One of her favourite texts was Philippians 4:19: "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." She would tell us that this was God's "bank cheque" to every believer, and urged us to be faithful to Him and trust in His providence.
I grew up and became a schoolteacher. After training at a Catholic teacher's college, I worked for a year at an Anglican orphanage school in India. Because of my mother's continuing search for truth, my family came to understand the Advent message and Sabbath truth. I was baptised into the Adventist Church on my 21st birthday in 1949, after which we returned to our home in Gloucestershire, England. In 1951, I was invited to teach at a small Seventh-day Adventist school in Walthamstow, London.
Life in London on my own was daunting and salaries at that time were quite meagre--I earned just three pounds a week. My rent for a small room took half my earnings but I was careful to put aside a tithe for the Lord every pay day. At the same time, I budgeted very sparingly, making sure I could afford the four-pound-15-shilling train fare home to Gloucester at the end of every school term. This didn't leave me any money to spend on clothes, so I decided to make do with what I already had.
However, winter was approaching. My only winter coat was almost threadbare and I wondered how I would manage. I couldn't even afford the bus fare to ride to school every day or to travel to church on Sabbath. I always walked, whatever the weather--rain, hail, snow or shine!
Quite often I found myself window-shopping as I walked along. I would admire the lovely clothes I saw on display in the shop windows, even though I knew I could never afford to buy anything. One day, I saw a beautiful warm, bottle-green winter coat in the window of a shop in High Street. The woman who owned the shop saw me pause and look longingly at the coat. She came out and persuaded me, much against my better judgment, to go in and try it on. The price was 12 pounds, 15 shillings and sixpence--far more than I could ever dream of being able to afford! I had to try and make her understand that I was not going to be able to buy it that day or any other, not even if she placed it on lay-by! It was embarrassingly hard to get away from that shop.
A few days later, I received a letter from the South England Conference. Enclosed was a form for me to fill in and state my salary and expenses, as they were making a review of the salaries of all the staff and workers in the conference. I completed and returned the form, and thought no more about it.
Imagine my surprise when I later received a cheque in the mail for 15 pounds. And to my amazement, I discovered that after deducting tithe and offering, I had the exact amount I needed to buy the beautiful bottle-green winter coat!
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19.
Patricia Hunt lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where she teaches Bible as a volunteer in a local school.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God