How a blanket reminded me that God’s way is always better

We’re getting ready for a new resident at Safe Haven Farm. I haven’t really said too much about it because I wasn’t sure how everything was going to work out, but because of some visa issues, my best friend who has been living in England for 2.5 years is coming back to Kansas. And we’re super excited that she’s going to be moving in here at the farm! But I can’t give her back her old room from the six months she lived here during her last furlough. That room has since been converted into an office and shipping area for my crazy book business, so the only room I’ve got for her is–get ready for it–my old closet.

Now, truth be told, the closets here at the farm are pretty massive. I’ve had a guest room in one for the last few months, and it works just fine. So she’ll have plenty of room. My only concern is the fact that the second floor of the farm still has no heat or air conditioning, and the winter months are coming. It gets freakin’ cold up here. I acclimate really fast, and I’m super hot blooded, so it doesn’t bother me. But I wanted to make sure that my friend wouldn’t freeze to death.

My plan was to buy a little infrared heater and an electric blanket for her room, but there was just a tiny little problem. I don’t have a steady paycheck anymore, and I don’t just have $50 laying around that I can invest in heaters or electric blankets. And, good grief, electric blankets are pricey!

But God’s been teaching me a lot about trusting him over the past 10 months or so. In the past, I would have just rushed out and purchased what I needed, but this time, I wanted to leave it up to Him. So that’s what I did.

Shortly thereafter, I found a cute little electric heater on sale for $10 at Wal-Mart, and it’s perfect. And yesterday as I was cleaning out another closet that my friend can use for storage and clothing, you’ll never guess what I found. That’s right–a practically new twin-size electric blanket. We didn’t even know we had it. It’s just been sitting in a pile of plastic bags in this old closet upstairs for who knows how long.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a miracle of provision to anyone else, and that’s fine. But it’s exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. And I walked around all day long yesterday just grinning ear to ear because God took care of a need, and I didn’t have to do anything about it. And that, Christians, is exactly how we’re supposed to live.

The second floor guest bedroom (aka my old closet) at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

The second floor guest bedroom (aka my old closet) at 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.

Over and over and over again, the Bible tells us that God will provide for us. Over and over and over again, I experience His blessings on a daily basis, but there’s something in my brain that keeps me from grasping that He isn’t going to stop providing for me. There’s this idea in my head that tells me one day He won’t come through, one day He’ll realize that I’m not worth His time.

I’ve given God every reason to give up on me. He knows my heart. He knows how screwed up I get sometimes. He knows that I struggle to trust Him. And if He hasn’t given up on me yet, He isn’t going to.

But I think we look at God’s provision with a skewed perspective. It’s not wrong to ask God for what we need. It’s not even wrong to ask God for what we want. But where is your heart when you ask Him for something? If you ask God for something and He doesn’t deliver, do you get upset? Do you take it out on Him? Do you walk away from Him because you think He’s a liar or a trickster?

If that’s your response when God doesn’t give you your way, your heart isn’t in the right place about what you’re asking for.

God has promised to provide everything we need, and He always keeps His promises. I needed a heater and an electric blanket, and I decided to sit back and let Him provide them instead of rushing out ahead of Him to get them myself. And He came through. And if He can come through so perfectly on something like this, He’ll absolutely come through on the bigger things. I just have to have the same faith and patience about the big issues in life as I do about the small issues.

What are you asking God for today? Or have you asked Him for something and then turned away from Him because He didn’t give you what you wanted? Don’t walk away because you didn’t get your way. His way is always better.

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The danger in failing to prepare for success

Put yourself in this situation: You’re doing your best to follow God, but you just don’t have the finances or the time to be able to do what He’s asking. So you take a chance. You do it anyway, and you ask God for help.

Then, out of the blue, when you’re least expecting it, God shows up and helps you. Maybe it’s through a friend. Maybe it’s through an organization. However it happens, you get the help you need exactly when you need it.

It’s great right? Right. But what do you do next?

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this, but I convince myself that God isn’t actually going to help me. Sure, He’ll help me in small ways that I’ll be able to understand later down the road, but I don’t want to get my hopes up so high that I’ll be disappointed. So what happens when God shows up in my life in a big way?

Yeah, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.

So many times, I think we prepare ourselves for failure, but we never take the time to prepare ourselves for success. In the same way, I think we prepare ourselves for God to not show up. So when He does, we stumble and struggle and trip all over ourselves.

1254934_54597353Today’s verses are 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

God has promised to provide for us. Period. He never leaves us. He never abandons us. That’s His promise. Now, that doesn’t mean His children won’t have to face the consequences of their choices. And it doesn’t mean that you’ll always get your way. But it does mean that no matter what happens in your life, God can turn it into something beautiful. And He will. If you let Him.

I am a proponent of independence. I like being independent. I like being self-reliant. Having to depend on someone else makes me nervous. So I’m all for forging your own path. I hate asking for help or support. I hate admitting weakness. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s a big problem you run into when you live life convinced that God won’t show up to help. When God does show up, you ignore Him.

When God prompts someone to do something for you, you write it off as them being generous. When you narrowly miss getting into a horrible car wreck, you chalk it up to the luck of the draw. When all the pieces of your life and your career fall into place just right so you can advance, you just think it’s because you were prepared.

When God shows up in your life, don’t just brush Him off. Don’t just assume it’s fate or luck or that you’ve just been a good enough person to deserve it. Nobody’s that good.

It’s difficult to hope sometimes because God doesn’t always do what we expect Him to do. We expect that He’ll solve problem A with solution B, but instead He solves problem X with solution Y, and problem A hangs around for a little while longer. And it’s only years later that you realize problem A wasn’t really a problem at all–it was just the way you were looking at it.

See that’s how God works normally in my life. He helps me when I need Him, but He keeps me uncomfortable because that’s the only way I grow. And He’s got big plans for me, so I’ve got a lot of growing left to do.

The point is learning how to focus on what God is doing instead of focusing on what we want Him to do. And that’s hard. But the more we keep staring at what we want, the more blind we’ll become to what He’s actually doing around us. And soon the day will come when we won’t be able to see His work at all.

So when God shows up in your life–in a big way or a little way–stop and thank Him. Recognize that it is HIs doing, and ask Him for wisdom to know what you’re supposed to do next.

If you fail to prepare for success, you’ll crash and burn. You won’t know what to do with all the good stuff that’s happening, and eventually you’ll start to see the good stuff as bad stuff. Following God is similar. The more you expect Him not to show up, the less you’ll be able to see Him when He actually does.