April 10, 2020

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Providence means trusting that God will take care of us

Kimberly PohoveyOne of the enduring lessons my father taught me is that God always provides. My dad was an extremely hard-working man of faith. For years, he owned his own meat and fruit market. He worked long hours, providing for not only his own family but those of his employees. He was also determined to help individuals throughout his tiny township community by supplying groceries to those in need. When his market could no longer compete with the large grocery chains, his business went bankrupt. In his late 40s and with six children, a wife and mother-in-law living under his roof, he knew he had no other choice than to persevere.

He switched to a career selling life insurance, a tough field to break into no matter the circumstance. Despite the difficulties of his new career and moving his family from a large, comfortable house to a smaller one which had not been very well kept, he kept his eyes on the Lord. Dad attended daily Mass and prayed unceasingly. One of the most indelible images of my father is him kneeling beside his bed every night to say his prayers, no doubt thanking God for providing for his family. During this time, Dad never stopped volunteering his time or donating his treasure to his parish. He was steadfast in his faith and fervent in his prayer of providence. In time, he became extremely successful in his new career—I imagine because he was hardworking and trustworthy, and undoubtedly because God heard his prayers.

When my husband and I married, I carried this sentiment forward to our family. Whenever we experienced a financial challenge or setback, I would always tell my husband the same thing: “God always provides.” He was probably annoyed at first, but he too came to see God’s providence at work in our lives. It would seem that every time we owed an unexpected bill or had to deal with an emergency repair or medical issue, somehow we found a way to pay for it: some unexpected refund would come our way, or we finished paying on one thing and money freed up to pay for the new bill. I think my husband has become a believer because he often expresses the phrase to me before I can say it to him.

Where we, as humans, get tripped up is in thinking we know what we need. The truth is God alone knows our needs. So at its core, God’s providence tells us that it doesn’t matter if we get laid off, lose value in our 401K, have to cancel a vacation, or God forbid, face more dire circumstances like homelessness or food insecurity, God will provide for us. Providence might certainly look different than what we want, but it always supplies what we need. And what we need is God steering our lives.

Be forewarned, however, that it takes more than simply uttering the words; it takes unconditional trust in God. It takes surrendering our current circumstances to the Lord and believing wholeheartedly that he will take care of us—one way or another—and not necessarily our way, but his.
 

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of mission advancement for Archdiocesan Education Initiatives.)

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