life

When Hope Wears Thin

We had a bad week. Our air conditioner was leaking water onto the floor. Our gas stove was leaking gas into the house. We had air in the pipes that sounded like a ship leaving port every time a toilet flushed. Our septic system backed up.  We couldn’t use our bathrooms, wash clothes, or wash dishes. All of this happened in the course of a few days.  We were carrying loads of clothes and dishes next door to the neighbor’s house to be washed. In fact, we were carrying ourselves next door to be washed. It was a tough week and it was expensive. Mostly it was just frustrating. It seemed like everything was falling apart. Our hope wore thin.

hope wears thin

I’m sure you’ve had times like that. We all do. We just feel inadequate. And in those times, the world is right there to slap labels on us: unprepared, unreliable, disorganized, uneducated. Often we beat the world to the punch and put the labels on ourselves. We decide that we’ll just never get it together, so what’s the point? Just wear the label and suffer through it.in the story of Rahab. She is mentioned eight times in Scripture, and in five of those she is referenced as a prostitute. Two of those are in the New Testament. It seems like Rahab just can’t get away from the labels.

When we first read about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2, she’s working in a demeaning job and living in a detestable culture. Like the rest of the people of Jericho, she had heard the stories of the Hebrews and their God. But unlike everyone else, Rahab responded with faith instead of fear. She believed that the God of the Hebrews would deliver Jericho and she recognized in that God something she had never known in any of the Amorite gods. Don’t get me wrong. She didn’t understand it. She knew nothing about tabernacles or manna or scapegoats or wave offerings. She had never heard of the Mercy Seat.

She just knew that this God was different, truly powerful.

She had a faith-filled hope in God.

God saw Rahab respond WITH faith and He responded TO her faith.

God sent two Hebrew spies to confirm Rahab’s faith. He’ll do the same for you. If you will just hold on during those difficult times, God will send people into your life who will confirm your faith, who will let you know that you are seen and you are worth protecting. The spies also delivered a promise: Rahab and her family would be spared because she dared to believe in a God she didn’t know. It’s not about understanding or having it all together; it’s about believing and trusting.

hope is believing

When the walls of Jericho tumbled down, so did Rahab’s past. She climbed out of the rubble of the city that defined and confined her. She walked into freedom. In time she married Salmon, one of the spies that she had saved, and they had a son, Boaz, who would become the grandfather of David. She went from foreigner to family; from pagan to believer; from harlot to hero of the faith.

You see, we use labels to define our present, but God uses those labels to describe our past. I can hear Rahab say, “I was lost, but now I’m found. I was bound, but now I’m free.” Now let’s hear you say the same.

Practice hope, it’s a choice, believe and trust in His perfect plan.

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Three years ago I was rocking my 2-month-old baby when my (then) husband broke the news that he no longer wanted to be married.

I’ve struggled daily with forgiveness for more than 3 years, learning that forgiveness can’t always be given in an instant.

forgiveness

I can’t say, “I forgive you for leaving us.” and suddenly be rid of anger and hurt forever. That anger surfaces over and over: when I face a parenting decision alone, when medical bills arrive, when I’m lonely, when a child asks why her father left, and on, and on. Each and every time that anger washes over me, I must again try to forgive.

What can be done to forgive what feels unforgivable?

Realize that forgiveness isn’t ‘once and done’. It is a constant. Each time anger surfaces, there is need to forgive once again.

What is forgiveness? Is it condoning the actions of the one who hurt you? Is it removing the need for accountability? Is it pretending the wrong never happened or there were no consequences?

No! Forgiveness is simply acknowledging a wrong and giving it to God, realizing that He is the one in control of the situation. Rather than worrying about just punishment for an offense, allow God to take care of it.

forgiveness

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

Even after three years, I am no pro at forgiveness. I must still frequently revisit forgiveness through prayer, asking for help to surrender my anger and hurt.

