God Really Does Provide

Had a great time at the Duggar Wedding, but the way home was absolutely incredible. It’s a totally true story, but when I tell it to you, you will think I’m making it up. But it is the truth.

Stranded yet again. That's when adventure is about to happen.

Stranded yet again. That’s when adventure is about to happen.

First, let me be real with you. I have 16 kids and a business that barely brings home enough. I like to talk business a lot, so it may sound like I’m boasting rich success, but those who know me and my inside workings, you know that I barely make it. The ministry I run and the accompanying publishing business pay the bills and keep the work rolling, but it is no cash cow by any stretch of the imagination.

To tell you the truth, I can get a bit depressed about it.

Sure, pat me on the back and tell me I’m doing the Lord’s work, but it wears on you after a while. I seldom work under 60 hours per week, I run camps across the country for other people’s kids, and I publish thousands of pages of educational content every year for homeschoolers. Every year for the last 10, my tax returns remind me: I’m barely scraping by.

In fact, I sometimes wonder:

  1. Does God really call people to help? I hate asking for money, and when I do, I get little response.
  2. Does God enjoy this hardship? My financial life is much bleaker than most, and that gets old.
  3. Does God really make everything work out? I suppose so, but I often am tempted to cut my losses and go more with the flow.

But in a way, poverty (or marginally close to it) is a strange sweet point of mine. Without riches to rely on, I have had to rely on God’s provision. After 10 years, I must admit that that provision has never failed.

One Woman’s Gift

Jill and Derick’s wedding was beautiful, and we met a lot of people who are fans of both the Duggars and us. Wendy especially enjoyed connecting with people she had only previously known through Facebook or our blog. There is something magical about sharing your life in print and through media outlets. You have the opportunity to connect with people who are on likeminded paths in life.

One person in particular had our family on her mind. She didn’t know of our financial situation, but approached Wendy asking about it. We don’t broadcast our poverty, but we aren’t ashamed of it either, so Wendy answered her honestly, something like, “We are plugging along, but finances are tight. Always has been.”

The woman reached into her pocket and pulled out an envelope. She handed it to Wendy and insisted she receive it. “I feel like the Lord wants us to help you with this.” The envelope contained $318.

Does this sound like panhandling? That feeling creeps up in me, but we weren’t asking for any help at all. Wendy and I have learned long ago to let go of these doubts and let God take care of you. He was apparently working through this woman, and Wendy definitely didn’t want to get in the way of that.

The next day we started on our way home. We’re all-night drivers, especially with four drivers in the family. We can drive a good 12 hours through the night and get our family from Point A to Point B like nobody’s business. We set out at 10:00 p.m., anxious to get home by the next morning.

We broke down in Kansas.

The Bump in the Road

We left the vehicle and walked one block to the nearest hotel.

We left the vehicle and walked one block to the nearest hotel.

At 3:00 a.m., the engine died. Just stopped. Lydia was driving, I was riding shotgun. The van was drifting uphill and losing speed quickly. Lydia tried to start the van while coasting, but nothing.

And of all places to break down, we were in Kansas. Lots and lots of space. I suppose the likelihood of us breaking down on the side of the road without any civilization in sight are about 99.9 percent. Our van coasted uphill, onto an off-ramp exit that just happened to be there, we barely cleared the peak of the off ramp (I was tempted to get out of the van and push it a little, but we crested the hill) and we drifted just enough to pull to the shoulder, off the interstate.

We were in Ellis, Kansas. Population 2,062. And only one block away from one of the town’s only hotels, a brand new Days Inn.

I called AAA, the tow truck would arrive in two hours, so we walked to the hotel. The gentleman saw we were in need, and the night was mostly over. So, he gave us a great deal, only $110 for our rooms, about 1/3 the regular price. We were a family in need, the rooms were vacant anyway, and he did what he could to help.

Wendy and I tucked everyone in bed and all were back to sleep when AAA arrived to drive me across town to the mechanic.

No Choice But to Trust

I was a little wary of the mechanic. He had a car parked in the front with a hood open. I peeked in the window: hotrod pictures on the wall and an open case of beer sat underneath a jacked up car. I asked the tow truck if there was another mechanic in town. None. No choice, I dropped the van and returned to the hotel to get some shuteye.

