It was eighteen years ago that she gave us the coin.
That was before she accused Dad of running around with a young woman at church. Nearly split the church wide open. Dad came home with a shot gun and the counselor had to intervene and they’ve been seperated ever since.
But eighteen years ago was before all of that happened. Before tongues wagged and hearts broke and tears fell and things were never the same.
We were sitting at the supper table after church, Jackson and I. And Mom, she handed us a Canadian Maple.
“You’ll face hard times together,” she said. “Here’s something for you to put away for a rainy day, for when you just don’t have anything else.”
She slipped us the coin and we tucked it away and for eighteen years of marriage, while we traveled the world over and back again, that coin stayed in the attic, tucked away in its plastic sheath.
Jackson took it out.
He opened the safe where important documents are kept and he slipped the coin out and he looked at it.
“We need groceries,” he said.
I knew what the words cost him. I knew the pain of a hardworking man not able to fund a trip to the grocery store. But I also know something else about him… that walking the path of the Lord’s will is more important to him than anything else.
“The Lord’s going to take care of us,” Jackson continued. “He always has.”
He looked at me as he fingered the coin. The clock ticked and the fridge hummed and four little bodies lay tucked in their beds, oblivious to the choices of their parents.
“It’d be a shame to just spend this.” He said it thoughtful. Slow. The processing of a man intent on what’s best for his family.
I thought of the growing grocery list: bananas, bread, jelly, toilet paper, trash bags. I thought of the empty cupboards and the empty bank account and I knew they would stay empty.
“I want to invest it,” he says it slow, sure, sacred- like; an act of worship.
“What do you think about us selling this and giving the money to feed the Nuba people in Sudan?”
I choke back the tears and say YES! What better way to invest than in another person?
We get down on our knees and pray. “Thank You, Jesus,” I pray. “Thank You we get to be part of this, part of ministering to Your body. Thank You for the chance to give our best.”
The next day, Jackson goes to sell the coin. He returns home with $1500 cash, 15 crisp hundred dollar bills.
My man, he knows how to invest.
That Sunday we slip the bills into an envelope and write “Sudan” on it and we listen to the guest speaker, a Sudanese pastor.
“We take trip to Sudan,” he tells us. “We buy grain and take it into the Nuba mountains. My people are starving. They are hiding in caves and are being bombed every day. Life is hard. I cannot forsake them.”
And on this side of the world, brothers and sisters, an entire association of churches, pledge to help. We send two men with our Sudanese brother into the mountains of Sudan.
The mission is dangerous. Sudan is in turmoil and these men are entering the war zone.
The team gets stuck in Cairo. It takes days, then weeks, for the money transfer to go through. The rains are forecasted to begin any day in Sudan and when that happens, they will not be able to travel.
The team encounters one difficulty after another…they get sick, they can’t locate drivers who are bold enough to trek into the war zone, the money still won’t go through…
The team contacts us and asks everyone to fast.
We all feel the spiritual warfare of this mission. We know we battle not flesh and blood.
The call to fast goes out and we stop eating. At dinner time, the kids ask why I’m not having meal with them and I explain about the Nuba people and the need for God to provide a way. Jackson is working late…but fasting. Friends text to let each other know we are in this together.
All over our little town, we call on the Lord, asking Him to move His mighty hand. We pray for our brothers and sisters hiding in the Nuba mountains.
The Lord hears.
I get the message on a Monday morning:
“Team Nuba were able to get up the mountain, get the grain/oil/supplies to the people, and even pick up 500 refugees on the way back and safely transport them to a camp near the border.Said they haven’t had sleep in 70 hours but they were in very good spirits. Their plan is to get rested up today and start the journey home tomorrow.PLEASE DO NOT STOP PRAYING NOW!”
I fall to my knees and thank God. I ican see those faces, the mommas. The babies. All the blank stares.
But this time, I see the smiles.
It is such a sacred thing to be a part of, there is such a deep intimacy with the Lord. It is an hour before I can even call Jackson with the news.
All day, I break out in random song. When I pick oldest up from school, I excitedly tell him the news and we hoot and holler in the car.
My Nuba sister is hiding in a cave somehwere with her children. But tonight, she will have food to give them. Tonight, she knows that the world hasn’t forsaken them, her brothers and sisters living in houses with heaping plates…well, she knows we care.
Tonight, she knows that her God delivers.
Jackson eats with us tonight, and he breaks the bread:
“Share with God’s people who are in need.
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.
And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
So do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Jackson and I just look at each other.
We both feel it, the pleasure of God.
And as we eat our simple meal, we enter into our inheritance.
And I’m so full, I’m just about to pop.
Come back tomorrow, Thursday, June 21, for an update on the Sudan mission!
Invest means “to use, give, or devote (time, talent, etc.), as for a purpose or to achieve a profitable return.”
Sometimes when you need something the most is when you *need* to give it away.
We can spend a life or we can invest one.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8
Linking up with Ann today