Friend, if you are struggling to forgive, remember that forgiveness is an ongoing battle. Approach God with prayer each time you find yourself dwelling on the transgression. Recognize that God is in control of righting injustice and you are simply in control of letting go.

Forgiveness Is Freedom

Have you ever noticed that the words GIVE and GIVEN are in the middle of forgiveness? I guess I never really thought about it. Until today. And now, that which has been seen cannot be unseen.

ForGIVEness is a noun, and as such, it is a thing. It is something you can give, and it is something that can be given to you—whether you choose to receive it or not. Isn’t that interesting?

forgiveness

Psychologists have long contended that the offer of forGIVEness benefits the person giving it regardless of the recipient’s reaction. Why? Rarely do the people we need to forgive have a clue how much harm they have inflicted or the extent of the pain they have caused. Can I get a witness?!

ForGIVEness is not about fighting for justice or holding the offender accountable—that’s completely different. ForGIVEness is an attitude of the heart. It’s about us and our willingness to trust God’s sovereignty: Do we trust God enough to forGIVE someone for hurting us? Our family? Our friends? Our pastor? Our animals? Our possessions? Our bank accounts?

When I consider what authentic forGIVEness looks like, I think of the incredibly inspiring and humble members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I think of  Nadine Collier, the daughter of Ethel Lance, a senior citizen who was shot and killed after an evening service in 2015 for no other reason than the color of her skin. When Collier had the opportunity to confront her mother’s murderer, she did not seek revenge or curse his existence. She did not question why or scream in his face. Instead, she offered the unexpected and holy gift of forGIVEness. Though he was held captive by his hate, she was FREE.

When I consider what authentic forGIVEness looks like, I think of Debbie Godwin, daughter of Robert Godwin Sr. whose cold-blooded murder was posted on social media and shared all over the interwebs. Instead of hate and bitterness, she has shown tremendous grace and emotional fortitude by offering forGIVEness and showing empathy towards the murderer who later took his own life. He was held captive by his hate. She was FREE.

What do Collier, Godwin, and others who genuinely practice the art of forGIVEness have in common? They share a heart filled with humility and trust—the combination of which unlocks our ability to offer forGIVEness to those who have hurt us, even if the hurt can never be undone.

Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus taught His followers how to pray, He taught them to “Let it go!”

“Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. (Matthew 6:12, CSB)

And just in case Jesus’ followers didn’t understand that forGIVEness was tied to their willingness to forGIVE others, He re-stated it more clearly:

“If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14, CSB)

In this model prayer, Jesus highlighted the essentials of an effective prayer: honoring God; calling out for His will to be done; looking to Him as provider; requesting protection and deliverance from evil; AND seeking forGIVEness with the same measure we offer it to others. It’s almost as though Jesus was teaching His followers that forGIVEness was an important daily practice—a spiritual discipline, of sorts—and withholding it would have serious negative consequences.

ForGIVEness requires neither a frontal lobotomy nor a risky reconciliation. It simply requires (1) a humble spirit convinced that the best judge of character, motivation, and intention is the Lord God Almighty and (2) a heightened sense of self-awareness that we are not Him! 😳

Only in humility are we able to place our trust in a God who is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. When we trust God, we can genuinely offer forGIVEness—not concern ourselves with the reaction of the recipient—and experience freedom from the bondage of bitterness.

forgiveness

Are you willing to trust God’s judgment over your own and offer forGIVEness to ___________________ today, even though she or he might never know? Or might reject it? Remember, His forGIVEness is directly related to our willingness to forGIVE others. There really is no better time than the present to let go of bitterness and trust God’s sovereignty with your pain. ForGIVEness is freedom.

When We Don’t Pray

What would you think if your husband didn’t speak to you for days or even weeks at a time? What if your children talked about you but rarely spoke with you? What if your friends went to your house but didn’t talk to you while they were there?

prayer

Of course these situations sound strange and are probably pretty unbelievable, right? But when we don’t pray, that’s essentially how we’re treating God. Even if we read the Bible. Even if we go to church. Even if we sing hymns or worship songs. Even if we read Christian books. All of those things are great. They are all things we should do. But they shouldn’t take the place of prayer in our lives.

