Read In Which Our Faith Is Strengthened by a Friend first.
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Throughout Saturday afternoon, I kept checking the two fifties to make sure they hadn’t disappeared. Every time, they were still there. Every time, I was amazed all over again.
Several hours after the mail came, an unfamiliar car pulled in the drive. Jenica bolted for the door, curiosity flapping in the breeze behind her, followed by Tarica. Linford went after them, more slowly.
I was putting some laundry away upstairs, and by the time I peeked out a window, the car was already empty. Probably Jehovah’s Witnesses, I thought. Whoever had come was standing on the porch out of my sight. I gave in and went downstairs.
Linford met me on my way to the door. “You need to come out here,” he said, an odd look on his face.
I stepped outside and saw the most unexpected people on our porch. Remember the doctor that took x-rays of Tarica’s elbow? I called him “almost a friend.” Well, I was wrong. It takes more than almost-friendship to show up on a Saturday afternoon with what they did.
I looked from Dr. Chris and his wife, April, to the basket on the porch. The girls were already rummaging through it, pulling out treasures and exclaiming over them. The basket held chips, granola bars, travel games, a lap desk with coloring pages, crayons, fruit snacks, and caramel popcorn.
“It’s for your trips to and from Pittsburgh.” Dr. Chris pulled an envelope out of the basket and handed it to me.
I tucked it under my arm and groped for words of thanks. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: It’s humbling to receive. We don’t deserve such generosity, such thoughtfulness, and if I cry at all these days, it is tears of incredulous joy.
We thanked them. We talked, of epilepsy, of Christmas. We thanked them again. They left.
“I can’t believe they did this,” I said to Linford as we looked over the basket.
“What will you do with it?” he asked.
“Save it. For Pittsburgh,” I said. “It’s why it was given, and I want to honor that.”
Back in my kitchen, I remembered the envelope still tucked under my arm. When I pulled it out, I noticed its curious fatness. I tore it open and found a Christmas card. I opened the card and—
“Linford,” I said, “you need to see this.”
The card held $200 in cash and a $50 gift card for Sheetz, a common gas station in our area.
I swallowed hard. My chest felt constricted, as if the breath had been slammed out of me. “I can’t believe this,” I whispered around the tightness.
Above all that we ask or think.
I groped for words of thanks, knowing it’s not enough, knowing, too, that He understands.
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I tell you this story because I don’t want to forget it. Sometime in the future, when I feel like God is ignoring our distress, when the darkness is thick on every side, when it seems as if epilepsy has swallowed us whole—I want to come back and read this story of God’s extravagant provision.
If He could do it once, He can do it again.
He will do it again.
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.