I was a poor law student living on $300 a month, and as soon as I saw the police cars down the road, I instinctively put my foot on the break. I couldn’t afford a ticket.
It was just a police checkpoint though. I slowed down, stopped beside the officer, and handed him my driver’s license. He furrowed his brow.
“You’re going to need to pull over. Your license is expired,” he said, writing me a $50 ticket.
I was crushed — $50 was my entertainment budget for the month. With my monthly entertainment usually consisting of a haircut and 13 visits to Taco Bell, this was more than I could handle.
Fortunately, the officer told me I wouldn’t have to pay the ticket if I got a new license within two days. But I was two days away from my first law school exam. I didn’t have time to do anything but study, but I also didn’t have $50 to spend on a ticket.
The next day at the highway patrol office, after an hour-and-a-half wait, a heavy-set blonde haired lady finally called my name. I sat down for my mug shot, filled out some paperwork, and waited for the license to come out of the machine.
“That’ll be $22,” she said.
“Oh no. I heard it was $17.”
“It used to be – it’s $22 now.”
“Uh – ma’am, I’m really sorry about this, but I’m five bucks short,” I said.
“Then you can’t get a license,” she said flatly. “You’ll have to come back and get in line again.”
Going home to get $5.00 wasn’t an option. I literally needed every minute to study. In her one act of grace, the iron maiden of the highway patrol let me run out to my car to dig for change in the seats.
Despite my best efforts, I only managed to come up with $1.24 in change – $3.76 short.
“God,” I prayed in embarrassed frustration, “could you please give me $4.00? Like, could You just make it appear somewhere?”
Desperate for a miracle, I got out of the car and looked in the parking lot to see if the money was lying on the ground. It wasn’t.
I would have to go back and tell the heartless, portly woman that I would not be getting my license that day. I felt poor and pathetic and defeated.
As I shut the door to my car, an older, brown-headed woman drove up in a blue truck, parked, and got out. Then, without provocation, she walked straight over to me, and looked me in the eyes.
“Do you need something?” she asked, as if she already knew what I needed. I was taken aback.
“Uh – yes, actually I do,” I said. “If you don’t mind – I mean, I actually need four dollars.”
I then tried to explain my story, but before I could finish, she had taken four dollars out of her wallet and put it in my hand. My jaw dropped. I could hardly contain myself.
“You’re not going to believe this, but – just before you drove up, I asked Jesus to give me four dollars. And then – you just showed up and asked me what I needed. I mean, it’s like Jesus drove up and gave me the money.”
She smiled and said, “Well, I guess He’s got His children everywhere, doesn’t He?”
In a stupor, I went to the counter to pay for my license, thanking the kind woman again as I walked out. She took $20 out of her purse and tried to give it to me. “Are you sure you don’t need more?” she whispered.
“No, thank you,” I said. “That was just what I needed.”
To this day, I marvel that the lady so boldly approached me in the parking lot. Though she didn’t directly hear my prayer, God must have somehow shared the request with her. And thankfully, she was listening closely enough to hear His concern for my relatively minor need.
If she were like a lot of us, she might have ignored that prompting from God – it wouldn’t have been big enough. We want to change the world, to prove how big our God is, how big His plans are – but even a small task is big if it’s His will.
I prayed for four dollars, and God used a seemingly random lady to provide. But through her obedience, He provided more than pocket change. He showed me how much He loves me, that He cares about the details of my life, and that He sends people along to meet even my most basic needs (Matt. 10:42).
Most importantly, His love made me want to be more like that lady: keenly attuned to the voice of a God who longs to love a world in need of encouragement, sympathy – or maybe just four bucks.
Wow, what an incredible story! I love hearing about things like this. (Even when you're not posting incredible stories, I still like reading your blog =0) ) Keep up the great work. -Jess R
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God really does answer prayers but you have to take his blessings when they appear! It was hard for you but you took the money you needed. I had a similar experience before law school. I needed money $500 to move to Oxford and did not have any. I had finally turned it over to God and then the phone rang..with an unavailable number. I never answer those calls but I felt like I needed to and it was about being in a mock trial that coming weekend paid cash-$400! I was selected and during the event, if we agreed to stay later we got another $100. Sunday evening I left with $500 in cash, enough to rent an u-haul and buy an ac for my apartment! I wonder how many calls God sends out that are never answered!