Why not? Because prayer is the way we communicate with God. It’s the way we tell Him how much we love Him. It’s the way we thank Him for meeting our needs. It’s the way we ask Him for guidance. It’s one of the ways we communicate with God in response to all the ways He communicates with us.

And it grieves the heart of God when we don’t pray.

Years ago my husband was filling in for our pastor who was away one Sunday. He began his sermon by telling how he was caught off guard by the amount of love in his heart for our first child when she was born. Of course he had loved Hannah before she was born, but when we welcomed her into the world, a whole new level of love filled his heart. An unexpected love that he never could have understood until our child was born.

He went on to tell how, as she grew, every little thing she did seemed so miraculous. Every milestone she reached made him so proud! Every noise she made sounded like music. Every smile lit up his heart and made him love her that much more.

And then, around the age of 15 months, things changed. Our sweet girl stopped talking. She lost the ability to understand speech. She no longer looked at her daddy with love in her eyes. She no longer laughed when he played with her. She no longer understood his instructions or tried to follow them. She no longer craved her daddy’s attention or sought his approval.

In other words, she no longer responded to her father’s voice.

My husband learned by experiencing Hannah’s lack of response toward him—Hannah’s earthly daddy—that God feels the same way when His children don’t respond to Him. And if we earthly parents grieve when our children don’t respond to our imperfect love, how much more must God grieve when we fail to respond to His perfect love for us?

prayer

Yes, prayer is important. It’s one of the ways we show God that we’re listening. It’s one of the ways we ask Him to help us understand His will for our lives. It’s one of the ways we thank Him for what He does for us. It’s one of the ways we acknowledge Him, communicate with Him, and respond to Him. It’s one of the ways we worship Him. But the most important reason to pray is simply because God desires a relationship with each of us.

Walking with God in Prayer

Sometimes, we forget to do “it.”  Other times, we take “it” for granted.  Often times, I wonder how little power we attribute to “it.” But truly how often do we take a step back, stand in awe of the fact that our Lord and Savior has given us the amazing gift of prayer?

walking with God in prayer

Prayer connects us to God

Prayer gives us a way to connect with THE GOD of the Universe!

How amazing is that!

Let’s stop and contemplate that for a moment……

 

Before the world began, God knew we would sin and that this sin would keep us from having a relationship with him.  So, he formed a plan to save us and reconcile us back to himself.

“He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
1 Peter 1:20-21

He not only wanted us to be with Him in heaven one day, but He wanted to cultivate a relationship on Earth.  This is why he blessed all who believe and are baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Not only do we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but we also have the gift of prayer.

Walking with God

Throughout the Bible, we read that so and so “walked with God.”  Enoch walked with God 300 years, Noah walked with God, etc.  In the past when I would read about them walking with God, I felt a longing in my heart to do the same.  But for some weird reason, I didn’t believe it was possible.  And then, I read this verse and realized God wants to walk with ALL of us!

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (emphasis added)

Yes!  Walking with God is possible for all of us, but how? 

Walking with God in the Power of Prayer

Jesus emphatically tells us in John 14 & 15 that Jesus and the Father are one. That if we know Jesus, we know the Father.  Then in a bolder statement, Jesus says:

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.  I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in  me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
John 14:11-15

Honestly, this boggles my mind a bit…what about you?

Have you ever thought about doing greater things than Jesus?  Um…Never!  But here is the thing:

prayer

It was by God’s power that Jesus did everything He did.  He walked with God through a prayerful life.  Jesus wants us to walk in a prayerful life with Him because in doing so, we will walk in a prayerful life with God. Then, God will work through us in the same way He worked through Jesus! 

