The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. Psalm 23:1
The day had been long and difficult, and I found myself walking to the parking lot with head bowed, weary to the soul. Just as I reached for the car door, I noticed a bright coppery gleam on the blacktop. It was a shiny new penny, still warm from the Florida fall afternoon. Picking it up, I thought of that old song, “Pennies From Heaven.”
How appropriate that is now, I chuckled. We had moved to the new area just five months earlier, excited at the prospect of a new life–a new beginning. It had been an emotional break from friends and family, relationships built over a quarter of a century at the same address. On this particular afternoon, Florida seemed like a lifetime away from everything familiar. We had a gorgeous house not far from the beach, but it had taken most of our “seed money,” and things were getting pretty tight. Jim was trying to get established as a local artist, and I had found a job in a doctor’s office, but we had been unprepared for the local economy. Prices were higher and wages lower than we had experienced living in Pennsylvania. I was especially feeling the bite as the stress of a totally new career added more weight to my already sagging shoulders.
Many people had helped me pray about this move before I left the church job where I had ministered for over a dozen years. I knew this was where God had wanted me, but it just wasn’t working out as I had expected. Many nights I sat up late under the clear, starry sky, asking God to show me His will in this matter. Surely he was going to give Jim more work or move me to a new position where I made more money. Did He really bring me safely all the way to Florida, give me the perfect house and then expect me to just watch it all dissolve under a mountain of bills? I couldn’t believe it.
Things hadn’t changed much by the weekend as I made a trip to the grocery store for the few supplies we just had to have that week. While loading the bags into the front seat of the car, I spotted a penny lodged between the back and the cushion. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” I quoted Poor Richard, knowing we would need a whole lot more pennies to make it to the end of the month.
That evening I checked for the day’s mail, fully aware of the fact that is would be mostly bills, if there was any mail at all. Stuffed in the middle of the pile of advertisements and junk mail was a single letter with a check showing through the window. It was a rebate check I had forgotten I sent for, but really needed right then. What a blessing! Running to the computer I checked into my internet banking site, eager to see how this windfall would affect my account balance. As I updated my check book and balanced the account, I discovered a mistake I had made that resulted in a $100 difference–in my favor. Math never was my strength, but I could see God’s H
hand in this error. Between the two amounts added that evening, we had the next 2 weeks’ bills covered! Amazing.
By Sunday afternoon, coming off the high I always felt after a good worship service, I was singing as I strolled the local beach. While picking up some of the beautiful shells that littered the sand along the water’s edge, I noticed a round, dark object peeking out from a clump of seaweed and I pulled it out carefully. It was a sea-darkened penny! Laughing, I had to admit that I was finally getting the message. God WAS providing for us every day in all the little ways He surprised me with a check, or showed me how I saved money on something purchased at a thrift shop instead of a local department store. The lesson wasn’t about finding the right job or getting a different house, it was about trusting God when the situation seemed impossible.
Little by little, God was showing His faithfulness over and over, and I had almost missed the lesson because it came a penny at a time, not in a great windfall from heaven. Now, whenever I see a penny, I always pick it up and say a prayer of thanks for His faithfulness!