“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5
Living this life we do, even getting to our country of service, provides example after example of God providing for us…usually, just in the nick of time. We would probably like it if He showed up a smidge earlier, but what’s the fun in that, right?
This week, those of us from the States celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a great time for us to pause and reflect on all the ways He has been sufficient, the ways He has blessed us, and the ways He allows us to grow—tough as those times may be. So, I thought I’d share a few stories of how He has been sufficient over the years—sometimes in unexpected ways (I think those may be His favorite!). Join me in the comments and share your stories as well!
A few years ago, we were headed for a home assignment after two years of language study. Those two years, with paying for lots of extra things, put us into a significant deficit. Returning to expensive America wasn’t ideal, but we trusted that was part of God’s plan.
I remember journaling shortly after arriving home, wondering how God would supply the thousands of dollars in time for us to return. We had prayed about it and felt He didn’t want us to hit the fundraising hard, rather to just meet with people we hadn’t seen in years (some supporters, some not) and just be with them. Not make it about ourselves, our stories, and our ministries, but about how they’ve been and what changes have happened since we had seen them last.
He didn’t fail us. I began a list with the first family we met with. With literally NO mention of funds whatsoever, the next day, a check of $1,000 was deposited. Unbelievable. After that first meeting, it confirmed that He had it all worked out, and I was going to sit back and enjoy watching how it unfolded! Similar stories happened the following six months home. We would meet with people, and soon after, a large check was in the mail. He is sufficient. Every time!
Recently, I was standing at a small intersection on our campus, waiting for a friend to come so we could grab a taxi and go downtown. Pretty soon, a man walked toward me. I mistook him for a taxi driver and waved him off, saying I didn’t need one yet. He kept approaching. As he got closer, I recognized him as the man I’ve seen around before that has some mental disabilities. I’ve seen him before stand by or walk next to people and talk toward them, but not with them, often unintelligible. And they often ignored him, as locals do with most people who are the least bit different. He stood right next to me and began his monologue. I tried to understand, but it was gibberish—or some dialect I truly didn’t know! I wasn’t afraid of him, but I did start planning my attack if he tried to make a move.
After a few minutes, an older man walked by, looking at the both of us. He kept on walking, but soon turned around and came back. I’m guessing he assumed I couldn’t speak Chinese because he motioned toward the man, warning me that he wasn’t in his right mind. I motioned back that I understood and thanked him. Soon, my friend showed up and we were off. As soon as we started walking, Monologue Man started walking near us. Again, I wasn’t nervous, but I had a plan. Then I noticed the old man, walking in front of us, kept turning around and checking on us…several times, until we parted ways.
This may not seem like a big deal, but in this culture of everyone only looking out for themselves or those in their inner circle, it was a huge deal. There is almost NO common courtesy here, and most will definitely not get involved with something voluntarily. I thanked him again for his kindness; it truly touched my heart. That day, even though nothing bad happened, God showed me He is near. Always.
I’m sure we all have stories of visas or passports arriving at the last possible minute, care packages sent from someone who we haven’t heard from in years, medical care options in those scary moments, or even an random person (recently, for someone, that person was a prostitute!) helping with a simple act of service, but one that met a deep need.
Is He always sufficient? YES! We may not realize it in the moment, but that’s our humanity. We don’t get to see the whole picture..if we did, we’d want to control different pieces and events, and it wouldn’t work out how He perfectly orchestrates it.
I don’t think God likes to be put in our little boxes of expectations. He likes to blow them up with a grander story so that the glory can only go to Him and Him alone. This week, let’s see if we can look out for ways He is going to provide for us—sometimes it’s in the most unexpected ways!
This week, on social media, we put the vote to you: a side veggie or an easy dessert to make for Thanksgiving (or whatever meal you want!) It was actually close, but Apple Crisp was the winner! This is easy peasy and is a crowd-winner with its warm apples and crispy topping. Whether this is a last-minute addition to this week’s holiday menu, or simply to make you feel like you’re experiencing Fall, while you’re actually sweating it out near the equator–ENJOY!
My “helper,” stealer of all the pecans.
She’s beginning to learn how to “stir sloowwly, Mama” with lots of practice…and messes.
I’m late to the game. I used to use a knife to peel my apples. I bought this randomly at a local market and it peels fabulously!
For an 8×8 pan, I used 4 large apples.
Mixing the sugar and cinnamon mixture right in the pan saves cleaning a bowl. And this dishwasher-less mama is all about that!
My kids (and myself–who am I kidding?!) love to steal a few of these extra sweet, still crunchy apples before baking. Yum!
Baked to golden brown perfection.
Soft, cinnamon-y apples with a crunchy, crumbly topping. Doesn’t get better than this!
Easy Apple Crisp
Ready in 1.5 hours
Adapted from Joy the Baker
5 to 6 medium-size apples(or 4 large), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices. (About 7.5 cups)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, well-softened
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans (optional, but highly recommended)
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 350. Generously grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter.
Place a layer of apple slices in the bottom of the pan and dust with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Continue layering apples and dusting with cinnamon/sugar until done. Toss the apple mixture until evenly coated in cinnamon sugar. The apples should be just about to the top of the pan (they will cook down).
For the topping, place the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and oats in a large bowl and stir well. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Take one full handful of the topping and toss it into the sugared apple mixture. Spread the rest of the topping evenly over the apples.
Bake the crisp in the dish on a baking sheet on the center oven rack until the topping is crunchy and the apples are bubbling, 50-60 minutes. (If you have a glorified toaster oven, be sure to begin checking at the 50 minute mark.)
Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm. IF there are leftovers, re-heat in the oven.
**You can double this recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan.