We're days away from Christmas and if you're like me (hopefully you aren't) you still have some shopping to do. We all do our best to get our loved ones "that perfect gift" and hope our selections elicit emotions of excitement and thanksgiving once the carefully purchased or handmade presents are revealed from their festive wrappings. Giving good gifts that have taken thought and maybe a little creativity and preparation bless us - the giver - with great joy and a sense of satisfaction of a job well done. If that's true for us, how much more true is it for God who has a bottomless treasure trove of blessings from which to hand-pick for His children whom He loves?
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17
I want to share with you a story from my past that every time it re-enters my mind, it further reinforces in my heart how much God loves us. If you're wondering whether or not God truly cares for us in a deep, personal way - which is a question that sometimes haunts us, especially when enduring difficult trials - my prayer is that this true tale of the borderline miraculous will encourage you, too.
It begins in the spring of 1994 when I lived in Alexandria, VA while working as an intern at the Pentagon. There are several divine stories related to how I got my position and from my time working there, but those will need to wait for another time. For this particular account, what's important is what I learned while attending First Baptist Church of Alexandria on King Street.
A workshop was given there one Saturday, I believe, on the various names of God and how we should approach Him in prayer based on those names, which reveal to us who He is - His character. For instance, God is El Shaddai, which means Lord God Almighty. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who Heals. He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord will Provide. And there are many others. I'll provide a list for you to ponder that I found online.
Immediately following this workshop, I began going before God in prayer with a better understanding of who He is and it positively impacted my prayer life. It wasn't long after this that I received my next assignment to go overseas - a lifelong dream of mine to see more of the world. Before I left for Germany in June of '94 I boldly began making my petitions to Jehovah Jireh, my provider. There was no doubt in my mind, or so I thought, that the Lord wouldn't give me my list of desires. I requested the following: 1) A Home where I Could Entertain 2) A Yard where I Could have a Garden and 3) Access to a Piano.
These things may sound superficial but were vitally important to this then 24 year old because I had spent two years outside of the D.C. area renting a room in a condo where there was no room to entertain guests. There was no land in which to plant anything. And I missed my piano that remained at my parents' house. For the record, I took piano for nine years but today can barely play "Mary had a Little Lamb" but still rock at "Chopsticks" like nobody's business.
When I arrived in Deutschland to work for American Forces Network, a co-worker was assigned to assist me in finding a place to live. One of my supervisors suggested I live in his town, Wiesbaden, which was 25 miles from AFN, which at the time was headquartered in Frankfurt. That sounded good to me, so that's where our search began.
I soon learned that my requests I had made to God were pretty lofty ones. Germany isn't a large country, which means land isn't plentiful, so most people live in apartments. Those who actually lived in houses didso because they shared it with their parents and grandparents. Multiple generations living under one roof was commonplace. I also soon realized I should have prayed for a place with a kitchen, because I didn't know that Germans took their kitchens with them when they moved. Who knew?
But our search didn't last long. We inspected a room for rent in one house and determined there was too much wrong with it to call it home for my four years. My co-worker, Ken, called up the landlord of another house in Wiesbaden and asked if he'd show it to us. He of course agreed, so off we went to see what was behind door number two.
We arrived early, so we sat on the street in Ken's hatchback waiting for the landlord to arrive. I couldn't help but notice what a nice residential street it was and how large the home's front yard was. There was a large window that went practically from floor to ceiling that stretched across the front of the house. It was hard to see inside because of the sheer curtains that hung in the window, though it appeared fairly empty.
The landlord finally arrived and unlocked the heavy glass and wrought iron door that lead into the tiled entry. As we entered, he explained in his broken English that the stairs going up lead to his brother's apartment and the stairs going down lead to where his daughter, Claudia, lived. The thought of having someone else in the house while new to a foreign land, if this were a good fit, was comforting.
We headed into the living room with the large window and short green carpet. It was mostly empty, except for one piece of furniture. An upright piano. When I saw it my eyes widened. I wouldn't have been more surprised had a big red bow been placed on top of it with a greeting card telling me "Welcome to your new home!" As he continued showing me the house my head kept turning back to the piano in disbelief. Why was this place empty, except for the piano? Evidently my stares caught the landlord's attention who asked me if I played. "A little," I told him. He then explained that the house had belonged to his parents, but they had passed away and he had all the furniture removed but the piano. He hadn't had time to schedule movers to get it out of there. "But, if you would like to play it I'll leave it here for you," he offered. I couldn't sign my name on the lease fast enough.
I'm getting teary-eyed as I write this. The house had everything I wanted: it was large enough in which to entertain, and I did have some of the singles over and the youth group that I eventually helped teach. It had a spacious front and backyard in which I could garden, but wound up growing weeds. And it had a piano that I enjoyed playing in my spare time.
My faith grew by leaps and bounds during my years in Germany because of the time I dedicated to reading my Bible and prayer. It was when I really began to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me and to trust the Lord more instinctively. He became my Jehovah Jireh. My provider. And it all began with Him showering me with perfect gifts that had absolutely nothing to do with my needs, but solely with quenching the desires of my heart. Even though I didn't always use the gifts well - and I'm convinced He knew I wouldn't. I honestly believe the Lord delighted in giving me what would bring me immense joy...and ultimately closer to Him.
Make no mistake about it, God is the giver of good and perfect gifts. We simply need to approach Him with child-like confidence that He'll provide for our every need...and even some of our desires...not because we're deserving, but because that's what a loving father does.
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.