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A True Story Of Answered Prayer

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One New Year's morning, sotue few years ago, a widow and her tbree chiklren - two boys and one girl - sat round the breakfast table. There was a stnall piece of bread on the board - the only food in the house. Snow was on the ground, and the little girl had hard work to keep the tears from forcing their way down her blue cheek. l'here was no lire in the grate, and no fuel to kindie one. For several yeais tliis poor widow had to struggle hard against poverty. Her beloved husband had been suddenly called up higher, leaving her with a baby.girl just two months old. At first her grief was so great that she was unable to look after anything in the house. Uelatives and frieuds were kind, and did what they could, but the spare moncy wis speut, and when she was able to 8ee to lier household she had only a few pounds in the bank. What could she do? The house whs hera so long as bhe remained unniarried, and there is a small sum she niight ex peet yearly ; for the interest of the cliililren's nioney was hers until the youngest becanie of' age. But that would not go far toward clothiug, feeding and educating the little ones. The niaidservant was dismissed, and the other expenses brought down as low as they could possibly be. She tried needle-work, but her health failed. Then she invested her little stock of moncy in variouB email articles and opened a aliop. Tbis only lasted two years, for customers, Qnding the meek widow not careful about gathering in her ilebts, ulways had a ready excuse when she niildly asked it' it would not be couvenient for theui to settle their account. Things went on thus until being unable to replenish her stock, the shop had 10 be clo.-e i, and aain the widow had to Hak a livtlihood for her fauiily. She was a sincere Christian - one of' those who cuuld trust the Lord wlun she uould not see or understand dealings. So, after laying her plans before her Heavunly Fat lier, .she spoke to her ueighbors, asking them, for threepence a week, to allow her to takc care of and teach their very young children. This they were glad to do, for niany of them had to d iheir own housework, and only were too thimkful to have a nioe plaoe where their liclle ones could be out of the way utid kindly cared for. The plan prospered for a time, and the widow's heart was oficn cheered by one and another ot the mothers coming to thauk her fur the change in their children, and telling her how of an evening when father returned from bis daily toil, he forgot hi.s weariness and care in listening to the hymns which the little ones had learned to sing so nicely since they began to altend her school. But one day in the beginuing of slimmer, when the children went as usual, tliey were told that the "teacher " was ill, aud could uot teach. Tbe doctor said that it was the teaching that had done it, and f'ur nuiny week .he lay apparently uuconsciouc Sbe recovered, to the great delight of' her three children, who had prayed earnestly that mother might be restored to theui again. l'heir prayer was auswered, but the widow was forbidden to resume her teaching, and the little school was given up. Friends helped, but thia tbey could nut do niuch loriger, and tbis poor family found wiuter approaching, witli nothing in store and no money. Thus we find them on this partic ular New Year's moruing, as we introduce them to the reader. A blessing was asked, and the crust divided between the children. Neitber of theui murmured, only begged their raother to eat some, wbich the, poor creature, was unable to do. The meal over, the childreu gathered round lor family prayer. The eldest sat on his mother's eft hand, the second on her right, and the vougest on a stool at her feet. " My children," began the widow, "you know we have just finished our lust bit of bread, and I know not where our next is to come from. Uur Saviour says that the sparrows are not fbrgotten before God, and that we are of more value thuu many sparrows. (Luke vii ; 6-7.) He also tells us to take no thought for the niorrow - what we shall eat dunk. (Watt. vi : 2t. ) Knowmg this, let us believe that he will provide for us. Let us ask the Holy Gbost to direct us to a portion of bis word for enoouragement and stiungih." All heads were beDt, and the widow offered a short but fervent prayer that they might learn a lesson trom this trial, aud be guided to a special promise of comfort. " Now, my son,' speaking to the eldest, rcad where you open." And he began the 41st chapter of I sai ah, " Keep silence before we, oí, i.-lands," etc. Noihing was said uotil he reached the tenth verse, when the widow clasped her hands and exclaiuied, "There it is I There is the auswerl Read it again, and read it very slowly." And the lad read again: " Fear thou not, for 1 au with thee; be not dismayed ; f'ur I ara thy God ; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold ihee with the right hand of my righieousneps. " A third tinie the mother asked for it, and again it was read. " Listen, children, these are the words of our Heavenly Fatber, the Aluiighty God, Jehovah, and he sajs: ' Fear not ; I ara with thee '-that means us. ' Be not dismayed, for I aai thy God. ' 80 he bus all power to rule our affairs, and do for us far raore than we can eitber ak or think. 