Trusting God to Provide

Debi Sharkey with her husband

“I was a new college student and completely broke,” recalled Debi Sharkey, head chaplain for a maximum-security prison in Louisiana. “I had used the last of my toothpaste. I needed a few dollars to do my laundry and buy toothpaste, but I wouldn’t get paid for a few weeks.”

As a new Christian burdened with anxiety, Debi prayed and read Philippians 4. She saw, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

“I prayed and thanked God for supplying all my needs. Then, I tried to figure out how the Lord would provide.”

Debi called her mother. Worry lacing her voice, Debi’s mom said she was unable to help. “She asked me what I was going to do and I gave her my most spiritual reply: ‘God will provide,’ to which Mom replied, ‘God doesn’t send checks!’”

Debi called her grandparents. But they, too, were unable to help.

Returning to her dorm room, Debi climbed back in bed and opened her Bible. She thought maybe she needed to start at the beginning of the chapter. “I got to verse 6: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer . . .’ There it was again—the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I was not trusting God. He’d told me He would take care of my situation, yet I’d scrambled, tapping into all of my resources.”

Debi called on God. She repented, telling the Lord she did fully depend on Him and trusted Him to sustain her.

“I kid you not. No sooner had I said amen, there was a knock at my door.” Debi’s friend stood there, handing her $50, certain the Lord had told her to give it to Debi.

“Mom! You’re right,” Debi said over the phone. “God doesn’t write checks. He sends cash!”

The following morning, trying to be funny, Debi’s boss placed a sample tube of toothpaste on her desk.

“Yes, God is our provider,” Debi shared.

Shelli Littleton lives near Dallas, Texas, and she writes at

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