We are, after all, supposed to follow Christ’s example.  Are we truly taking hold of the power of prayer or are we settling for something less than what we could have?  These are questions I’ve been asking myself.  Would you join me in this challenge of walking with God through prayer in a more powerful way?

How does this change your outlook on prayer? 

Does it scare you at all? 
Because, it does me just a little, but in a good-God’s-pushing my comfort zone kind of way.

 

Escape Through Provision

Have you ever thought about how the Lord provides a way to escape through provision? Honestly, I had never considered that until these past few months.

provision

Through my life, I have always thought about how the Lord gives blessings and provides for his children through material possessions. But, now, I can see so much more than that because of this verse:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

Do you see it?  He provides a way to escape from temptation.

Isn’t that beautiful?

To me, it is because I have fallen into temptation my entire life. I have longed for material possessions, to be the best (at many different things), I have suffered from jealousy, coveteousness, gossip, anger….. and the list goes on.

One thing I have held higher than I should is the need for stability.

I never really thought about that or how it can be sinful to need stability, but this past year, God has shown me that anything I place above Him causes my heart to wander.

It took a true friend, one who knows I long to learn more about the Lord to speak the truth.

One day, as I shared our financial situation, she very lovingly replied: “The Lord will bring to light the things we need to work on so that He can do bigger things in our lives and the lives of others through us.”

That hit me like a load of bricks.

She didn’t say “Oh, I am so sorry” or  “Oh, I hope things work out…”  She spoke the truth and showed me that no matter what was going on, the Lord had allowed it to happen, but for a bigger purpose than I could imagine.

As I considered what she said, I asked her to pray for me. I asked her to pray that God would give us clear direction….

God did give us clear direction.

Within a few months, a neighbor called and told us she was selling her home and asked if we would like to speak with her realtor.  I agreed to  do so but knew that we had to make a certain amount on our home, or it would not make sense.

The realtor came that night and within 48 hours (even before listing on MLS), we had a full price contract.

In that transaction, God provided a way for us to pay off almost all of our debt.

While we do not have a home of our own, he has also provided shelter – through the same friend who gave me those words of wisdom. We needed to sell our home and a place to regroup; she needed house sitters while her home is empty.

God has provided.

His provision was not just for our physical needs; he has also provided spiritually.

provision

I no longer judge how other people mess up their finances and end up homeless and needing food stamps.  There are times in this life where things happen because of lessons that haven’t been learned.  There are also times when things happen that are completely out of our control.

I am thankful for my friend and her lack of judging me. I am thankful for her love and desire to speak truth.

Most of all, I am thankful for how deeply she loves the Lord.

God has shown His love through His provision for me and my family.  I pray He will also provide a way for us to bless others…

…and on the 7th week, she rested

pro·vi·sion

I woke up this morning and realized July is almost over. GASP! And my blog is due – double whammy! The topic for this month, “provision,” which is: the action of providing or supplying something. I could easily write about another “pro” word, you know, as in procrastination but such is not the topic this month.

provision

As I prayed and sought the Scriptures, the first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:19. I’m going to be real honest with you, I usually tend to think about this verse when I’m trying to figure out “how am I going to pay for ‘X’?” I know my God is not a “genie in a bottle,” so I immediately felt convicted that provision must mean more than God making sure I have food, shelter and enough money to pay the bills. As a former pastor used to say, read the Scriptures s-l-o-w-l-y. So, I did. I looked up that verse and read it slowly and this is what I saw.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

If you recall last month’s blog I was in the midst of a full kitchen remodel that began the 1st week of June and construction / final installation didn’t end until July 11th. We still have items that need to be completed, but the kitchen is fully functional. Praise the Lord!

Being the planner that I am, I had a built-in cushion; all boxes were checked, but the surprises just kept coming…along with the tears. My prayers sounded like this, “Hello God! Do you not see that I have been a good steward with this project? I need you to make this go as smoothly as I planned it.” Me and my list explains why I fell through the ceiling and why things went a bit out of whack during our kitchen remodel.