'I will strengthen thee,' 'help thee,' 'uphold thee witb the riht liand of my righteousnes..' What mure can we possibly need than he has pmmised Ui here? Finish the chapter, and then let us thank hiui for this special message." The chapter ended, the widow again drew the attention of her little ones to the 13th verse, "'For I the Lord tby God will hold thy right band, saying unto thee, Fear not.' Here the Lord says he will huid our right hand with hand, he will lead us, guide us and proieut us. Then the 17th verse seems so suited to our case, for we are indeed 'poor and needy.' Tbesfl prouiises are given us ; it just remains for us to ask. 'Ask, and it shall be given you.'" (Lukexzii: 6.) The four knelt down, and the widow opened her heart and told it all to Jesus. 8he reniinded him of his promise to bc the husband ot the widow, and the father of the fatherless. She told him of their sore distress, and ahe went on to thank him f'ur bis wouderful promise in the portion of 8cripture they had read. Before she had finished, a kuock was heard at the door. Sbe ended her prayer with the Lord's Prayer, the children joinitig in. They rose from their knees, but not before the knock had been repeatcd. The widow opened the door and saw a butcher's man with a largo joint of meat on bis tray. "Are you Mrs. ?" the man said. "Yes," replied the widow. "Well, miister hope you will accept of this witb his oompliments." Tears started to her eyes, and she caught hold of the door for support. Sbe could not believe that her prayer was so quickly answered. She knew God had said, "Before they cali I will unswer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear." (Isa. lxv : 24.) Yet, like Peter's friends, she could hardly believe. " I think there must be some mistake," she said at last; "your master has never sent me anythiug before ; are you sure this i-i tbe house?" "Yes, ma'am, l'iu quite sure, here's the address writlen down - look, and see for youreelf." She saw there was no mistake, sj she took the meat, and, is sotm as the man lad lef't, she feil on her koeos, thanking lier l'atli. i in lieavun, and asking liiin to forgive hur momentary doubting. Not long after another messenger arrived, with a notice tliat lie had been ordyed to leave a ton of coala tliere ; then auother witli a latrof flonr ; itul theafternoon's post bruught a letter 1 1 om au unknown friend, asking the widiw to accept tlie inclo.-ed post offii-e order lor beraelf and children. " Truly uur Gid isa tioarrr and answerer of' prayer" lie said,when they met together once moro lor family worhip bef'ore retirin? for tlie niicht. This tiuie a bright fire was biirning, and all thcir faces wore a happy, rheerfu! look. This was the hardest trial llic widow was callcd to go through at tliat timo. As soon as she could she raturned ibftlricfl in person to her kind bonet'aetois. They were astonished to find their neighbor so very poor. As sho had always taoked re&pectabfe they never dreamt she had been without bread. When she told them liow wonderfully God had given her a promise fnm hit own word, and how he had answercd" her prayer, tbey rqjOMSd to know tbat God had used thcüi to answer her prayer. As soon as tho facts were more generally known, a draper askid for the eldest son to be apprenticed in bis house. líe would allow him a few shilling a week at firs.t. It was not his custoiu to ptty apprentices - they usually paid hiin - but he wanted to help the widow. The mother and sun talked it over and prayed about it. It was a trial tor the son to leave school -o young, but they considered it another answer to prayer, and awvpted the draper's kind offer. Very bood alter a firncer, hearing of the quii:kiiessiind pefWVOTMlM of the eldest son, appliid for ibe Other UU the saine terms. Tbus was the widow belped with their wages, iind nut burdened with baving to provide l'iiod fer the BongTJ Isds, boih being boariii d in the hODM. Tbcy went home on Samtday niglit., returning ou Mondiiy to their crqrk, stronger, bettet siid happier for the Sablath gpeut with mother and littie sister. Those Sablmths werc happy days. The widow would ja'her her chiWren about her, and lieten to i be diffiealnea tiicy li.ul been thr.'iiL'b di)riag the ierk. Sne would pympatliiíe with iboni.aud read mue nice hulplui st iru:.-, oever omitting to roiiiind them of (bat wondert 'ui New Sear's ojorninf,'. " Heuiembcr," wi uld s;iy, "God iiiti hear you just as weil wboÚ you are berviug beliiod the counter, going errands, or whatever else you m y he iiiinf;. Lift up your heart and ask for jut what you need ; teil him your every trouble, and never forget how he shswered jirayer; that will help you to tru.-t 1 itn in the future." Theu they woud have tea, take a walk aoroM the fielda to the cburch, where their faithlul pastor never l'aik-d to meet the lequirementsof his fluck ; lor he had tasted and geen " tliat the Lord ifi gracious " (1 Pet. ii: 5) and knew how to lift him up tbr others. The fbrigoitiK story is quite truc. The actors in it are still alive. None of them can ever forget that memorable New Year's morning, and God's wonderful answer to the widow's prayer. They saw the l'uifill ment of' his own word of proinise. May all who read it be eneouraged to tritst and believe that what Oc d promitet in bfeword he will most surely perform. " He is faithful that promised." (Heb. x: 23.)