A Bottle of Oil

It was November, 1966. My husband was in the Army and I was at home with our young son. Our second child was due in January. The princely sum of $183.10 a month (the Army allotment for dependents) didn’t go very far. First, I would lay aside the tithe, then the house payment of $64. Utilities came next and whatever was left over was earmarked for groceries.

Image © David Sorensen from GoodSalt.com

Image © David Sorensen from GoodSalt.com

One night, I was looking in the refrigerator and cabinets. Three days before, I’d made a big pot of vegetable soup. I gave a bowlful to my son for breakfast, lunch and supper. He wasn’t a picky eater which made it much easier. To conserve what was left, I would have my bowl once a day. I knew the baby would take whatever it needed from me. But now the soup was gone.

As I surveyed the contents of the kitchen, all I found was a pint bottle of vegetable oil. We couldn’t eat that. I looked in my purse. Twenty-five cents. I went to the bedroom, knelt by the bed and prayed. I told the Lord He knew our circumstances. We didn’t have a phone or a car so I couldn’t contact relatives for help. It was up to Him and whatever His will was, I would accept it.

The next morning, the weekly ad came from the grocery on the corner a few blocks away. Artichokes were on sale for 10 cents each. Lemons were a nickel. There was no tax on food. Two artichokes and one lemon would make our last meal. It wouldn’t be practical but it would be delicious. I took my son by the hand and we walked to the store.

Coming out with my purchase in one hand and holding my son’s hand with the other, I saw a big black car that seemed to be headed straight for us. Alarmed, I pushed my son behind me. At the same time, I wondered what crazy person would be driving like that. Looking up, I saw the driver was laughing.

It took a moment to recognize him as my husband’s uncle. He got out, smiling, and said, “I thought I might find you here!” He had us get in the car so he could drive us home. It wasn’t far at all so we only exchanged greetings.

Parking in the driveway, he opened the trunk while I unlocked the front door. Then he began pulling out box after box of—GROCERIES! I couldn’t believe my eyes! He brought them into the house and told me the ladies of the church had been packing Thanksgiving boxes for the needy. He said his wife had told the others they had a member in the church who needed help as much as anyone.

I started unloading the food. There were bags of dried beans. Flour, sugar and cornmeal. Rice and split peas. Everything I could ever imagine we would need except for fresh produce. I could fix a real meal, not just artichokes cooked with lemon.

My uncle-in-law brushed off my heartfelt thanks with a smile and left me to the job of putting the food away. It was the most enjoyable thing I had done for a long time.

The next day, a neighbor took me to the Red Cross where I applied for and received a grant. When we got home, there was an envelope in the mailbox from my husband with $40. That, with the grant, gave me $70. I took out $7 for tithe and praised the Lord.

We got back in the car and went to the store. In 1966, $63 was riches when it came to buying food. For once, I didn’t have to choose between carrots and celery. God had blessed beyond what I could imagine. When I knelt beside my bed that night, it was with thanksgiving.



A Bottle of Oil — 28 Comments

  1. I would like to thank the Lord for being faithful. He told us to ask him anything in his name he will give us.David said"the lord is my shepherd l shall not want"

    • We're told all we need is the size of a grain of mustard seed. That's quite small. Don't underestimate your value to God. He'll do for you what He did for me and mine.

  2. I'm encouraged when I hear stories of God's providence and the way He intervenes and provides for His people. Right now my husband and I are faced with a situation that appears impossible. As a matter of fact, I'm up this early 0400 am praying for an answer, when I came across your story. I don't know what God has in mind for this situation as always, but I do trust His love and care.

    • Little becomes much, when we place it in the master's hands.

      Dear Jesus,
      Your child Nanci Mosca and her husband are facing a giant. You know Lord that they have no strenght to fight this alone and if they do they will fall. So Jesus with your strong loving arms, please fight their current battle. Give them the faith to rely completely on you. Lord, impress on their hearts to sing, "victory is mine, victory today is mine," because when we allow you to fight our batles, we are asssured that victory is certain. I will continue praying for you both. God bless you.

    • Nanci, my favorite cantata is "'Specially for Shepherds" (which is appropriate for this time of year). A phrase from one of the songs is, "And with God, everything is possible. It's not possible to be impossible." He sees your need and He loves you.

  3. What a wonderful story of hope and encouragement. This story brought to mind the message that was preached at my church last Saturday titled "God Trust You With Trouble." The preacher explained that everything that happens in your life is for your own good and that God will not make a way where there's already a road or a path. It is when you cannot see before you or behind you, it is then that God makes a way..opening the red sea for you to walk through. He is strengthening us with every circumstance and every experience. God bless you for sharing this experience.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one, may God richely bless us all. What a mighty God we serve, He promise he would not leave us helpless, or hopeless. He said for us to knock and he would open, ask and he would give unto us. So my dear sister Burchard, thank God for your faith in him, for waiting on his answer to your call, he never fails us, he is a ontime God. Amen. Let us keep holding on to the everlasting hand of God,and be faithful and constant in our prayers, may He bless us all, for I of myself have a lot to be thankful for. Let's keep praying for each other as we are neighbours in Christ. Amen.

  5. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Comments without full names might not be published. Thank you.]

    This was a wonderful encouraging story of how God provides! But I would like to know if we are suppose to tithe monetary gifts, like this woman did? Since her income did not increase, as a result of work. And if so, would it have been proper for her to also give an offering, as well?

    • I tithe everything. I distress some of my relatives by tithing things they don't think I need to. My belief is that I can't outgive God. And I did give offerings, as well. Maybe they weren't a certain percentage but I always made sure my son and I could both share.

  6. His Hands are still upon us, and He is still sitting on the Highest Throne, He is might, and my pray is that may he grant us that which is his will, and take away that which is not of his Will, no matter what the pain is. Amen

  7. How my heart is greatly encouraged by this wonderful story of faith and God's love and care. Bless you, sister, for sharing.

  8. God is a faithful to those who trust him. as he has promised he will always provide for them in the time of their need. in Matthew 7:7 He has said that we seek and we shall get this shows how much he is willing to meet us at our point of need. lets endeavour to always seek him and to cast our burdens to Him because He is more than willing to help us.

  9. We should always be faithful to God as He is tn us,GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD. Let us never worry about our life.

  10. I can totally relate to this situation having been through something similar.
    When I was very poor, my son and I lived on cabbage, cornbread with soybeans and canned fruit. Once a couple of people found out, they gave me some of their canned fruit. We existed for over a year that way. Then one day, a $200 check came in the mail from a dear friend who didn't even know I was in trouble and I was able to help pay off bills. In a short time, I paid all my bills and moved. That wasn't the only time God gave me a chance to build my faith but it was a time I look back knowing that God always provides what we need.

  11. This story gets me every time I hear it. I was the little boy. I wouldn't want soup three times a day. 🙂
    God is good!

    • It brings to mind Philippians 4:19. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

      God was with us for sure, wasn't He? You liked to have a full tummy and, at that age, soup three times a day was welcome. It was only later you would have said, "Soup AGAIN??"

  12. Praise the Lord for your testimony. He is still in the miracle working business. Your prayer of faith moved the mountain of hunger. I too pray for that mustard seed faith!

  13. Isaiah 43:19-‘I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’-"He can restore your fortunes and bring blessing in unlikely situations"...God is realy Good

  14. We truly are serving an Omnipotent, Omnipresent and an Omnicient God, from selling our house, to getting a house out of the cities, getting a post and just waiting on God for our next move. He knows what we need before we need it.


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