God needed me to see my need for Him and let Him take care of things because I really have no control. Not having a clue on how things were going to get fixed kept me my attention on the One who is in control. I kept focusing on the “how are we going to pay for it” aspect instead of remembering God’s provision for our needs.

I’ll be honest, I cried a lot and then it was time to balance the budget, where the credits and the debits left us $156 ahead and left me saying, “Wow God, Wow!”

A friend who was going through a kitchen remodel at the same time we were, summarized my feelings so eloquently and she gave me a hearty laugh in the process —

“I feel like I am on a mission trip. I’m in a construction zone; paint all over myself, no plumbing, etc….*except*… no one is getting saved and there’s no plane waiting for me at the end of the week.”

While “nobody got saved,” I was able to have some fruitful discussions with the contractors. As a worldview teacher and pro-life activist, I pray faithfully that God provides me the words needed to speak should I encounter such situations. Interesting to note how I trust Him to faithfully provide for those situations and yet, I “panicked” about what I was seeing as the growing expense of our money pit, (ahem!) kitchen.

Why the panic? Why do so many of us panic over certain situations and not others. It’s different for each of us, but the issue remains. For those areas where we choose not to panic and when we focus our energy on seeking God’s peace and trusting His provision, things always work out better than we could have anticipated. Remember, I don’t have answers, but I do have a lot of questions and those questions keep me close to the Vine. I know all too well that God will be teaching me this lesson yet again. Hopefully next time I won’t fall through a ceiling.

provision

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

This whole process reminded me that I have zero control, and that is a good thing. It also left me weary because I kept trying to control what I couldn’t. I teased that what I now needed was a very long nap, and what do you know God makes provision for my need to rest too! That part about “all my needs” means all my needs. While there wasn’t a plane waiting for me at the end of the remodel, there was a Sleep Number™ bed with my number programmed and ready to receive me.

Wondering About God’s Provision?

I was very excited when I saw this month’s topic: God’s Provision. My husband and I have been on a journey of learning about God’s provision in a whole new way. This year has been one of ‘those’ years. One in which we have sure questioned God’s Provision. One in which we have wondered what God was doing. We have wondered why He was not providing like we thought He would.

provision

So as I looked ahead to writing this article, I was excited to share with you the complete story. I thought it surely would all be solved by the end of this month. But, friends, we are still in the middle of the story. We still haven’t seen the ending to these situations we’ve found ourself in. We still have not seen God’s provision come yet. 

. . . . Or have we?

Throughout this whole seven-month saga in our life, outwardly, it may seem like God is not providing for us.  But, oh WOW! There are many things that our God has provided! Things that go beyond human eye sight.  Things that go way deeper than the physical needs we have. Things beyond the very large decisions that weigh on our minds.

In His goodness, He has provided:

Preparation. Though some things can never be prepared for, we have felt prepared. God’s Spirit quietly prepared us to unclasp our hands to the things that rot and decay. God’s great provision!

Teaching. Great lessons, that can only be taught thru life’s hard times. We are being gently taught by God’s Word. God’s great provision!

Wisdom. We are wiser than we were a year ago. Certainly. Not that making any decision is any easier than it would have been a year ago. It might even be harder. Yet all the things God has taught us this year have prepared us to make the big decisions we are facing now. God’s great provision!

Peace. Throughout this whole year, though circumstances are less than ideal, we have felt peace. Peace in the midst of the storm. God’s great provision!

So, friend, if you also find yourself in need of God’s great provision, look around. He shows up everywhere. He may not look like what you think provision looks like. It may not be a physical provision. Yet, His Word, His grace, His peace, His preparation, His teaching. The lessons learned. Are all a part of our God’s great provision.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4 NLT

He sees the big picture. He sees the emotional and mental provision that we need. More so than all of that, He sees the spiritual provision we need. He knows what we need to go thru in order to come out refined as gold tried in the fire. As clay, molded and shaped, ready for what the Master has for us to do.

