Does God Speak to Us Today

Anna’s Story: Does God Speak to Us Today?

David SanfordBy David Sanford9 Minutes

During the early days of the Great Recession, my wife, Renée, and I suffered steep business losses. Clients canceled huge projects midstream, refused to honor contractual terms, and left us with zero income in the weeks leading up to our oldest son’s wedding. As a husband and father, I can’t begin to tell you how helpless and hopeless I felt.

Renée and I did the math and realized it would cost at least $1,800 or $1,900 for our family of four (including two younger children) to travel to the wedding, pay for the rehearsal dinner, cover other expenses, and travel back home afterward.

Together, the four of us agreed to pray for $2,000 “just in case” and, as always, agreed to tell no one but God. Within a week, we received an anonymous gift of $1,000. Renée and the kids were thrilled. I felt smaller than ever. Sure, we could get to the wedding, and pay for part of the rehearsal dinner, but what then? I was depressed beyond words.

Sensing my downcast composure, my ten-year-old daughter, Anna, tried to cheer me up. “Dad, hey, do you think that $1,000 came because you were praying? No, it was me! Don’t worry about anything. God is going to provide.” She paused. I didn’t smile.

“In fact,” Anna continued, “I want you to make a deal with me. You don’t pray. Just me. And you don’t get the mail either. Only I can get it. Promise?”

I didn’t respond.


“Okay.” I turned to hide the grief and anger now racing toward my chin. Our trip was slated to start the following Wednesday morning. What kind of father can’t afford to go to his son’s wedding? 

The next afternoon, Anna came running in the door and said, “Dad, guess what? The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow, Saturday, Monday or Tuesday. Isn’t that exciting, Dad!”

“Anna, darling, another check isn’t coming. I don’t know why, but God sent only $1,000. That’s all we’re getting.”

Anna smiled. “That’s why you’re not praying and not getting the mail, Dad!”

After school the next day, Anna came skipping into the house with the mail. She was almost giddy. “Dad, you’re not going to believe it! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow, Monday or Tuesday. Can you believe it?”

No, I can’t believe I’m in this situation, I thought. I can’t believe I can’t afford to go to my own son’s wedding. I felt worse than ever.

Saturday was terrible. When the mailman came by, Anna rushed out the sliding glass door, over to the gate, and up to his truck. He handed her our mail for the day. Anna was bobbing up and down when she came back into the house. I’d rarely seen her so excited.

“Dad, I can’t believe it! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come Monday or Tuesday.” She couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. I couldn’t contain my anguish, so I quickly turned and walked away.

How can I get her to understand? I wondered. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need. Even here in America, Christians often go through much worse things than this. Still, I’m so embarrassed, so ashamed. I’m such a failure. 

I didn’t have a good morning at church the next day. I felt completely dry, empty, and hollow. I honestly couldn’t pray. Why even try? 

After school Monday, Anna ran through the front door almost yelling. “Dad, this is so exciting! The check didn’t come in the mail today. That means it has to come tomorrow!” She was literally jumping up and down.

“Anna, you don’t understand. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but no check is coming. We already got $1,000. That’s it.”

Anna just smiled. “I told you. It’s not your prayers. It’s mine.”

Sure enough, Tuesday afternoon Anna ran into the house, jumping higher than ever. “Dad,” she practically yelled, “this is so exciting! The check didn’t come in the mail. That means someone is going to knock on our front door in five minutes and hand it to us.”

In harshest tones I snapped, “That’s never going to happen.”

“But God told me.”

“God didn’t tell you that!” I yelled. I was so furious. I couldn’t bear the now inescapable shame that lay ahead of me. Why? Why!

A few minutes later I had started to cool off. When I heard the doorbell, I yelled again, but more politely, for Anna to take care of it. Thirty seconds later she flew into the kitchen with the biggest brown eyes possible.

“Pastor Jim just came to our door. He can’t say who, but somebody came by his office and said, ‘God impressed upon me that the David and Renée Sanford family needs help. I feel it’s urgent. You’ll see they get this within the hour, won’t you?’”

I couldn’t hold back the tears. “I am so sorry, Anna. I said terrible things. I said God didn’t speak to you. He really did. Will you forgive me?”

I’ll never forget how hard she hugged me. After a minute she whispered in my ear. “I told you it was my prayers.” I laughed, hard, for the first time in weeks. Then Anna handed me the check, signed by the pastor, in the amount of $1,000.

Yes, I’m hardheaded, but eventually I catch on. And want to do it again and again.

Recently Renée and I needed to buy another car. We hadn’t talked about it with each other, let alone with anyone else. Each of us simply started praying about the need. We trusted God would prompt our spouse to do the same.

A few days later, Renée received a phone call from a close family friend. This was shortly after a death in their family. The friend called and asked, “Renée, do you and David need another car?” Well, yes, now that you mention it!

When we pray in secret and then God provides exactly what we need, that’s a clearcut example of the Lord’s providence. God’s providence includes both His purposeful guidance and His generous provision. The sooner you start looking for both, the more you’ll know God is really in your life. Both will wonderfully increase your faith and trust in the Lord.

Let your wonderful, faith-filled adventure begin!

This story appears in Sweet Tea for the Soul: Comforting Real-Life Stories for Grieving Hearts.

Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.