And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorius riches in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:19 (NIV)

The summer after I graduated from college was the midst of a severe recession. I was in debt to the university, I had no money, and I had no job, and very few personal belongings. Despite my efforts, I was unable to find a job due to the economy. Even the remotely possible jobs were half-way across the country. I had no car, so I couldn't drive there, and couldn't have bought the fuel even if I did. Fortunately, the university graciously allowed graduates to live in campus housing for the summer. But since my roommate was in no better a position than me (and he still had a year of schooling to pay for), we started the summer with very little in the way of food.

We had a big bag of rice, an equally big bag of dried lima beans, half a bag of pancake mix, and various condiments including some mustard, salt, pepper, and beef boullion. We may have had a few other things right at the beginning, but by mid-summer we were mainly eating rice and beans. We came up with many different ways to prepare our rice and bean dinners so that it didn't seem like we were eating the same thing everyday. At one point, we decided to try to make bread with what was left of the pancake mix. The result wasn't pretty to look at, nor tasty. But we ate it anyway.

Occasionally friends would treat us to dinner at McDonalds. I can't tell you how delicious a hamburger was after the diet we were on. My roommate and I even speculated on what would be involved with harvesting some of the stray dogs in the neighborhood to provide meat. Be assured, we never went beyond speculation! It never occured to us to ask for handouts - partly because we wanted to depend on God rather than man. I didn't want to impose upon my parents either. I'm sure my mother would be happy to have me move back in, but without a job, I would simply be a burden. Not to mention that I couldn't afford to take the train or bus to Portland, and Portland was even worse off economically than Seattle.

It wasn't all bad of course. I may have had to walk everywhere, but it was an untypical warm and dry summer in Seattle, and walking left me in good physical shape. We had shelter, water, electricity, clothes, and... rice and beans. I had gotten sick my first quarter eating at the university commons because I wasn't eating well-balanced meals. After that experience, I made sure to eat balanced meals, modeled after the food pyramid. But rice and beans did not count as a balanced meal according to the pyramid.

As the summer wore on, I became angry at God for breaking His promise to meet all our needs. I was relying on Him and He was letting me down! I was convinced that we were going to become malnourished and sick. I'm afraid I was rather cranky with my roommate as well. But one day when we walked into our apartment, he opened the kitchen cabinet and found the cupboards and refrigerator full of food! A note on the refrigerator, from three lady friends who lived a couple of houses down the street, said simply "we thought you guys could use this". While we were out, they had gone to the supermarket, loaded up a cart, and filled our kitchen with food. It was easy because we never locked our door, since we had nothing of value to be stolen anyway. Before that food ran out, I finally found a job, and was able to find a place to rent just before the university would have needed to kick me out to make room for returning students.

I was happy at the turn of events, but still disappointed in God. He may have eventually taken care of us, but He had not provided what was necessary for the maintenance of good health for most of the summer. But the kicker came about a year later when I learned that one simple diet used by millions of people in Asia was sufficient to provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for the body to produce every needed protein. The diet? Rice and beans.

You may well imagine how incredibly embarrassed I was at my lack of faith in God. He had, in fact, provided for us the entire summer. We hadn't been malnourished even for a short time. He was faithful, as He promised. I was ignorant and had assumed that He was unfaithful. I was also blinded by an incorrect assumption. You see, He only promised to meet our needs, not our every desire. He never promised us that we would live at any given level of affluence. There was no guarantee of what kind of food He'd provide - just a promise to meet the real need. Which He did. He was faithful to me even when I doubted His character.

This reminder of His faithfulness, and of my lack of faith, has been my constant reminder through the many years since that summer. I have never accused God in my heart since then. Indeed, He has always met my every need.