It had actually happened.

I’m sure you can relate, but I often will say, off-handedly, that I ‘have no money’, or ‘have run out of cash’, but in truth, I usually have about $15 or $20 in my bank account, at very least.

Not this time.

Let me set the scene for you: it was a cold Friday’s morn. I had returned to Sydney from Byron on Wednesday night to an empty house. Well, it had stuff in it, but no people. It was weird; the house felt remarkably different. In any case, there were 3 eggs, 100mLs of milk, and tins of food. No probs.

As I headed off to uni the next day, I bought some food for a lady, got the Big Issue from Bill, and paid for a Law Revue ticket in $20’s worth of shrapnel, leaving me with about 50 cents. It was good to get rid off that loose change. I went to buy some lunch, queued up at the ATM, only to be greeted with that horrible, horrible message: ‘Your account has insufficient funds to make this transaction.’ Tried again for a lesser amount. Same message.

First world problems, hey.

In any case, wasn’t fussed, just went to class, then skittaddled off home. My brother asked me to pick up a suit for him from the tailor, so I trundled up the stairs to his shop, only to find that I needed $48 in cash to get the jacket. In hope, I dashed over the road to the local grocer, hoping that I could get some cash out by overdrawing my account. No such joy. Went home, cooked something up with an array of canned goods, then Em came over with a lemon and coconut cake. We had tea, using the last of the milk, and all was merry.

.. This is becoming an unnecessarily long story.

Come Friday morning, I realised that there was nothing for breakfast. Well, I’m exaggerating. There was rice, pasta, lentils, and – wait for it – KIPPERS. To be honest, it was luxurious relative to what billions around the world nourish themselves with daily. And my kippers were totally tasty. The issue came when I realised that I didn’t have money for a train ticket to get to work.

I genuinely had access to 50 cents, in 5 and 10 cent pieces.

I assessed my options with calm calculation. Thoughts of God’s provision at just the right time to those who needed something crossed my mind; maybe God would move a kind stranger at the station to help me out? Immediately my mind dismissed the notion that God would provide for me in this way. After all, I’d spent the last of my money unwisely, on a Law Revue ticket! I didn’t deserve that kind of timely providence. I went to leave to the station anyway, but then remembered to feed the dog.

15 seconds later, my brother walks in the door.

He had come back home unexpectedly, to pick up his jacket from the tailor. I asked if he could lend me $4 for a ticket, after explaining my predicament; he laughed, and gave me $10.

The thought that sat in my mind for the next hour or so was that how foolish I was to think that God’s providence was proportionate to my deserving it. If God provides what I need on a cosmic, soul-rescuing level, and He did not withhold even His own Son to rescue someone who was His enemy; why on EARTH do I keep slipping back into the thinking that He will only bless me if I have earned it?

I don’t deserve it.

And that’s the point.

You don’t earn grace. You receive it, in thankfulness, and you receive it to bless others. This little provision of loose change was a reminder to a spiritual amnesiac that I can also afford to spend to love others, even if I feel uncomfortable because I don’t have the security of having enough cash, because God will provide what I need. I believe this is true even if He hadn’t orchestrated by brother to come home and given me $10. His provision isn’t always in the ways we want or expect. But I believe this: His grace is an abundant sufficiency. His grace to me may have been in refining away something in my heart by causing me to lean more heavily on Him, not food, just as equally as His grace to me happened to be the provision of some loose change.

His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in weakness. Amen.