God’s Word has more than 70 Scripture passages that talk about His care for widows. Some of these are His direct commands of how to care for widows. Others are stories that demonstrate His great concern and understanding. As a child, I loved hearing how God miraculously provided financially for a widow so that her sons did not need to work as slaves (2 Kings 4). Now as a widow, I’m encouraged by God’s great provision for two widows, one young and one older, in the Old Testament Book of Ruth. Jesus also showed His compassion for widows by raising a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17).
I have known these Scriptures since I was a older child and have experienced God’s provision and watchful care hundreds of times during my adult life. But I had an encounter three Sundays ago that vividly illustrates God’s ever-present concern for widows.
I was driving to church about 9:45 a.m. and was several blocks from my home when I thought I had forgotten to bring a mask, which my church requires. I took the next right at a side street beside a supermarket and stopped to check an extra tote in the back seat. Yes, I had a mask, so I pulled out of the parking space and proceeded down the side road. Within seconds, a loud thumping noise brought me to a stop once again. As I got out of the car, I noticed a young man on a small, old, girl’s bike to my left. He had one foot on the curb and one foot on the road and looked as if he was just waiting for someone.
Thinking I now had a flat tire, I got out of my car and looked at all the tires. They were still inflated. I even checked a second time. The young man said, “Would you like me to see if I can tell what’s wrong?” I was sure he couldn’t help but said, “Yes.” He immediately came to the passenger’s side. Pointing to the back tire, he said, “Here’s your problem.” Sure enough, about one inch of what I later learned was a spark plug was sticking out of my back tire, but not where it could be easily seen. “I can change the tire for you in about two minutes, if you would like,” he said. I agreed and thanked him.
He proceeded with amazing knowledge for his age, and we began a conversation. Nick (the name he gave me when I asked) was polite and articulate. He wore faded, well-worn clean clothes and was clean-shaven with closely cropped light brown hair. Even his hands and fingernails were clean, and his bright smile revealed nicely kept teeth. I sensed from our conversation that he was homeless, but he didn’t fit the profile of the young men I usually saw riding around the city on old bikes. Timidly I asked, “Are you homeless.”
“I am right now,” he said. “I stayed in a tent last night.” He talked about his jobs and said his mother lived nearby. I shared too and also told him of God’s goodness in my life and that God could provide and give him a wonderful future.
I was amazed how quickly he put on the spare tire and was even more surprised as I watched him put every tool in its rightful place in the container—just as if he has done it hundreds of times. When I gave him the money I had in my wallet, he said, “I don’t usually take money for helping.” I prayed with him, asking God to bless, guide, and provide. With everything back in the trunk, he got on the bike, and I got in the car. Both of us headed toward the intersection.
The main road was about 500 feet away. Several cars were passing, so I had to wait to enter the highway. He should have pulled up beside me, but I never saw him again. By the time I arrived at church, I was convinced God had sent an angel to help me. There was simply no other explanation.
I am often near that intersection and will never pass it again without remembering God’s great provision. God’s Word teaches us that He does not show partiality (Deuteronomy 2:17, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11). What He did for me, He will do for you. He is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).