Growing up without much money, I’ve had many opportunities to witness how much God gives. Even though my father was still in law school at the time, my parents were able to buy the home I grew up in without a mortgage. The seller, an older woman who was no longer able to live in a home with stairs, wanted to help a younger couple purchase their first home. She had come to know and think highly of my parents. They were courteous neighbors, immigrants living far away from their relatives, and now they had a child — me. And so she sold the house to my parents directly. They simply paid her in installments over the course of many years — no bank, no lien, no mortgage.
There are many other areas of my life that I can look to and see God’s amazing provision — and more than just provision of funds, but also experiences and relationships. My brother, sister, and I all attended elite private schools. We not only received exceptional educations, but we were also exposed to people and opportunities that would otherwise have been much harder for us to reach from Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
But of all the experiences that have helped me to see God’s provision and faithfulness, none has left an impression upon my mind (and prayer life) like the Super Soaker story.
My brother and sister are seven and eight years younger than me, respectively. When I was in middle school, my mother started forcing us to do something called “family altar.” This was a weekly family devotional time she had with my siblings and me during the school year, and almost daily when we were on vacation. During “family altar,” we would sing a few worship songs, read a passage from the Bible, and pray together. It didn’t last more than fifteen or twenty minutes, but it felt like an eternity to me. It wasn’t that I hated any particular part of it, I just resented that it was mandatory — well not so much mandatory as, “you don’t have to, but you’d better.”
One summer in particular, my mother decided we should each start the vacation with a specific prayer request, and then wait, watch, and see how God answered our prayer. She wanted us to learn how to petition God as a child would a generous and loving parent — how to lay the desires of our heart in His omnipotent hands and prayerfully wait for His answer.