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I love that God provided for you and, as you said, made you want to be more like the lady. And yet…in an age where the health and wealth gospel is rampant, I think it's also very important to remember that even if God hadn't provided that money for you (or that healing, or that job, or that spouse, or that money, etc etc etc) He would still be God and He would still be worthy of being worshiped.Even still, stories like these are an encouragement, and it does our souls good to recount them and hear them from others. So thanks for sharing!
Great story, Josh. And I don't think this is conflicts with the fact that the health and wealth gospel is not right. Health and Wealth says God will provide our wants. This story exemplifies that He takes care of our needs, an entirely biblical concept. thanks for sharing this!
Hey, thanks for the all the encouragement, and thanks for sharing your own story, Sasha (I would love to see some more commenters do that). And I like the discussion between Elizabeth and James. May God be glorified in all our lives today.
Josh, I love reading your blogs. They ALWAYS speak something to my heart. This one particularly hits home. My husbands job has recently been bought out by "big wigs" and the changes they've made have caused quite a strain on our finances. Just last week, his check came and it was gone after paying "pressing" bills. Literally, we had nothing left. I still had 3 medical bills that I needed to pay on because I didn't last month, and we needed groceries, diapers, etc. I prayed that morning. Lord, I'm thankful that you are my source, my provider, and my care taker. You know what this family needs even before we do….I left later that morning to pay my utilities and as I was driving out of the driveway I noticed the mail had already come (which was earlier than usual). I burst into tears when I stopped and pulled the mail out of the box. Sitting right on top was our tax refund.I LOVE serving a God who knows our every need even before we do. Even the little things that seem so insignificant to others are never insignificant to him.
Thank you for sharing this story, it was such an encouragement. I do love how God answers our prayers and gives us the opportunity if we are listening to participate in caring for one another in unexpected ways.
I've heard this story before, but it still brings tears to my eyes. God has come through many times for me with groceries, cash, or maybe just a simple encouraging card in the mail. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!PJ
I sorely needed to hear this testimony about God's personal love today.
I had an experience once that you all reminded me of: I was heading off to Dallas/Ft. Worth for a semester of Grad School. Coming from an Arkansas town of about 50,000, the size of the city was quite intimidating. I asked my husband to check my car over, see if it needed anything done before I left, to live by myself for 4 months. Well, Mr. Procrastinator forgot about it. A couple of weeks before I left, I had a flat tire. When I got to the tire store to get it fixed, the mechanic looked at my tires and said, "Maam, you Really need 4 new tires! Look!" He showed me how tread-bare they were, and then proceeded to replace them all for me. Then the next week, I was driving home from somewhere, when my car overheated! I was beginning to think that the Lord was telling me not to go, but my hubby checked out the car (finally!) and said "no wonder it overheated, the radiator is nearly dry!" Then I realized that God wasn't telling me not to go, He was getting the work done that I had asked my husband to do. I got to Texas and for 4 months never had a single problem with the car! Thank you Father for looking out for me when my husband was too busy.Oh, and I almost forgot: July 4th, a month before I was to leave, I developed Bell's Palsy! The right side of my face was paralyzed temporarily, and since I couldn't blink or close my eye, I couldn't work in the ICU for fear of infection, plus my vision was blurred. I was really worried about that, even though I had plenty of sick time, and I would lose it when I quit to head off to school. I talked to my pastor, and he reminded me of the 23rd Psalm: He MAKES me lie down in green pastures! He knew I would need to rest up before embarking on my new journey, and had a lot of preparations to make to prepare my family for a 4 month absence. I took 4 weeks off and boy did I need it! Thank you again Lord!
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It's great to hear all your stories of how God provides for us in our times of need. Thanks for taking the time to post them.
Oh man, I LOVE a story like this. I love it when He provides in such a direct, specific, personal way. It makes me feel so special and son-ly. Thanks for sharing! Reminds me I need to share my own story…
Let me tell you what happened to me yesterday. I went through the drive thru at Chik Filet yesterday and ordered a regular sandwich and a cup of water which came to $3.04. When I got to the window and handed them a 5.00 and .04 the guy at the window said the young man in front of me had just paid for my food. I sat there speechless – imagine me speechless!! The guy went on to tell me that the day before someone did that and it went on for 16 cars. I don't know if it was shock or what, but that sandwich upset my stomach something terrible. I am still blown away.
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