What A Blue Wool Cape Taught Me About Provision

by Alison Gerber


I really, really wanted this blue wool cape. It’s from American Apparel. It was $170, I mean, an insane amount of money. I was saving up my pocket money, $20 a week.

And then: it went on sale! I had the money! Perfect. I put in my order, I couldn’t wait. Until…I received an email from the store. “We regret to inform you the cape is out of stock. Would you like to order something else?” I couldn’t believe it. I was so sad. I couldn’t believe they’d accidentally left it in stock on their website. I feel absolutely deflated.

But that weekend, like many Saturdays, I popped in to the Give and Take, that old raquet-ball court on campus filled with used goodies that students donate. Everything is free. We give freely and take freely. I love treasure hunting in there, and its presence nearby keeps my closet from getting too cluttered.

That Saturday, I could barely believe it, right there before my eyes was a blue wool cape. I mean, seriously, what were the chances? It was fabulous: heavy and warm, reversible, blue and brown with a little zip. A collar to pop. It was exactly what I’d dreamed of. It was better than the American Apparel cape. And for $0, it was mine.

In that glorious moment of swishing the cape around my shoulders, I know it sounds crazy, but I really felt that this cape was a gift from God. Sometimes I get so worried about how I’ll look or whether I’ll have the right clothes for some upcoming occasion, or – for the sake of this project – whether I really will find what I need if I can’t rely on regular means of acquiring clothes. But there, in the Give and Take, I was given a physical, practical example of Jesus’ words from the sermon on the mount:

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow: they do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”

(Image: American Apparel)