"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

God's Timing

I don’t know why God continues to amaze me. You’d think by now I’d have grown accustomed to His astounding ways… and timing.

I’ve mentioned my Bible study before. Yesterday, I was privileged to package a Leader’s Kit and send it to a customer. Before I tucked the Member Book into the box, I couldn’t help but flip through the pages. My eyes landed on a particular story.

Before I reprint what I read on those pages, I wanted to remind you of an earlier post sharing my anxiety about my financial situation. Some things are slow to change.

Here’s a story I wrote in the first week of homework of my Bible study called Enough is Enough.

God doesn’t always make His provision obvious. I grew up in a church that recited a certain Old Testament Scripture every Sunday morning to remind the congregation of the Source of our gifts. After the ushers had received the offering, they would bring the offering plates forward and place them on the altar. The minister would open his arms in a sweeping gesture across the modest piles of checks, bills and change, and say, “All things come of thee, O Lord.” To which the congregants responded, “And of thine own have we given thee.”[1]
Sometimes God does make His provision obvious. When the Lord first called me into this ministry of speaking and writing, I spent several years in the wilderness, trusting God for my daily bread. I resigned my job to pursue God’s call, and shortly thereafter my husband’s business fell on extremely hard times. My husband, Steve, and I trimmed our budget as far back as it could go. But it wasn’t enough. Steve and I agreed as responsible stewards we would have to sell our house.
The day before our mortgage payment was due, and with no money in the bank to pay it, I fasted and prayed. I reminded God of His promises to me. I reminded Him I had obediently followed Him out of my comfort zone by resigning a job I loved. I reminded Him that moving into our house in the country was His idea in the first place. And I cried my heart out.
Early the next morning I climbed out of bed, threw on my robe and curled up on a corner of my couch. Weak from an empty stomach and a lack of sleep, I quietly let go of my home. I said, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”[2] 
Then I made one final plea, “Dear God, if You want us to keep this house, provide a way today before I call the real estate agent.”
For some silly reason, I padded across the kitchen floor to my study and booted up my computer. Steve and I had filed our income taxes electronically just a few days earlier. But that didn’t cross my mind as I logged on to my bank account to check my balance and decide what bills I could afford to pay. Like a beggar at a soup kitchen surprised by a six-course meal, I stared in awe at God’s provision. Minutes earlier the federal government had deposited our tax refund into our account, providing just enough money for our mortgage and every other current bill.
I woke my husband with the news, “We don’t have to call the real estate agent today!” That joyous phrase was repeated month after month, year after year as God provided our daily bread. To this day when God miraculously provides, I can’t help but whisper, “We don’t have to call the real estate agent today.”

By the time I read the last sentence tears had already gathered in their usual spot. I had uttered those very words that morning! “We don’t have to call the real estate agent today.”

Thank you, Jehovah Jireh, for reminding me of your provision.

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"

"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.

"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. Genesis 22:6-8 NIV

Shortly after that Abraham faced his greatest faith test ever. And because he believed in God's provision, here’s what happened…

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:13-14 NIV

[1] 1 Chronicles 29:14 KJV
[2] Job 1:21NIV

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