by Pastor Glenn Kennedy, Audubon Park United Methodist Church
At the beginning of my faith walk my spiritual mentor and friend, a student minister named Frank Meyer, got me started in a scripture memory program offered by the “Navigators Ministry”. My very first packet of eight verses included this one from the book of Philippians written by the Apostle Paul:
“My God will meet your every need out of his riches in the glory that is found in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:19- CEB
I memorized that verse when I was sixteen years old, so that means I’ve had fifty-eight years to think about it, pray over it, and live out its meaning. Here is the story of how and when that verse first came alive for me.
In the summer of my eighteenth year, I had a chance to put that lavish promise to a full test. My friend and Pastor, Frank, had encouraged me strongly to attend a College Briefing Conference sponsored by the Navigators, in Colorado Springs. I’d never been much of anywhere. Our family wasn’t big on vacations…on a farm, summers are for work. This was my High School graduation summer. I have relatives in that part of the country on my dad’s side that I’d never met (we’d lost dad when I was two) so it just seemed like the right idea. A small financial “provision” miracle had occurred late that summer, so I had the needed money and I decided the trip was on! About 24 hours into my Greyhound ride from Spokane to Colorado Springs, I began to wonder how good an idea this trip, especially the Conference, was. There would be about 200 students there from all over the country. More than the number of people in the town where I grew up. (Hunters, WA) I would not know one single person…what was I thinking!? The verse from Philippians 4 began to play in my mind, “every need.” I needed a friend…so for the rest of the bus ride I kind of focused in on that need.
Upon arrival in Colorado Springs, a fellow from the Conference center was waiting to pick me up. So far, so good. We visited on the way, he was a pleasant man, probably in his late 40’s. He was interested that I was a country boy. He too had grown up rural. We even shared a common love for horses. As we pulled into the lane leading to the registration center a lovely sight caught my full attention. Running down the fence line keeping pace with the Suburban we were in was an absolutely beautiful chestnut Arabian mare. When we stopped, I bounded over to the fence and made her acquaintance, even before I grabbed my suitcase. As I walked back to the Suburban my new friend, asked “what do you think of her?” I answered, “I’m in love!” He smiled approvingly, reached into his pocket, pulled out his key chain, tossed me a key, and said, “In that case, consider her yours for the week, here’s the key to the tack shed.” He explained that since his daughter had gone away to school the mare had gotten ridden very little…he’d be all too happy to have me ride her when I had schedule breaks. My second day there the Conference Director saw me out on a little ride and called me over and made a request: “Would you consider carrying the mail into camp every day around lunchtime Pony Express style…we’ve never done anything like that. I think folks would get a kick out of it!? (Remember this was 1964…well before cell phones, e-mail, and text messages. Mail was big deal when you were away from home.) Every day my new friend Rosie and I would come roaring into camp. I’d toss the saddlebag full of mail to the Director, give a wave with my hat and we’d gallop off as if there was important work to do somewhere else! I not only had a special friend for the week, but I also had a ‘place’. I was given something I knew how to do. Through the mail delivery I met students from many places. The daily Pony Express rides proved to be a wonderful conversation starter …I ended up having a marvelous, life-changing week.
“My God will meet your every need out of his riches in the glory that is found in Christ Jesus.”
Count on it, trust it, remember it when the going gets tough. One might think that God is too busy running the Universe to take care of a simple little need like that for a teenager away from home for the first time. Apparently not!