“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Some years ago we were overseeing a group of youth who were strongly gifted in service and mercy. The Lord led me to meet with them once a month on Sunday night in a group called “Serve to Lead” with the intent of helping them acknowledge and use their gifts. We spent time praying, exploring service and mercy in the Bible, and reading biographies of modern Christian servants.
The church that we were serving in at that time was having a mighty financial struggle. There were weeks at a time that we would go without a paycheck. It was frustrating to watch my husband pour out his heart in faithful service week after week with such strain and uncertainty on our finances. By the time Sunday evening “Serve to Lead” group came around, my heart was not always in the right place. I was struggling with doubt, fear and anger. It never failed that God used that group of young people to encourage me in my faith.
One Sunday evening the Lord told me to load those young people up and take them to the local grocery to buy groceries for a needy family in our congregation. God prompted me to split them into pairs and have them ask God to show them what to buy. I had no money—I mean none. I was so anxious having these kids in the grocery collecting items by faith with no way to pay for the groceries.
When we gathered back together one group had peanut butter and jelly and a different one had bread. One group had buns and another had hotdogs. One group had cereal and another milk. All by the Holy Spirit’s prompting and without any human conversation!
They were so excited at how God had answered their prayers. They all turned to me to find out who was paying for all this. I said, “I believe that whatever you have in your pockets is going to pay for this”. (Remember this was a group of young people who had showed up at church for a bible study and prayer). We didn’t count what they found in their pockets, we just went to the checkout and the clerk scanned the groceries, and then every kid who had some money gave it to the clerk. We had exactly, down to the cent, the total cost of the groceries. Those young people shared their story with the clerks who gathered around and we even had prayer with the clerks right there in the grocery.
Tough times can cause us to doubt, even sin in our unbelief, but with the help of other people of faith sharing the burden and encouraging us, we can hang onto the confidence we have in Christ and in his perfect provision for us. I left that grocery so encouraged that my God would supply all my needs and that I could trust him even when my pockets and my bank account were empty.