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Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.  Isaiah 64:8 NIV

We are not thru it yet. I don’t know how much longer we have before we can tell the whole story. For now, the story we can tell is that God provides. More than we think. And while he is providing, He is shaping us into the couple, the family, the person, He wants us to be. And because of that, we can praise God for His amazing provision.

When We Can’t See God’s Provision

I was so excited. A new school year was starting, and I had all our curriculum in order. With several weeks already planned out, things were going smoothly.

Then it happened.

provision

Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Late summer hurricanes are always a possibility when you live in Florida. However, this one caused a few huge trees on our street to fall, bringing down power lines with them. Of course, I can’t complain. No one was hurt. In fact, no one’s home was damaged.

But we had no electricity.

Now, if you haven’t been in Florida during August, you may not realize the intense heat. I know there is a difference between dry heat and humid heat, but let’s just say that the humidity in Florida’s August is so high that you are almost able to swim in the air. We were without air conditioning and were expecting up to two weeks before power would be restored! How could we do school? There was no way we could be in the house during the day, because it was unbearably hot.

I was so frustrated. We had such a great beginning to our school year.

Part of my frustration was with God. I really felt He had called us to homeschool, but it seemed that I never was able to meet MY GOALS for the year. And this year was starting out the same way. WHY did God allow for a hurricane to mess things up? Wouldn’t He want ME to successfully teach MY children according to the lesson plans *I* had carefully planned?!?

Well, you can probably guess what happened. God knew what was better for us than I did.

Really. He did.

In order to endure the heat each day, we would pack up our books, papers, and lunchboxes and go to the local library. On that first day, the librarian noticed how we were camping out, so she came over to ask if we needed anything. I explained our situation and that we were doing our homeschool work there. “What are you all studying?” she asked us.

And that began one of the best two weeks of our homeschooling journey.

You see, once she learned what we were covering, she told my children all about what the library had in the way of books that would go along with our subjects.

The next day, she asked if they would like to go downstairs into the resource rooms and learn about microfiche (for those of you too young to know what that is…it’s an old-school type of projected viewer showing printed materials like newspapers and magazines, many from years and years ago). Each day, she excitedly came up to us to ask if she could help us. Some days we were fine and other days we asked her what she could show us. She set us up with historical videos, educational games, interesting magazines, and even a few crafts they had left over from some summer programs.

After two weeks of that, my children became true library professionals. They could navigate their way around the computer card catalogs as well as the “ancient” hard catalogs, too. They boldly went up to our librarian “friend” to ask questions and also came to realize that librarians REALLY are a wealth of information and (for the most part) LOVE to help.

No amount of Mom-planned field trips would have given them this lesson. They truly learned a skill I wanted to teach them but never could find the time to add it to our “busy” days: how to learn how to learn. Not just memorize things, but how to research and discover information they do not know.

Indeed, the Lord provided.

provision

He set up the circumstances to require us to camp out at the library for 10 days. He knew this was an important skill for my children to learn that would help prepare them for the future.

Now, I know that this provision seems small. I could share “bigger” times of provision with you: a time when my son was horribly injured and had to endure several surgeries, a time when we had to care for my sick father by having him move in with us, and many more. God indeed provides for us in the big things. But this provision came during a time I least expected it. It showed me that my Lord provides even the little things in ways I cannot orchestrate myself.

He cares so much for us that He knows our needs before we know them. Rest on that. Know that the things that “get in the way” of our plans do not take our loving Lord by surprise. It may be our Plan B, but it is ALWAYS His Plan A!

Seeing God’s Provision in Our Lives

This month we are sharing our thoughts on God’s Provision in our lives. The first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:19 where as a child of God, I can rest assured that my needs will be met.

“And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

provision

As life comes at me from all directions, it can be a challenge to stay on track. Even the best planned day can go sideways in a heartbeat. I consider it a blessing to know that I am not alone in trying to meet the needs of my family (whether financial, physical, or emotional).

