One of my constant struggles right now is deciding whether or not to admit to my friends and family that I no longer believe like I used to, or like they still do.
While it has been a difficult journey, there are certain beliefs that I always had a problem with and am glad I no longer have to justify or contend with.
One of these is God as Provider. I never understood why God concentrated his provisions on a certain demographic (i.e., middle-upper strata families in North American) when it seemed he really should be attending to the more pressing needs of the rest of the globe.
And by “provisions” I mean First World “essentials”, things like parking spaces, 75% off sales at Macy’s, and tampons.
Yes, apparently God even provides tampons. Let me ‘splain.
I love my mother. I honestly do. She’s a good woman in every sense of the word: hard working, smart, dedicated to education, a brilliant cook, generous to a fault, funny, beautiful, and possessing the most loving heart imaginable. And she was and is a wonderful mother.
9 10 times out of 10, when something good happens, she gives her god credit for it. Also 9 10 times out of 10, when something bad happens, she gives her god a pass and tries to find – like a secret message in the bottle – the way he is planning to use this horrible thing for good, to paraphrase Romans 8:28.
There isn’t a conversation that occurs where she doesn’t call on the name of her god and praise him for this or that or the other. We have had two such cringing conversations in the past two weeks.
Right before Christmas, mom discovered a plumbing leak in the wall. A potentially damaging thing to happen at any time, but right before Christmas day (which she hosts) was the worst timing imaginable.
Now, she’s a widow who lives in a remote area. My sibling and I are both several hours away, so we were no help. She heard the leak in the wall and turned off the water at the pump. She was able to get someone out that day to take a look at it. He couldn’t fix it, but someone who could came out that afternoon. Very little damage was done inside the wall, the pipe was repaired, and the water was restored within 24 hours.
According to her, God did all of this. How likely was it that a widow in a remote area could identify a leak, shut off her own water, get two plumbers out in one day, and have the water restored? It was a miracle!
I couldn’t just listen to this without pointing out the obvious.
Thanks to her own keen hearing and quick thinking, SHE was the one who identified the leak.
Thanks to her resourcefulness and living on her own for the past 19 years, SHE was the one who knew how to turn off the water at the pump.
Thanks to the huge network of friends and community that SHE has made over many decades, SHE called in some favors and was able to get two different plumbers out to repair the problem.
If there was any miracle, it was the miracle of her own tenacity, her own resourcefulness, her own network of love that she built out of her own generous nature.
And, I suggested, if God wanted to do something helpful, perhaps HE could have prevented the leak in the first place….
She agreed that it might have been better to have no leak, and that she did due diligence. But “God helps those who help themselves” and “God promised to provide for widows and orphans” and “the plumber said he felt Jesus sent him there” were what she left me with.
And then, speaking of plugging leaks, that brings us to the Miraculous Tampon Miracle.
Our girls spent a few days with mom after Christmas, during which one of them happened to start her period. Being an older woman, of course mom had no menstruation provisions in the house. It was late at night and said girl asked if mom could drive her to the grocery store in town.
Again, with her sharp brain, my mom remembered a sample box of tampons had arrived in the mail a while back and that she had put them aside in case anyone needed them. She located said box and gave them to the thankful girl. Simple, right?
No. A MIRACLE from JEHOVAH JIREH!
If you need a refresher, a reminder, or have no clue what I’m talking about, “Jehovah-jireh” is one of the many names of God, the name used by Abraham for the place where he ended up NOT killing his own son Isaac (Genesis 22:14) because God provided the ram to sacrifice instead, causing some to define it as “The Lord Provides.”
In my mother’s weird southern American christian theology, the SAME god who asked Abraham to shed the blood of his only son and burn him as a sacrifice, and the SAME god (because god never changes, right?) who FORBADE ME to use tampons when I was a teenager because I might break my hymen and lose my virginity, has stooped to showing his love by shipping tampons in advance in case a girl just, you know, forgets. To show his glory.
In this modern first-world parable, months before said girl visited my mom, Jehovah-jireh knew that said girl would 1) be visiting, 2) be menstruating and 3) be unprepared, so he rigged the marketing department of a multinational paper syndicate to mail free tampons to the remote home of an elderly woman just so said girl would be blessed by his provision and the blood flow could be staunched with much rejoicing.
In other simultaneous news, 20 people drowned and thousands evacuated their homes due to flooding in Missouri.
Guess Jehovah-jireh didn’t see that one coming. Or maybe there just wasn’t a plumber or tampon large enough to help…