“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
This verse has never been as alive to me as it has been since my husband died. To be honest, I’d forgotten it was even in there until my sweet cousin, Sarah, reminded me of it the week he died. She wanted to offer assurances that I was going to be ok. My kids where going to be provided for because God had instructed his people to take care of me.
I wept and then watched in amazement as the people of God did just that. People across denominational lines moved to help us in ways that still bring me to tears. I received blessing like the widow’s oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7 that just kept flowing. God performed a miracle to provide for that widowed mom and he keeps moving to provide for me, again and again.
One of my coworkers summed it up when he said, “I love to see it when God’s people get it right.”
Today I am reminded of this verse as I can’t seem to stop crying tears of gratitude. My kitchen sink broke last night. A seal at the base of the faucet snapped in half and popped out. Water sprays sideways when you turn it on. No leak is threatening to flood my house so I was thankful for that. But you need water in a kitchen.
I texted a pic to a handyman friend and he said the whole thing needed to be replaced. Sigh. There goes the money I had set aside for the kids’ clothes this week, I thought.
In the morning I posted on Facebook a call to see if any handy friends had time to install a new one for me. I’d looked up how to do it myself on YouTube. Nope. That’s not going to happen. I was hit again with how handy Kraig had been and grief made doing it myself seem impossible. No one replied and I thought of how busy my friend’s husbands are with their own home repair lists. I decided after my morning meetings I’d start calling handymen to get a quote.
Halfway through my meeting with the high school guidance counselor, my sweet friend and pastor’s wife, Katy, texted me. “Would it work for two guys to come fix the faucet at 4 p.m. today? They’ll bring a faucet.” Tears clouded my vision and I had to fight to return my focus to the meeting. I shared with the counselor why I was distracted and she teared up too. She said, “That’s amazing!” Jesus was glorified in her office today.
I love my church. Fountain Springs Community Church in Rapid City, South Dakota is growing by leaps and bounds, I believe, because they have determined in their core to show people who Jesus is—with words AND deeds. When Pastor David mentioned in a sermon last fall that this verse from James had convicted his heart, I sat up straighter. When he said he was adding a line item to the budget to help widows in need so this ministry would be part of who we are as a church, I cried.
To those who are Fountain Springers who regularly give to support the work of this amazing ministry, thank you! You helped our church be Jesus today to this widow and her four kids. You provided for this by your faithful tithes and offerings. You may not be one of the great guys coming to do the work, but you are partners in the ministry being done in my little house here in town.
I hadn’t even thought to call the church and ask. But God knew to make sure my post on Facebook caught Katy’s attention.
So today at 4:00 I will have everything ready for two great guys to come be the hands and feet of Jesus to this widow. Today I will again thank God for his provision when I didn’t even think to ask. And today I will encourage others to reach out to the widow and the orphan in practical, tangible ways because you often have no idea what a huge blessing you can be.