Again, let me be real with you. Traveling with 13 kids on the road has its taboos. You never know how others will respond, and sometimes I expect a fair share of prejudice. I try to fit in (like anyone would, I suppose), but it’s really tough to fit in with this on your back window:

The Jeub Van

The hotrod/beer-drinking mechanic showed up and saw this parked in front of his shop. I connected with him at about 9 a.m. on the phone and told him the situation. Before talking about the van, he had to talk about my family.

“Holy expletive…sixteen kids?” he said.

“Only 13 are with me on this trip,” I said. As if that made me more normal.

He laughed, “Hole-leee expletive,” he said. “That is un-expletive-believable. I’ll see what I can do about the van. I’ll call you in a bit.”

Waiting for the News

Traveling with a large family has its challenges, but God always provides.

For a family the size of mine, a full continental breakfast really sets us up. We were well-fed with waffles, cereal, eggs and yogurt when the mechanic called me back. “Got ‘er fixed. I’ll come and pick you up now.”

It turned out to be the ignition coil, and swapping it out cost $189. Not bad at all. But the mechanic gave me some bad news about my front tire. It was bald, so bald it was showing wires. “You have nine more hours on the road. That tire’s gonna blow like a expletive balloon.” So he offered to put the spare on.

We talked while he worked. He told me that his mom was one of 12, and her mother was one of 13. He shared with me how many died, who was still living, but his family overall was expletive huge and “a helluva lotta fun.”

And again, let me be real. I have found over the years blessings beyond imagination when I stop short of judging another. This mechanic was a great guy, and I am glad to have gotten to know him in our short time together. The swearing and girly pics on the wall would have bothered me years ago, but I was very much appreciating the Kansas conversation at that moment.

Yet another blessing from God on this adventure.

Anyway, back to the spare tire. I had never put the spare on this vehicle, and for some odd reason, it was too big. The rim fit fine, but the tire was two inches taller than the original, forcing an odd rubbing against the fender at every turn.

Expletive,” we said. And the mechanic referred me to another shop, the only tire shop in town, four blocks away.

Thankfully, this shop had three tires available the exact size I needed. The spare was in great shape, so I offered him a trade, and we swapped one of two used tires for the spare, and he charged me $20 for the other. I figured I got a free tire out of the deal! They rotated tires, balanced them, and put me back on the road within 30 minutes.

Real Math

A good story, don’t you think? Do the math, and it becomes miraculous. The totals include taxes and all, but this adds up to an incredible testimony of provision:

  • Hotel $110.
  • Ignition $189.
  • Tires $20.
  • Total: $319.

Remember, Wendy’s friend felt led to give $318 to her before we left. It was what God laid on her heart. Incredible.

There are other tidbits in this story that I left out, all pointing to a wonderful story with God’s hand in on it. The mechanic’s secretary shared with me of her troubled grandson’s situation, and I told her I would pray, and I have. Checking out of the hotel, the clerk gasped at the discount her associate gave for our stay, and we agreed that “God had something to do with it.” We had some Facebook friends lined up in the area — more people we haven’t met in person, but they were geared up ready to help — thanks to the modern world of Social Media.

I’m convinced: When plans go awry, expect an adventure. It’s how God works. You are rolling down the highway and then bam you break down. This has happened to us time and time again, and we’ve grown to expect an adventure.

I hope this story encourages you as it encourages my family. Walking in faith is daunting — sometimes it appears impossible — but God does not fail. I don’t ever seem to be at a short of stories like this, and in every story there are three truths that I believe gives testimony to how God works:

  1. God presses on our hearts to help others, and He asks us to respond faithfully.
  2. God enjoys working through tough situations, and He wants us to enjoy the adventure.
  3. God will make everything work out, and He wants us to press on with that which we are given.

I’m not making this up, folks. This is as real as real can get. Next time you’re dealt with a hardship, a change of plans, or just plain frustrated with how things are (or aren’t) working out, get ready. A very real adventure may be coming your way.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jennifer

    As another family who sort of lives on the financial edge (but with only 8 kids) this sounds totally normal to me… I have quite a few stories myself…. I do get tired of being on the edge, but I do not ever get tired of His amazing provision…. Absolutely mind-blowing at times…. 🙂

  • Kori

    Awesome! We had an extra provision from God this week too. My oldest son, almost 9, has wanted to go to a large Christian camp about an hour away for a week for the past few summers. Money is a struggle for us at times too plus he has severe food allergies so that his food must be monitored carefully. Two weeks ago in our church bulletin was an announcement that the camp was offering a discount to anyone from the church attending. I asked our pastor’s wife about the discount and learned that even though it was a significant discount, it still would not be possible for us to afford. Good thing nothing is impossible with God! This past Sunday, the pastor’s wife came up to me and said that she needed to talk with me. She said that right after I had previously talked with her, someone came up to her and out of the blue said, “I would like to pay to send a kid to camp this year.” I cried when she told me and my son had tears in his eyes when I told him. I registered him a few days ago. With the discount, the cost of the camp is exactly the amount that was given! No surprise there, right?! Another blessing is that my oldest daughter will be working that week in the same kitchen where he will have his meals and will be able to keep an eye out for any possible cross contamination of his food. Good truly blesses and keeps on blessing!!!

