Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? — Matthew 6:26
I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. — Ezekiel 34:29
It’s a terrifying thing not to know whether you’ll get another paycheck. I’ve experienced this only twice in my adult life, thank heavens. Twice is more than enough.
The first time? When I suddenly found myself a young single mom of a one-and-a-half-year-old boy. Six days before Christmas, I moved from stay-at-home mom to single mom, with a car payment and a house payment due in less than two weeks. Where exactly would I get the money to pay those bills, not to mention for food, utilities, and everything else? Merry Christmas to us.
By February, I’d found a full-time job, secured child care, and begun the never-ending cycle of trying to stay on top of never-ending expenses. Cell phone? Cable television? New shoes or clothes? Not a chance. Splurges I couldn’t afford. Even trips to the grocery store turned into a maze of tough decisions. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat were often crossed off the list, replaced by less expensive options like beans, pasta, and applesauce.
For two years, I worked long, hard hours and scrimped. Every month I wondered whether I’d make it, causing a chronic state of anxiety. If the unexpected happened, I had few if any resources to tap.
Somehow, we made it. To tell you the truth, I never quite figured out how the numbers added up. I knew my income as well as the nonnegotiable expenses. Each month the latter proved far more than the former. And yet somehow we always had enough. My son never went without clothes, food, and a place to call home. My used Toyota Camry held up without needing any significant repairs. Even more astounding, I came out of those lean years with zero debt, aside from my mortgage and car payment, and my bank account boasted a small savings.
I’d love to tell you this miracle was a result of my mad budgeting skills. But I know better.
The second season of financial unpredictability came several years into my second marriage. After nearly twenty years in the same career, my hardworking husband left his job to reach for a long-held dream: to start his own business.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled or supportive. He had more than enough talent and know-how to make it work, not to mention the passion to fuel his dream. Still, we both knew the risk. We were about to walk away from a regular paycheck and dive into an unpredictable endeavor. What if we couldn’t make it work? What if we couldn’t round up enough business to keep our family going? What if our best efforts weren’t enough?
It’s now been thirteen years since my husband started his business.
It has surpassed our wildest dreams of success. Yes, we walked through some lean years and more than a moment or two of uncertainty. Once again, there were months when the numbers just didn’t add up. We could pat ourselves on the back and assume our survival had something to do with our amazing entrepreneurial skills.
But we both know better.
In my first season of financial insecurity, the cause of the crisis sat outside myself. It wasn’t something I chose. The second season was a choice. In both cases, however, I ended up with what I needed, when I needed it. No more. No less.
I learned something during those two seasons of financial famine.
It’s both simple and solid: God can be trusted to provide.
He can be trusted to see our needs and do something about them. What concerns us concerns Him, and He will provide what we need in ways we often don’t expect.
This comes in handy when my need for provision extends beyond the financial. When my needs include peace, forgiving love, patience with my family, and wisdom for a complicated relationship.
And yet, to my great relief, God reaches deep to meet those needs as well, providing the wisdom or will or truth to soothe my anxiety. Just as He delivered daily manna to a group of wandering Israelites, God promises to dish up what we need. Rarely enough for tomorrow, but always enough for today.
No, the numbers don’t add up.
But it’s never been about the math. It’s always been about the Provider.
Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Be patient and trust that the treasure you are looking for is hidden in the ground on which you stand.
—Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
Who Am I?
Out of all Creation — the fish, plants, trees, frogs, insects, elephants, and sparrows — only humans struggle with a chronic and debilitating case of anxiety. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation, the culmination of His creative efforts. And yet we, alone, struggle to trust His provision. We could learn a thing or two from the creatures of the land and sea and sky. What do you need most right now? Financial provision? Comfort? Renewed relationships? Consider how the creatures of the earth trust their Creator’s provision. Ask God to reassure you of His care and build up your trust. He knows your needs even before you do.
Excerpted with permission from I Am by Michele Cushatt, copyright Michele Cushatt.
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God can be trusted to provide. This Christmas, if you’re going through a time of financial insecurity, pinching pennies, and worrying about how you’ll make ends meet, God can be trusted to see our needs and do something about them. He’s got your back. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about our Great Provider! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full