By Patti Johnson

Patti has been volunteering with Care for Pastors with The Confidante for Pastors’ Wives for 7 years after she and her husband received counsel from Care for Pastors as a way to give back to the ministry. She joined the Care for Pastors staff in January 2020. Patti is one of the administrators of The Confidante Private Facebook group for pastors' wives and is a regular contributor to weekly blogs. She loves to use her gifts and abilities to support the needs of the ministry. Patti has been married to her Pastor husband Keith for 36 years. They have 3 adult children who all to their delight live in Florida.

    God Met Me at the Deli Counter

    Monday, April 03, 2023

    There are times in the ordinary moments of our days that God reveals an extraordinary memory from the past. And the present and past collide and a new appreciation for all of life is realized under the hand of Gods providence. And the idea that we have been alone in this journey dissolves in that instant.

    One such collision occurred at the deli counter at our local grocery store. I was purchasing the meats and cheeses to make our traditional meal for Super Bowl Sunday. Grilled Rueben Sandwiches. As my eyes glanced through the meat choices of corned beef and Swiss cheese, my number was called. Before I knew it, I was ordering the premium brand of corned beef and cheese. As I received the deli packages and placed them in my cart, I glanced down and realized this was to be a moment to remember and give thanks. This year I was able to purchase the premium brand for God had seen us through times of scarcity and was now providing us a time of plenty.

    There were years when I stood at the same deli counter and pondered if I could afford even the generic brand of meats and cheeses. But even in times of scarcity of funds, God gave me the go ahead to purchase what I could and the contentment to enjoy what He provided.

    That’s how our tradition of Reuben sandwiches was built. Year after year, in times of scarcity and in times of plenty. But always with a sense that God was providing for this “special to us” meal.

    The feeling of being able to choose the premium meats and cheeses this year just stayed with me. I felt that this was a moment I needed to mark and communicate to others who would understand.

    I texted another pastor’s wife this message, “Maybe only another pastors wife would understand my appreciation for being able to choose premium deli meats, after so many years of scarcity in the ministry life, God has restored some of the years that the locusts have stolen.”

    I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:25-26 NIV

    She agreed that it was something to mark and to be thankful for. For God provides in times of scarcity and in times of plenty. They just look different to us.

    There were times when it felt “shameful” to have so little, wondering if perhaps God had overlooked us. And feeling guilty for even thinking that. It all felt so lonely.

    And then God met me at the deli counter and revealed it all. The times of scarcity and the times of plenty were all from Him.

    So, this past Super Bowl Sunday traditional Grilled Reuben Sandwich meal had a new twist to it. One I will now carry into the future years as God has placed a new special contentment for His providential provision in my heart.

    Wherever you are in your ministry or life journey, remember that God provides in all times. It just looks different to us. God will choose the time of restoration. God has not forgotten us.  We are never alone and never out of sight of His care.

    Where will God meet you in your journey?

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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