by Gladys Drew
Then they spoke against God; They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? - Psalm 78:19
One of the things God gave me to woo me to Himself, was food. I have always been interested in food-- nutrition, recipes, cooking, health and taste. I had also heard of Jesus, but I didn’t know much about Him. What I did know was substantial, but I was clueless about it: that He was the Subject of every church and the Person in whom you prayed to God.
In 1991, I lived in a small ranch home with a fellow artist and her children. The ‘Dolly Hut’ was a little addition to my friend’s house that had its own entrance. It was a magical jumble of dolls, fabrics and embellishments. I occupied the ‘Dolly Hut,’ where I created and sewed my art dolls. Things were going very well and we had plenty of work in the public school system, area galleries and with private and public dollmaking classes. I felt on top of the world.
But things came crashing down when I returned from a ten-day trip to Jamaica and started having mental health challenges. I soon lost much sleep and became fatigued. Frightened, I wandered from one fellow artists’ studio to another, unable to work, just sitting there and staring at their hands while they worked their creations.
“You’re depressed,” said one of them. “You should apply for disability.”
Not knowing what else to do, that’s what I did. A friend offered me their cabin in Conifer and I took off for a mini retreat thinking that I was just overtired. In the meantime, my housemate’s boyfriend moved in and took over the Dolly Hut. When I came back from my little rest, I had to move out immediately and found myself homeless.
Thankfully, my former housemate knew someone who worked in a private shelter that could put me up in staff housing until the summer was over. People were there in the daytime, but I never saw them. I started pounding the pavement looking for a sufficient job. At night, there was no one there beside myself. I was told to eat anything I found in the refrigerator each evening. What I found was a lot of gourmet dishes donated by local restaurants and my,
they were so tasty. It was surreal, all these wonderful dishes during such a difficult time in my life.
I landed a job in a fine craft gallery. My friends kept coming in to say hello, but that would trigger an outburst of tears on my part, and I finally had to quit the job. I just couldn’t hold it together. I moved back to my hometown where I stayed with friends while awaiting disability. I still did not know God, in fact, the last thing I had said when asked about Him was, “I don’t believe there is a God.” My questioner had gasped. At the time I felt her reaction to be rather ironic, since this woman worshipped many gods and not just one.
My depressed emotional state continued on. I called my friends to talk and tried to explain what was happening to me. That proved to be impossible, since I didn’t even know myself! Having enough funds was another issue, so little by little, I sold off my belongings to raise the money for food and rent. After the money and possessions ran out, I started to pray in earnest to a God that I did not know… in Jesus’ name.
One fall morning there was a knock at the front door. I answered and there were a group of college students standing on the porch with boxes.
“Do you need any food?” they asked.
‘Wow,’ I thought to myself. That was a quick answer to the prayer that I had prayed only the night before! They asked if they could come inside, so I invited them in. They had a small illustrated tract, which they showed me and read to me. It explained that I was a sinner, and that Jesus was the only bridge back to God. I learned what sin was, what Jesus did to repair our broken relationship with God and what one’s response must be to gain forgiveness of sins, salvation and eternal life. They asked me if I prayed and I got excited as I ran into the other room to retrieve the latest book I had been reading about prayer. It was authored by a guru and they shook their heads as they went out. I took the box of food they left and feeling ashamed, I threw the book away.
Two days later, I was kneeling by my bed after the events of a very strange day. I had had the feeling that I was being urgently pursued by God Himself. So I prayed yet again, this time telling God that I surrendered. That He could have me. I felt a great sense of relief and peace.
There are many more stories I have of God providing me literal food for His table in my disability wilderness—the day I received $50 from Publisher’s Clearing House which I cashed for groceries, the evening a believing friend called and asked me if I needed food.
“God told me to buy you food. I want you to fill your cart all the way.
I mean it,” she said insistently.
And yet another time where He demonstrated that He could provide for TWO tables at once; one for me and one for a disabled friend. She had lost her food stamp benefits and I told her God would bless her. And indeed He did, so much so that she gave the overabundance to me. The more she gave, the more she gained. She ended up with more food than she ever had while on food stamps. This happened without her even having the cash for much food. Supernaturally, the food came her way through others, through ridiculously amazing sales and through circumstance. Needless to say, we were astounded and deeply grateful to God.
We laughed with joy every time we recounted that season of wilderness. Through it, I learned that Jesus is my Portion, my heavenly Bread and my spiritual Food. He is the great I AM who tells me to ‘be still and know that I am God.’ I open my mouth and He fills it. He welcomes me to ‘taste and see that I am good.’ He feeds me His body and His blood in remembrance of Him. In Christ, I am fattened with satisfaction and blessed beyond belief.
There is no turning back for me.