our knees and prayed a simple prayer, saying: “Oh God, please provide for our needs”. That was exactly what the Lord did. Money started flowing into our home from so many different sources. Sometimes we found an envelope containing a couple of banknotes, thrust through underneath our front door. Then again, money would come by post, or be paid into our banking account. My dad then had second thoughts and decided to give us a small sum of money to see us through, instead of lending it to us. God used different means but we had to take the first step by digging in our heels and taking a firm stand. That is how we launched out into a life of faith, a life of trusting God day by day. During later years there were again periods during which we earned a salary, but for most of our lives Martie and I, together with our two sons, were living this life of faith and, may I say, God never ever let us down.
That we were tested all along the way cannot be denied and the testing often related to our children. As you may have experienced, children just suddenly become sick, and if they have a stomach ailment, you have to get to the doctor and get medicine as soon as possible or they may not make it. When we enlisted as students, going into a life of trusting God, I decided that the time had come to close down each and every account we had, for, not having any guaranteed income, we felt it would be unfair to suppliers to run up debts with them. We would rather do everything on a cash basis. So our accounts with both our doctor and with the pharmacy were terminated.
On a certain night our little boy, Frans, suddenly developed severe diarrhoea and I had to get medicine on prescription for him urgently from our pharmacy. That was in the evening, after normal business hours.
I took all the cash I had with me, thinking it would be quite sufficient, but when the pharmacist handed me the medicine and the invoice, I discovered that I was short. I said to him: “Excuse me; I will have to go and get some extra money to pay you.” He immediately whispered: “No, no, Ben, don’t worry, we can just open your account. It really is no problem at all.” That was long before the days of auto banks and he knew it would be difficult for me to raise the money at that time of day. I however mumbled: “No thank you, the account has been closed; I want to pay you in cash.”
I went out to the car, sat down behind the steering wheel and started praying to the Lord, saying: “Lord, what now? Now I need a miracle because I must have this medicine for Frans is very, very ill”. As I prayed these words, it came to my mind that we had been putting all our small change into the cubbyhole, so I dug into it and recovered two hands full. Having counted out the required amount, I put it into a plastic bag and went back into the pharmacy. By that time there were many other people, all waiting to be served and because we were living in that area, many of them knew me well and greeted me. The pharmacist was surprised that I was back so soon and looked on as I took out the bank notes, silver and last of all the bag of bronze coins and laid it on the counter. The poor man was so embarrassed that he did not even think of counting the money. He just swept it all off the counter into a drawer or something and pushed the invoice as well as the medicine towards me. I looked up into the faces of the amused onlookers with a big smile, rejoicing because of what had transpired between me and the Lord and the fact that He had again found a way to help me out. I also knew that many of those people were living in debt and might not even have been in a position to pay their pharmacy accounts. So I left and got home to Martie, not only with specially anointed medicine but with a fresh testimony; medicine for the soul.
Once we ran out of meat. Martie came to me and showed me that we actually had just one short piece of sausage left and said that our deep-freezer was absolutely empty. We decided to cut the piece of sausage in two, have half of it that day and the other half the next day. The following morning, to our surprise, an uncle of mine living on a smallholding outside of Pretoria, phoned me and told me that they had slaughtered a heifer and would be bringing us some meat that afternoon. We did not know how much it would be but were astounded when he brought so much that we could fill our deep-freezer and had meat for many months to come.
A third incident that comes to mind occurred when the Lord met my need for a watch. In those days the “Roamer” and “Lanco” watches were the best. I had a very good “Roamer” but as time went by, its lifespan ran out and it could no longer be trusted to reflect the correct time of day. At that time watches were expensive items which were bought from jewellery shops. I reported the matter to the Lord, saying: “Lord, you know that they are very strict at the Bible School and that we need to be on time in everything we do. I need a watch for this purpose. Won’t you please supply in this need?” Two days later, we as students had an evening meeting with the Director’s wife. Before she spoke to us on the spiritual topic for that evening, she said: “Is there anyone here that is without a watch, for someone has donated a wristwatch to the Mission and I don’t really know what to do with it.” I put up my hand hesitantly for I thought there might be others having the same need, but no-one else responded and my heart leaped with joy as this brand new wristwatch was handed to me.
As I then gave testimony of how I had prayed for the Lord to provide for me, this incident became a double blessing, first of all to me, but also to this dear lady, our students’ “mother” and to the other students who were also living by faith and had all sorts of needs for which they were praying and trusting God. These small answers to prayer in which one can so clearly see God at work on one’s behalf, can sometimes have a tremendous impact on one’s faith.
GOD PROVIDES IN THE SPARROW’S DAILY NEEDS, SO HE NEED NOT FLY AROUND WITH A RUCKSACK FILLED WITH YESTERDAY’S CRUMBS!
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