The challenge of walking with the God who knows me  

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Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.

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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Psalm 145:16

“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

We were settling down into a new home.  It had been quite a move and we were all fairly exhausted from it.  With a baby born 18 days after the move, Eva was especially tired.   I had a debilitating condition so she had carried most of the load.  Now we were installed and beginning to get ready for the new academic year and the beginning of ministry.

We were chatting one evening and Eva mentioned that she would really like a bottle of sweets so that we would have something to offer to people when they came to visit.  Not just a box of chocolates but a large bottle of them containing a couple of kilograms of “Roses” or “Quality Street”!  As she had been thinking of this she had already prayed that God would provide it.  Well, I thought she was crazy, I knew she meant it for visitors but I know my wife better than that.  We, the family, would be the people who would eat the lions share, for the desire would come and we would have some.  I explained to her that God would never give such a gift.  Didn’t the Bible say “When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2 NIV) And of course this would be pure pleasure.  I had never heard such a clear-cut example.  My wife smiled, and continued to pray because God is generous.

The next day we had invited our neighbours around to tea.  So, what should happen? Our neighbours from over the street came with a bottle of “Roses” chocolates!  I managed to keep on my feet, but I am sure it would not have taken too much to knock me over.  Not only was it the answer to what I had thought was a “wrong type of prayer” but then who ever brings a box of chocolates to a tea.  Even to a dinner one would only normally bring a small box maybe only a fifth the size.  Yet here they were coming to a tea and bringing a bottle.  It was completely over the top.

To me, here was an illustration of God’s generous provision.  Here is the God who not only gives, but in giving, blows away our expectations and our theologies.  This answer to prayer went on, for while we stayed at that house, the bottle was never empty.  Students and friends would happen to bring a box of “Roses” or “Quality Street”.  There was only one time in the six years we stayed at the house, that we filled it.  That bottle was a continual reminder to us of God’s love, and as the students learnt about it, it came to be called the “Miracle Bottle”.  I think it achieved as many miracles in changing their concept of who God is, as it did in my life at the beginning.