When God Sent Bread

by Alison Dellenbaugh on

Articles 6 min read
Psalm 37:25 Matthew 6:25–26

Nine years ago was a hard year for my familyone of a number of hard years. The year had started with my husband in the hospital for two weeks, and when he recovered, we were financially strapped. On one particularly disheartening day that year, we had to watch through the fence as my son's marching band performed in a competition, because we couldn't afford the entry fee of $10 per person. I recall another day around that time when I had $12 worth of groceries in my basket and had to put half of them back after checking my bank balance, because we only had $7.

One night before bed, I read in one of the psalms by King David, I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). That didn't sit right with me! I felt we weren't far from that. Was God forsaking us?

I journaled about my Bible reading: This verse really bothers me... Did David not look around before saying this? Should one believe all poor people are unrighteous? I have not literally begged for bread but I have come very close to that point, even this week, & to the extent I haven't asked for handouts, it's largely pride, not righteousness. I noted that we had given to God that pay period, but added, you're not supposed to go broke giving to God! I've heard you can't outgive God, but we seem to have. Lord, prove to us we can't outgive you, & bless us to be a blessing!

The next day, I was still discouraged. But that evening, someone from my Community Group at church (our Sunday School class), knowing nothing of my prayer or the particular frustrations of that week, dropped by our house and left us a surprise gift of packaged hot dogs, along with hot dog buns! Bread and even more than bread! Earlier in the year, people had generously brought groceries and meals to us when my husband was in the hospital, but this was out of the blue. At least, from a human perspective!

I had to laugh. Okay, Lord, I wasn't asking for actual bread, but clearly You heard me and You do provide! Sorry I doubted You!

But that was not the end of it. As the year went on, people kept giving us literal bread. And because God is a God of abundance (Job 36:31; Psalm 65:11), of more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), there was always something extra with it.

One day, when we didn't know what we'd eat for dinner, someone in our church family randomly brought us a tray of deli sandwiches (the picture is from after several were eaten), a bag of chips, and a jug of tea! 

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Another day, three types of bread unexpectedly showed up on our porchleftovers from someone else's small group gathering. They also came with a double box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!

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Bread kept showing up, probably eight or nine times that year. My husband was given leftover sandwiches from work, we were given bread to take home from Community Group or various gatherings, and we received gifts of groceries that included bread. At least a couple of times, we also got Dr Pepper with it, which showed that God was supplying the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4) as well as meeting our needs!

God had made His point.

And true to form, He keeps making it. The God who gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35; Psalm 78:23-25), multiplied a few loaves to feed 5,000 people (Matthew 14:13-21), and sent His Son to be our Bread of Life (John 6:35; John 6:51) continues to provide our daily bread. There were times we got down to $1, but we never went without food. We also still get gifts of bread occasionally, and one year I won five different bread products from a grocery store giveaway! We've also been able to give to others.

None of this is to say that righteous people will never find themselves in need of food. Nor is it to say that God always answered my own prayers for provision in the ways or timing that I hoped. As noted at GotQuestions.org, Psalm 37:25 merely means that the psalmist had never witnessed an instance when God forsook the righteous. This does not imply that the righteous are exempt from poverty and hardship. Rather, the point is that God will not abandon or leave them to fend for themselves in times of trouble” (see also this question and answer). 

In His goodness, love, and grace, God has a habit of providing. Even when times are hard, He can be trusted to take care of His people and His creation (Matthew 6:25-26). Sometimes He does it through our income. Sometimes He does it through other people, including through ministries like the Central Storehouse food pantry my church started a couple of years ago. And sometimes He does it when and how we least expect it, right when we're in the middle of doubt, to let us know He sees, He cares, and He is more than able. I can also attest, sometimes He provides in a way that brings laughter (Genesis 21:6; Psalm 126:2), so we can't miss that it's from Him!

About the Author

Alison Dellenbaugh (M.A. in Christian Leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary) is the Spiritual Formation Resource Manager at Central Bible Church and editor of the Next Step Disciple website.