God is the Great Provider. The greatest example of His provision is of course when He sacrificed His son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins which spared us from eternal damnation and enabled us to renew our eternal relationship with Him.
On a day-to-day basis God also promised to provide for the material and spiritual needs of those who trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation (Phil 4:10-20). The thing that bothers us is that we live in a culture which believes we are entitled to have all of our wants met, as well as our needs. Today, many people cannot tell the difference between needing a warm home and a luxery four-bedroom, four-bathroom house, or the difference between food for sustenance and a four-course meal three times a day, or the difference between transportation to work and the latest model of their favorite car on loan.
As a culture we have lost sight of reality, and we have become greedy, selfish brats who feel we need the latest whats-it to be comfortable. Now, I have no problem with money or things it can buy! I enjoy shopping just as much as the next person. Yet, Christians who tell us they will remain unaffected by the coming depression because “God will provide” are going to come crashing to their knees when the seemingly sudden lack of work or food prices slap them in the face. God provides, but He doesn’t promise comfort.
While punishing the Israelites for their sinfulness, God allowed them to feel hunger and then provided them with strange food to eat. He let them wander in the desert for fourty years, but He kept their clothes from wearing out all that time. They had to walk, day in and day out, but God kept their feet from swelling on their long journey. Does that sound like provision we ask of God today? Or are we expecting Him to save us from the journey through the desert altogether? Does God owe us that? I should say not!
In Pilippians 4:10-20, Paul shares how God allowed him to experience both need and abundance, hunger and fullness, but in all God provided for him and Paul learned contentment.
God has not promised that you will be spared job loss. He has not promised to keep your house from the bank. He has not even promised that you will be able to afford a car, new clothes, or a good school for your kids.
Yet God provides, and often in unexpected, amazing ways. The Bible teaches us that Christians are never in the grip of blind fortune, chance, fate, or luck. Everything that happens is divinely planned and is an opportunity to trust God, rejoice in His providence, and recognize that it is all for God’s glory and our spiritual and eternal good.
Reading a library book about St. Patrick with Buddy recently, I saw yet another example of God’s providence. After God helped Patrick escape from slavery, Patrick and the people he was with became hungry. They complained to Patrick saying, “if your God is so good, why don’t you pray to Him for food?” So he did, and what happened next? Did they stumble across a tavern or home with people ready to cook them a hot full course dinner? No. God sent a herd of pigs across their path, and that night they feasted on pigs roasted over the fire. Their bellies were full and their strength returned.
Some people after reading this may think we’re not hoping or trusting enough, or we’re just pessimistic. To the contrary, we have great hope and peace, but we’re also realistic. Instead of whining to God that Papa can’t find a job, we are praising Him for all the wonderful little miracles we see Him working in our lives on a regular basis. Here are a few examples:
- God has been timing everyday events in our lives so that everything fits perfectly together. Last year we were unable to resell the well-maintained truck we bought for an extremely good deal and then family members we had borrowed money from to buy the truck forgave our debt. Now we have a good truck, for free, to pull our camper.
- Another blessing in timing. We have been looking at campers since last fall and “just happened” to find one that would fit our needs that was also within our budget. Just after our tax return came, the snow in our driveway melted enough that we could park the camper where we needed to. The following day ice fell off our roof, blocking the camper in. If the ice had fallen just a day before, it would have prevented us from bring the camper home.
- Our chickens were pooping on the neighbor’s yard so were giving eggs to them to thank them for their patience. A friendship grew, and the neighbor generously offered to give us his truck cap this July because he wouldn’t be needing it anymore. Its design would fit our truck perfectly, but we didn’t expect to get it because we’ll be moving in May. His truck broke down last month and we got it early as a result.
- We haven’t had to use our food storage.
- At this point all our bills are paid.
- I have more clients and I’m teaching more classes than usual.
- Some of our appliances have been breaking down the past month or two (coffee maker, toaster oven, etc.) If it had happened earlier we would have had to spend money to replace them, so the timing is again, a blessing!
- Papa’s ex-boss and his wife stopped in recently. He said he wished he could give Papa his job back, but wanted to help how he could, so they gave us a gas card that will last a while.
- We’ve been wanting to purchase sleeping bags for each member of our family. Papa has been shopping around for good prices and found a clearance at Cabella’s. His dad works close to the nearest outlet and stopped in to pick up five of them for us. He went with a coworker who just happened to notice as they were leaving with the sleeping bags that there was a sticker on one of them which had an even deeper discount. They took the sleeping bags back in and we received a refund for the difference on all of them!
Isn’t God so good?! He provides for our needs just as He promised, and even some of our want, and we are very thankful for all He has done for us, despite the fact He owes us nothing and we could never repay Him. It just goes to show how merciful, gracious, and how great a provider He is.
Tell us! How has God been providing for your family in these troubled times?