Part 7: Providential Miracles
Part 7: Providential Miracles
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
“Oh fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing” (Psalm 34:9-10).
God Even Provides Underclothes – 1933
Perhaps no miracle in our experience meant more to us in fortifying our faith than did this one. It was the spring of 1933, the year when the economy of Aroostook County was its’ lowest. Cash was nearly an unknown commodity and the church was the first and hardest hit. One Saturday Mother said to me, “Dad, what are we going to do for underclothes for the boys? They have on their backs the only union suits they possess. The rest are in rags.”
My response was the only solution I could think of at the time. I suggested we put the boys into their night clothes after supper, then wash their underwear and hang them near the stove and hope that they be dry by morning. This we did and Monday morning when we received the offerings from the Sunday services that constituted our usual salary we visited the local store but found no garments of the right size or weight. Then we drove seven miles to Mars Hill and were unsuccessful there also.
Finally I got a chance to go to Houlton twenty-five miles away, and there we found some of the right size but not of the right weight. Summer weight clothes in that country was unthinkable. So, another Saturday rolled around and the same problem faced us. Again…, the same question and the same answer.
Mother had the youngest lad in the little white tub, giving him a bath that afternoon when there was a knock at the door. Wrapping a big towel about the lad she went to the door, and opening it she was confronted by a woman stranger who was holding a package in her hands. Extending the package she said, “Would you be offended if I gave you this package?”
Mother assured her that she would not, and the lady placed the package in her hands then turned and walked away without saying another word. Closing the door Mother placed the package on the table then turned to complete her job on the young lad in the tub. When he was dried and clothed in his warm pajamas she turned and picked up the package, with a rather perplexed smile.
When she opened it, what did she find? Yes, there they were; three union suits the very size and weight which we needed, and which we could not find within a radius of twenty-five miles. Surely Psalm 23:1 and 34:9-10 are wholly true!
God Provides a New Hat – 1965
In the fall of 1965 I found myself needing a new hat. I had one, but too many grandchildren had trampled it to death in the backseat of the car. With the coming of cold weather my wife insisted I had to have a new hat and that without delay. My reaction was to insist that since it was unwise to buy a cheap hat being out in all kinds of weather, and not having ten dollars for that purpose, I told her I would take care of that need later.
A few days later I received a letter from a lady who was traveling in Europe with her son. In glowing language she told me of her experiences in France. Finally she extended her sincerest regards to several mutual acquaintances in Maine and then said she was enclosing a gift in appreciation of some courtesy I had extended to her when she was in Maine. She enclosed a ten-dollar check. and ended her letter with the following, “P. S., I didn’t know but what you might need a new hat”.
With a sincere, “Thank you, Lord”, I soon had a much-needed hat.
God Provides a Car – 1970
And they said unto him, “We have here but five loaves and two fishes”. He said, “Bring them hither to me”. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude” (Matthew 14:17-19).
In May 1970 I found myself driving a car of more than 137,000 miles experience, and giving me frequent warnings that it was about ready to quit. On my retirement income I could not see where another means of transportation was coming from. But God knew.
In August I was called to Aroostook County for the funeral of my brother-in-law. I started out with fear and trembling in that old car. To get the real significance of the experience I am about to recount, it is necessary to know I had become interim pastor of the West Harpswell Baptist Church beginning on May 24.
We arrived safely at my sister’s home. Greetings and amenities over, my sister said that my nephew Tickie Durost had gone to Flint, Michigan for a car, which his sister had made available for him. As she talked that voice which had directed my life so many times before said, “That is the car which I want you to have”. I did not say a word so you can imagine my surprise when later on our way to town my wife said to me, “Dad, that car Minnie was talking about is the car God wants us to have”.
The next day we drove to Presque Isle and on our way home we passed by the home of Tickie, my nephew. As we swung into the yard my nephew came out and his first words were, “Uncle Morley, are you interested in a car?” Assuring him I was, he pointed to a Chevrolet Impala in the yard and said, “There it is”. I had long wanted an Impala but could not afford one. The climax came when I asked what price he placed on the car. He gave a figure which was exactly what I had earned and saved during the four months of my interim service.
Two lessons were very clear for me from this incident. First, God never puts a premium on laziness. Second, God often provides for needs by touching with His miracle working power the little that we can provide. (Matthew 14:17-19).
God Provides for Our Unexpected Expenses – 1974
“Before he calls, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24).
At the beginning of these rambling memories, I observed that the recorded incidents had occurred from three months to forty years ago. Before I finished I expected some of later date.
In Isaiah 65:24 God says of his servant, “Before he calls, I will answer”. To me that means my God knows every need I will ever face and He promises to have the answer long before we even know what to ask for. Now let us look at this need.
On May 7th I felt an urge to visit my 92-year-old sister in Houlton. So with fear and trembling we started off in our old Chevy. We negotiated the 300 miles without a moment of trouble, in spite of the 144,000 miles it had traveled. During my three-day visit I went to the Presque Isle Hospital to call on a young man who was undergoing a hip operation of major proportions. As I stood by his bedside, that clear voice said, “Give him that ten dollars” (Psalm 37:4,5; Proverbs 3:6). I did so, and the smile on the face of that young man revealed immense instant growth of faith in the love and faithfulness of the Lord.
The morning we started home we had gone only seven miles when I heard a noise and looking back I saw the muffler and pipe lying in the middle of the road. After three unsuccessful attempts to get repairs in three different towns, we drove home 300 miles without a muffler. A visit to the Midas Company took care of the problem for $72.87. Two days later a rupture in the transmission oil system required $17.04 repairs. So these three outlays amounted to $99.91. Now for God’s vindication of His promise in Isaiah 65:24.
Two days before I started north a man came to our door, knocked and then walked in and up the stairway to our kitchen. His first words were, “Mr. Durost?” I answered affirmatively. Then he said, “I believe God wants me to give you this”. He then put his hand into his breast pocket and took out an envelope. I hesitated in taking it, saying I did not see how I could possibly rate anything from him.
But I was wrong, for how could I tell God how to meet my need, which I could not even foresee? “I do not understand, but I do know He wants me to give you this”, he said. I accepted it saying, “If it is God’s will, I do not want to argue with it”. Then the man turned and left the house.
When I opened the envelope it contained a blank sheet of white paper wrapped about a hundred dollar bill. Now I understand. The tithe of that gift was God’s way of caring for His child in the hospital. The $72.87 was God’s way of meeting the first need, leaving me $17.13 for the next emergency, which He knew lay just ahead. The $17.04 cared for that, leaving me 9 cents for the next one.
I am quite certain that my God who met the needs of a widow and her son out of one small unfailing cruse, and who fed 5000 men plus women and children with only five loaves and two fish can surely care for whatever needs he permits to get in my way as I am engaged in doing His will.