February 3, 2020
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Helen Roseveare was a veteran missionary, and I heard a true story from her life and it really touched me. And it reminded me of why I can face some huge needs with perfect peace. I thought it would be an encouragement to you today, too. Maybe you need this. Helen was a medical missionary in Zaire, and she told about the night she had tried to save a mother in the labor ward. And those efforts did not succeed. The mother died, left the missionaries with a crying two-year-old daughter and this tiny, premature baby. Now, they didn't have an incubator. They didn't have electricity to run an incubator, and they didn't have any special feeding facilities. And even though they lived on the equator where the nights got pretty chilly. So they wrapped the baby in cotton wool, put him in a box then, and they stoked up a fire. What they really needed was a good, old fashioned hot water bottle for the tiny newborn, but they discovered that the last one they had was burst and there was no way to get one. So they put the baby as near the fire as they could safely and they hoped it would be enough. But it was a touch-and-go fight for that little life. And then came the little girl's prayer.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Your Proven Provider."
The next day, the missionary, Helen, had prayers with the orphanage children. She explained the problem of keeping the baby warm enough; mentioning the need for a hot water bottle. She also told the children about the two-year-old sister who was crying because her mother died. And that's when ten-year-old Ruth started talking to God.
Here's what she prayed, "Please, God, send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, because the baby will be dead. So please send it this afternoon. And while you're at it, would you please send me a dolly for the little girl so she'll know you really love her?"
Well, of course, Inwardly the missionary was struggling even to honestly say "amen" to that prayer. I mean, after all, the only way God could answer such a pointed prayer would be by sending her a parcel from her homeland in England. And she had been in Africa for almost four years, and she'd never gotten a parcel from home! Besides, who would send a hot water bottle to someone living on the equator!
Well, that afternoon, a large 22-pound parcel arrived on Helen's doorstep, and tears came to her eyes. She asked the orphanage children to help her unwrap and unpack that package. And there were 30 or 40 pairs of eyes focused on this large cardboard box. The missionary lifted out some brightly colored jerseys, which she gave out to the excited children. Then the kids looked a little bored as she pulled out the knitted bandages for the leprosy patient. Then came a box of raisins. Then, as Helen put her hand in again, she felt...well, she had to pull it out to believe it. Yep. it was a brand new (you guessed it) hot water bottle! Helen later said, "I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed He could."
Ruth, the little African girl with the bold prayer, rushed forward and she said, "Well, if God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!" And He did. At the bottom of the box was a beautifully dressed dolly. The parcel had been on the way for five months! It had been packed by Helen's former Sunday School class, whose leader just obeyed a prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. Oh, yes, and a dolly. Five months before, God had provided the answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old girl to bring it in that afternoon.
Whatever you're facing right now, that's the God you belong to. That's the God who provides every need for you in the most amazing ways! So, would you relax in His proven provision and finally - our word for today from the Word of God. The promise that I saved until the end. Isaiah 65:24 - "Before they call, I will answer."