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God's Providence and Provision - Richard Sharpe



In the late summer of 2017, I was released from a job that I thought had been right for my gifts and talents from the Lord.


After serving in Youth ministry with Young Life for 14 years, I was engaged to work with kids at a K-8 school in Mobile. In my administrative role, I was leading 4th grade Bible classes, assisting with middle school chapel services, and working with the development office of the school in addition to serving as dean of students.


I was notified of release in July with less than a week before schools were scheduled to start and provided with short-term severance compensation. With most schools already set for the next school year in the hiring cycle, I could not find another job in the education sector.


In God’s providence, our church was conducting 21 days of prayer for the harvest season that was to start in the beginning of August. I was reminded of words I heard as a young Christian from a mentor in the Young Life ministry that God will handle all my doubts, fears, needs and questions and that He invites me to bring those issues to Him.


As we read Hebrews 12:2-4, Lori and I fixed our eyes on Jesus, not our circumstances. It was a time of uncertainty and great need . . . we had two children of high school age, and I was unemployed. After several meetings with respected businessmen in our community, we found no fit jobs available that had health insurance benefits.


At the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit the greater Houston area. I received a phone call from a trusted friend who hired me as an agent-advocate to assist flood victims. He did not know how long this job would last but assured me that it would provide for my family financially. I spent over 80 days in Houston working with insurance agents to assist flood victims. After surviving Hurricane Frederick and many other devastating storms living in Mobile, it was a joy to provide support for people in a great time of need.


One of my favorite recollections is of a widow who had no way to remove the water-soaked sheetrock from her home. She was very upset and allowed me to pray with her on the phone. As I was driving in Houston later that day, I saw a vehicle on the interstate identified as with the Missouri Baptist disaster team. I called the phone number on the vehicle, and they were able to take care of the needs of this widow. It was a joy to be used by God to connect resources that He had provided to people in great distress.


When I returned home, another respected Mobile businessman asked me to come see him regarding a position with his company. I met with this friend and was hired to work in a business development role in the maritime industry. It was something I had never done, but he assured me that he would secure a year to evaluate the fit. Now almost 6 years later, I have been able to serve Jesus in a completely different environment than I had anticipated, and his provision has been right on time as our children moved into college.


In every challenge, doubt, and crying to God about what He was doing, my wife Lori and I consistently prayed for Jesus to lead us in “paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” as it says in Psalm 23.


It has not been a comfortable or easy road these last 6 years, but God’s provision and plan have supplied more than we could dream or imagine regarding the needs of our family. We have seen Him answer prayers in ways that only Jesus can do as we walk with Him.


Richard and Lori are long-time residents of Mobile. He is a business development executive in the maritime industry and active in a variety of Christian ministries in Mobile.


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