Just think of the promise. My God shall supply every need..according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

When we place our faith in the Christ, God has committed himself to protect, provide, and care for us. The hard part for us is to remember that although God always provides for his children, it is usually not in the way we expect.

Isn’t that the truth? When I am knee deep in life, it is often hard to see His provision and care. I find myself praying for specific results instead of His will. Especially when my needs feel so urgent..I need the help now!

But Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God’s way is higher than ours. God sees the overall picture or forest when we can often only see what is right in our face.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

Don’t feel that you are the only one that feels this way. Even the disciples missed what Jesus was saying and doing..and they were there to witness it! If the disciples missed the point of the miracles and the lessons in the parables, we need to not be so hard on ourselves when we do not understand or see God’s provision in our lives even though we know it is there.

I think it helps to remember that provision is not just physical things.

So how should we look at God’s provision in our lives?

God Provides Differently Than We Expect

Remember the story of how God fed the Israelite’s in the desert? Every day God provided food, for that day only. Not for tomorrow or next week but just what they needed for the day at hand. If God provided daily food for all those people, why do we question that He can’t meet the needs of our small family?

We complain just like the Israelite’s did because we don’t get what we want in the way we want it. Whoa,  when I think about how much God did for them and compare my needs to theirs; where do I get the right to complain about anything?

Help doesn’t always come from the direction we are looking. And, unlike the popular saying, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. If we re not happy with our circumstances, we should take steps to improve them but in the meantime, not complain about the situation.

We need to be all in, whatever we are doing. I Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.

God Provides More of Himself

Scriptures tell us over and over that we should make the pursuit of God our main goal in life.  Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Have you ever stopped and thought about exactly what God has given to you? I mean really thought it through or even made a list? It is eye opening. It also shows how much God has and is doing in our lives.

The more I spend studying the Word, the more I want to know about and become closer to God. I believe this is what the focus of our lives should be as we mature as Christians.

God’s Ultimate Provision Was Given at the Cross

Salvation and eternity with God is the greatest gift of all. This provision was given to us at the cross. Until we cross into Glory, the gifts that we are given here on earth are just a taste of what is coming in Heaven.

So while we ask God for so many things to make our life more comfortable here on earth, we need to remember that if we are a child of God’s – we already have the greatest gift of all. For me, this puts my daily complaints in another light.

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

We may struggle while here on earth. We may create a lot of our own troubles. Well, we all create most of our own troubles by our own selfish will. But God is still there, and providing every good thing in our lives. What love comes from our Father in Heaven. He sent Jesus as the ultimate provision for us.

God Provides for Eternity

While we struggle with the day to day, God looks at the forever after. Our heartaches, physical or emotional pain may not be removed in this life. We may not get the healing we have so earnestly prayer for before our body gives out. There will be times that God does not provide or care for us in the way we want in this life. We must however, remain faithful even in these tough times.

The scriptures don’t promise that life will be easy and that we will not suffer but physically and at the hands of others. In fact, it states that we will in fact suffer for the name of Christ as a Christian.

provision

But, if we remain faithful – we will be with God for eternity. We will never suffer or have any pain. One of my favorite songs talks about the fact that there will be no tears in Heaven. No sadness, no death, no pain.

Will we understand it all then? I don’t know. I do know that I want to be with God in Heaven. I would imagine that all those questions I think I want answers to won’t matter a bit when I am with my Heavenly Father.

So while we wait for answers to prayers, we need to keep praising God and doing His will. My grandmother used to say that the reason the things of this earth are so hard to bear are because we get a glimpse of Glory through the Word. That glimpse is so perfect that anything less is not enough.

We are sojourners according to the scriptures. This world is not our home. But we are also a chosen race and a royal priesthood according to 1 Peter 2:9.

When you pray again asking for this or that, stop and remember to thank Him for all the good gifts in your life. When we are truly thankful, it puts the urgent needs into perspective.