The U.S.-Mexico border isn’t open, but a migrant surge and a mishmash of messages and policies have created another crisis
P. has been out of prison for a year and is on parole. The Lord provided a temporary home on a lovely farm owned by an elderly couple, Don and Betty, for whom he cooks, cleans, paints, repairs the ravages of age, fells trees for the wood-burning stove, and mends jewelry. He found work with the contractor his brother is with. When that came to an end, the elderly widow next door had him renovate her kitchen. Another widow neighbor liked it so well that afterward he did hers. The pay has always been just enough to cover his expenses, but P. is grateful for the jobs and trusts God for his daily bread.
The daily bread issue came up pointedly as we rounded the bend into February and P. had fees and bills to pay, and insufficient funds. He wasn’t white-knuckling it. He told me the Lord has always provided—and then we didn’t mention the matter again in our conversations. But I kept the date in mind and was waiting to see what would happen. On the day itself I was like Nebuchadnezzar nervously broaching the lions’ den and crying out, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you?” (Daniel 6:20).
Late in the afternoon on Monday, February 4th, I got a text that P. had a happy story to tell me. What follows is what he shared that evening:
In the morning when P. awoke he had $33 in cash. Then he emptied the change jar where he always throws spare coins and counted $15 in silver, for a total of $48. He needed $25 for his parole supervision fee, $30 for another bill, and $80 for car insurance, for a total of $135.
It just so happened that Monday mornings are Betty’s ladies’ prayer meeting times, and the widow next door is a regular attendee. As she was leaving Betty’s around noon, she called upstairs for P. and handed him a thank-you note for the help he had rendered on a frigid afternoon one week earlier, unclogging the badly angled run-off pipe that was compacted with mud. When P. got around to opening the envelope, he discovered $20. With the $48 he already had, this was enough to cover the first two bills with $13 remaining, but not nearly enough for the car insurance.
P. phoned his car insurance agent about the payment due that day and got the secretary. He was on a monthly pay schedule and recalled that at some point in the past when he had switched from a six-month plan, the company had collected a month’s premium in advance. He asked if it were possible to apply that deposit toward this particular month’s obligation. The secretary replied that it was not possible, then asked his name and pulled his file. At that point in the conversation, she inexplicably reversed course and said his proposal was fine, “Not a problem.”
P. does not know what might account for the secretary’s turnabout. But a few weeks earlier, the agent had contacted him for a “Meet and Greet” in his office. The first thing the agent had asked was, “Tell me about yourself.” P. answered, “Well, I’m a Christian man.” This provided a way for P. to share his testimony and what God had done in his life in prison. The agent grew more excited as P. spoke, the minutes turned into an hour, and the meeting concluded with an invitation to a small group fellowship.
So P.’s bills and fees were paid for February. What will happen in March he does not know, but he always assures me that God’s provision is promised (Matthew 6:31-33). Jesus forbids concern about tomorrow except to do today’s sound planning for it. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (v. 34). There is work lined up for him in another state, when his interstate transfer compact finally comes through after months of inexplicable delay. P. believes his time in Michigan is drawing to a close.
All I know is that on February 4th in the morning, P. did not have the money to pay his debts, and that on February 4th in the evening he did.