Chicken yakisoba I made one day just because I could, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

God will provide

What do you need? I’m not talking about what you want, because what we want and we need are rarely the same. But what do you need? Do you need a job? Do you need a car? Do you need food to eat? Do you need clothing to wear? I’m going to make the assumption that you are reading this blog post on your computer or your tablet or your phone, which probably means you have your immediate physical needs met at the moment. That is an assumption, and I never know where these crazy posts end up, so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

All of us have needs. Our needs vary greatly from person to person, and our needs today may be completely different than our needs tomorrow. So when you need something, who do you ask? When I was younger, I would ask my parents. If I needed something, I knew they were there to provide for me. But I’m not that young anymore, and while I still sometimes turn to my parents for help, most of the things I need are things that they really can’t give me. Most of the things I need are things they shouldn’t give me if I want to call myself an adult.

So who do you ask? Friends? Family? The government?

Chicken yakisoba I made one day just because I could, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Chicken yakisoba I made one day just because I could, Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Philippians 4:19.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

This is one of the closing verses of the Book of Philippians, where Paul is saying his farewells to the people of the Church. This verse comes off a previous paragraph (Philippians 4:14-18) that thanks the Church of Philippi for their support and their gifts that helped sustain him when he was on one of his missionary journeys. He identifies the Church of Philippi as “the only ones who gave me financial help.” He also says no other church did this, at least at that time.

And at the end of this paragraph where he is thanking the Church of Philippi for providing for him, he writes down this verse that says God will provide. God will provide? Sounds to me like the Church of Philippi provided. Is Paul being facetious? Is he being sarcastic about this? How can he go from saying “thank you for all the money you sent me” to “God will take care of you too” in one breath?

I really believe that you have to understand how God works for this to make sense. This is what I’ve learned through many years of following Christ: Whether through miraculous circumstances or the generosity of fellow believers, God will always provide for your needs.

If you’re a Christ follower, you’ve experienced this. You’ve been sitting in church and listening and all of a sudden you feel an undeniable urge to give money. Or you’re walking down the street and you feel this sudden pull to give somebody some money or help somebody out. Do you really think that’s you? I mean, maybe you’re a good enough person to just randomly walk around giving people money and helping people out, and if you are, good for you. I’m not that good. But God is. And God lives in me. And He tells me sometimes that I need to help somebody or I need to give somebody some money.

When that happens, I hesitate sometimes because honestly I live paycheck to paycheck. You would think a single person living in a paid-for house and a paid-off car with a full-time career would be fine, but it’s the little everyday expenses that kill you. But every time God has told me to help someone else financially, those times when it was a financial burden for me, He has always provided for me. He’s always made up the difference, and usually He provides more than I need.

Sometimes those needs are met through circumstances and situations that nobody has control over. In those instances, I can only thank God. But other times, people provide for me–like my parents or like my friends or like strangers on the street, and in those instances, I can thank them but I also need to thank God because He moved them to do it.

Philippians is one of those books that I never get tired of reading. It’s all about how to be happy. It’s about how to be content and joyful in living and following Christ. And a big part of that is trusting that God will provide for you, no matter what you need.

And God does. Maybe he’ll use a miracle, maybe he’ll use your next door neighbor (and maybe that is a miracle), but He will provide. He might even use you to provide for someone else, but you can trust that if He asks you to do something, He will provide for the hole it leaves.

That’s who He is. He is our God who provides what He requires. We just have to trust that He will.

We Americans don’t think about it because we don’t usually sacrifice anything; we’re not used to it. But standing up what Paul was doing back then could have been a death sentence. In all honesty, in parts of our world today it still is, just not in the U.S. Not yet.

Advertisements
Otter at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Answers

God isn’t required to answer our prayers. You realize that, right? He’s God, and He can do whatever He wants with what is His. That’s what being Sovereign means. And since everything belongs to Him, He can do anything He wants. He can squash us, or He can save us. He can listen to us, or He can ignore us. It’s up to Him.

If it were me, I’d write us all off. Our entire species. Our entire world. We’re just broken, idolatrous people who have every reason to know the truth but still deny it because we want to live the way that “makes us happy” in spite of what it will do to us. But God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t write us off, and He never gives up on us. And that shocks me.

He says He answers prayer. He does. It’s all over the Bible. But when He actually does — and does in a big way — I never know what to say.

Otter at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Otter at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 3:4.

I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.

This is just one of many many examples in Scripture where God demonstrates that He hears us and that He listens and that He acts on what we request. Which is nuts. For God to act because we ask Him to? Seriously?

Granted, there are many times when what we ask for isn’t truly in our best interests. It’s those requests that He doesn’t answer. Unfortunately, it’s those requests that we set our hearts on so intently that when He doesn’t answer (the way we want) we give up on Him.

But there is a right time and a wrong time for every event in our lives. If we rush ahead of God and try to make our request happen on our own, it might be the wrong time for it to happen. And what’s even scarier, God may let it. He may not stop the wheels you put in motion. And it’s not that you’ll be on your own facing the consequences, but it will be a lot more of a struggle to make it through than it would have been if you let God work for you.

When God’s time is right, when your request mirrors His heart, He will answer. So don’t let it shock you. Because He really does answer. He really does listen. I’ve posted many times before about how we need to expect God’s answers to our prayers, but maybe I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. Because He answered about five really huge requests just in the last week … so huge that it left me speechless.

Not in surprise that He can do it. He’s God. He can do anything. But in shock that He really does listen and that He really will answer specifically in the way you ask.

So if you need something from God today, ask Him for it. Because He answers. The only reason He wouldn’t answer is if your request is self-serving or if the time just isn’t right yet. So if your motivation is sound, just keep asking, and He’ll answer when the time is right. Because He’s God and He knows what’s good for us and He answers prayer.