How I learnt to trust God with my financial needs

A personal story of God’s provision

Australia is a country that is historically rich with opportunities and world-class support systems. But in recent times the economic climate has stretched even those with good incomes and stability. When rent or mortgages take the lion’s share of the family income, and even the basics are a challenge to resource with what’s left over, some may question where God is in this season of stress and anxiety.

I want to take you back a few decades and share a personal story of God’s provision.

Back in the late 1980’s I was a residential Bible college student. At that time, government support wasn’t available for courses like mine. So for three years I studied full time, had no income and had to live off savings I’d put aside from a single year of employment after leaving school.  I was single, 19 years old and hundreds of kilometres away from home.

Financially things were grim. By the time I was in my third year of study, I’d emptied my bank account. This impacted every area of my life. My car was making a funny noise; I had holes in my underwear; and before I could graduate, I had fee debts to clear. I was a financial planner’s nightmare, and I’d had my share of sleepless nights wondering how this could possibly work out.

I simply didn’t trust that God could meet my needs, so I was taking matters into my own hands.

At Bible college, all students would write quarterly update letters to our individual prayer support teams. In my season of panic, I unconsciously saw this was an opportunity that could be exploited. I felt the best option I had to resolve my financial crisis was to use my letter to get the message out. I put together my correspondence, attempting to express the severity of my situation.

But, rather craftily, I only asked for prayers for God’s provision. Embedded in my words was a subtle manipulation to press into the good nature of these precious souls. The goal was for someone to feel sorry for me and obligated to send me money. The words were guilt tactics lacquered with spiritual overtones. The reality was that I simply didn’t trust that God could meet my needs, so I was taking matters into my own hands.

I posted off the letter and waited for the money to start rolling in. Nothing. For weeks I would run to the letterbox to see what might have arrived. Nil, zilch, zero. After three or four weeks, my underwear was barely useable, the debts kept growing, my car rattle grew ever more clamorous and I felt the disappointment growing.

Finally, an envelope arrived and I excitedly pulled it open, hoping for cash or a cheque to fall from the pages within. There was nothing but a note. My heart sank.

I went back to my room, fell on my bed and read the letter that would prove to be life-changing. It was written by an 85-year-old lady from my home church. Her words were immensely kind and care-filled. As she closed off, she said this: “Dianne, God knows your every need. There is nothing too big for him to deliver or too great for him to provide. Remember, he owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Ask him to sell one of his cows for you.”

The transformation within me was profound.

The words were drawn from Psalm 50. They were poetic to my ear. But even more, they profoundly dug into my heart. They shamefully revealed how I had made this entire saga about me and masterminded my own resolution to what felt like an insurmountable problem. They showed me what I really believed deep down – that I questioned God’s capacity to provide for me and to work in my life in such a practical way. I sought God’s forgiveness for my actions.

In those humbling days ahead, I was intentional in passing my anxiety over to God – leaving my fears in his care. When the panic would rise, I would run to my Heavenly Father and pray: “Lord, you own the cattle on a thousand hills. Please sell one of your cows for me.”

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills

The transformation within me was profound. The issues remained, but I had put my trust in my mighty God. My spirit felt immeasurably lighter.

Several weeks later I went to my letter box to find a surprising piece of communication. It was a letter from someone I had never met. I was puzzled, and as I opened the envelope a rather significant cheque fluttered out. While that had me gasping with surprise, the contents of the correspondence changed my life.

“Hello Dianne. You don’t know who we are, but I wanted to share a story with you, and hope it will encourage your heart. We are cattle farmers, and a few weeks ago we were rounding up a herd for market. We were closing the ramp to the truck when my husband pulled alongside me and said he felt strongly that he needed to put one more cow on the truck, but he didn’t know why. I didn’t question his unusual suggestion, knowing ‘why’ would eventually come to light. Since the sale payment came through, we’ve been praying over what this money was for, and God keeps bringing your name to mind. We believe God has you in mind for these funds, and we enclose for you the proceeds for the sale of the cow.”

I could have been knocked over with a feather.

I wept. I excitedly shared the story with anyone who would listen. I was utterly overwhelmed by the goodness of God. He had heard the very heart of my need, and answered my prayers in a way that unquestionably altered my belief about his care for me and his capacity to provide.

God may not give us all we want, but he will give us what we need.

That precise and profound answer was clearly the heart of God working in my story. It could not have been orchestrated by anyone other than God himself. He saw my fears, and he also knew how much I was trusting him deeply in my spirit to provide for my very real needs. And he delivered.

Coming forward to today and this current season of stress, it may well be that you find yourself in difficult times. I have learnt that God may not give us all we want, but he will give us what we need. Sometimes it’s hard to see him in our story, and hard times can and will come. But the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills has resources at the ready to care for those who love him.

‘He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and I know he cares for me.’

Dianne Fraser lives in regional Western Australia with her husband and her (somewhat naughty) chocolate Labrador. She is Mum to two young adult sons. Following studies at Bible college and university, she has worked with a number of state and national Christian organisations in communications.

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