  • Julie Walker

    Such an awesome story! Truly a story that even Micah couldn’t make up.

    • Ha! I’ll let him know you said that.

  • Brandi M. Ambrose-Gutierrez

    I’m glad to hear you “survived” another trip. Its funny how your family just crossed my mind 2 days ago when I was driving and I saw out in a field 2 old school buses facing each other. I thought to myself, ” I wonder if the Jeub’s still have theirs and here you are writing about it. It’s funny how God keeps me in sync with people that I am always learning from. If your ever in GA and have troubles like that your welcome to let me know and if I can’t get to ya’ll then I will find somebody that can. I wish all the best for you and your family.

  • Great testimony Chris. Timely, in that it was very encouraging on a number of levels. We’ve found ourselves on the edge financially for the first time in decades. Our God is awesome, is our provider, and your experience is a great reminder of that.

  • Great story brother. Our Father is the best.

  • treonelain

    Thank you for sharing this awesome story. It is very encouraging and timely. 🙂 Much love to you all.

  • Miriam Heppner

    Love these God stories… Our family has experienced God too in some amazing ways… those hard times are definitely opportunities to get clearer glimpses of our awesome and loving God. Thanks for sharing! Love you guys!!!

    • And YOU know it! Great to hear from the Heppners. We love you guys!

  • Melissa Bishop

    It is ‘wary’, not ‘weary’.
    My husband and I are also in a dire financial situation. I have a ‘donate’ button on my blog http://duchessofcoloradosprings.blogspot.com/ and have not received a penny. Husband has been out of work for almost three years now. We have no more cash and no longer use credit cards. Family members are themselves on limited incomes and fret about not being able to help us. I tell them it is more important to us that they are obedient to the voice of God than they give us money. If the Lord has not told them to give, do not give, if He tells you to give, give! It is so simple and yet we make it so complicated. God has never let us down. Never! He is always good and comes through just in time…HIS time. In your case, He met your need before you knew you would have a need. I love stories like this. God bless you and your family and also that He would bless those who are obedient when they hear his voice. Woot!

  • :O) God is good. Thank you for sharing.

  • mom28infl

    After I was on CNN’s “The Joy Behar Show” talking about my book “Birthing God’s Mighty Warriors” because of the CBS produced “Born to Breed” documentary your family and my family we in, our lives have been slammed financially. But we have seem the miraculous. The hand of God has come forward countless times for our family of 10. It is absolutely amazing how God can and will provide for our large families. We never go without and always down to the exact dollar, I LOVE IT!! Thanks for sharing Chris!

    • Great to hear from you, Rachel. Hope all is well! =)

  • Andrea Dailey

    Thank you so much for sharing, Chris! We only have 8 children, and two are grown and in homes of their own…but my husband has been unemployed for three years. (We just celebrated that rather glum anniversary last week.) He is in school to learn a new trade, and he has been applying for jobs all over the place. We are waiting on God. And God keeps showing up–all the ways He has provided in the last three years would take hours. Your story illustrates so beautifully that God DOES CARE. He does provide. He does show up. He shows up in Kansas garages through foul-mouthed mechanics with big hearts. He shows up through a young couple with several young children who are on the edge financially and who are willing to trade baby-sitting for music lessons for my children. He shows up through friends who provide tires for your car. (That happened to us TWICE through two different sets of friends who do not know each other.) He shows up with sweet thrift store finds that allow your girls to feel like they are dressed stylishly and modestly without breaking the budget. He shows up in the every day details of things you would never have imagined or asked for, like someone providing a dinner out for you as a couple, the week it happened to be your wedding anniversary. I am looking forward to my husband being gainfully employed again. I am also going to miss that sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat while we watch God provide for the electric and phone bills just in time.

  • Sarah F.

    This sounds a lot like the missionary stories from the 1800s. It is so awesome each time I hear a new one! Thanks for sharing!