One thing that I have noticed, in me and others, is that some distorted views of God can go undetected very easily until certain circumstances reveal them. I would love to say that I have it all sorted, but honestly, in my current circumstances, I believe I am in one of the more revealing seasons! And well, as you can see the title, I’m talking about our views on God’s provision and goodness.
This is something that God is really putting his finger on at the moment and I’ve found myself trying to write this post for a few days, but all that has come out are confused ramblings. It seems it’s interesting to try and write about the present without the ability of hindsight and having learnt the lesson already! But bear with me, because I feel that this is such an important topic – and something that everyone needs to learn if they are to walk in obedience with the Spirit. Believe it or not, God tends to take people to the end of themselves so that there is nothing left but God and total abandonment.
There is so much emphasis on financial security these days. For students with giant debts, the worry of finding a job in the current market starts before you have even put on the gown and mortar board!
But in the Bible we find a different story:
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these..”
But I’ve seen the problem goes deeper than I recognised before.
Ever been in those moments where you are so stressed about finances or a situation that you really need God to break into and you go straight to these kinds of verses and find a little sense of relief? But the only way I can describe the feeling is like you are on the edge of a cliff and verses like this just about keep you from going off the edge. That is until the next situation comes along, or even when you get another realisation of the situation you’re facing and you go back through the process again – but you’re never moving away from the edge!
Surely there should be a solid rock, the steadfast love of God. I hear people speak of God as the firm foundation in times like this, but why have I never really experienced that feeling. Instead I’m hoping and desperately praying that the glass floor beneath me doesn’t break.
There is a common belief that “God will provide my needs”, but seemingly “only provides for my needs”. There is an inherent belief that God promises to “supply every need” but that this only works when you work extremely hard. That is to say you have to find the cheapest means of living and work the hardest, longest hours just to scrimp by. Therefore, when you do come into a time of more abundance, you can thank God for providing just enough and yourself for providing the rest. There’s a difference between being led into this place of hard work and potential financial difficulties, and actually expecting it! We should be wise with money, and God calls us to be hard workers – but that shouldn’t displace trust in God!
I’ve been blessed to be in a family where there hasn’t been any times where we are faced with no food on the table, or absolutely zero money to pay bills. It wasn’t easy at times, especially when my Dad was made redundant, but with hard work to reduce expenditure we got by. But in that place, I became really self-reliant and told myself that when hard times come your way you have to work hard and sacrifice to get by.
But only recently I found myself thinking…. the way I am acting is like my God is stingy. Whilst I have lots of money, such as a bonds account to be able to pay my way through my voluntary impact year, it’s easy to think that God is the God of abundant blessings. But when the hard times hit that gets tested and the truth gets revealed.
So what happens when you find yourself in a place with no money and no way to pay the rent or the bills? Either self-reliance goes out the window and realise that it was all from God in the first place, or you do what I’ve been doing for the most part and, instead of trusting in God, become gripped by fear that really paralyses you.
This isn’t about money… this is about trust in the character of God!
God will not only provide for your needs, but He abundantly blesses because He is good! And we can trust Him to be who He promises to be! When you are totally surrendered and your eyes are fixed on God alone, He will take you to places you never even knew existed!
Malachi 3:10 says:
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
I was reminded this morning about the story of Ruth. Boaz, in this book of the Bible, gives us a glimpse into the character of God, and in chapter 2 Ruth says “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favour”. Ruth was so confident that she “shall” find favour. We should be confident that we will find favour in the God who loves us because He loves us because He loves us. Abundance and blessing is part of His nature – just look outside the window… do we really need all that creation?
Not only do we find favour but He gives abundantly. Ruth was a foreigner, no better than a servant, yet she found abundant goodness in Boaz. She was given permission to reap from his field, to drink the water, given protection and security from men around her, given food and wine until she was satisfied…. and then…. she was told she could not only glean around the edge of the fields, which is the only thing she came to do and was expecting, but she was given permission to glean from the sheaves. The young men were even commanded to pull out some from the bundles for her to glean!
God doesn’t give in half-measures. He gives in fullness. Where there is lack, He wants to show you His goodness and fullness, but also change your heart.
So what’s the solution?
Well all I can tell you is that the Bible holds all the incredible promises of God and description of His mind-blowing character! Read it enough and you will become convinced of who He is and what He can do. That… and as I’ve experienced… get people around you who will regularly point out the goodness of God – and particularly get time with those people who have been out the other end and experienced his abundant blessings, because their stories will really build faith!
I don’t know about you but I’m going to trust (with the Holy Spirit’s help) that God will not only provide for my needs, but that he will bless out of his abundance. I’m not going to strive to reduce every cost until I feel I have minimised everything possible out of a mistrust, but instead I’m going to seek His blessing! I’m going to rest in who He is and wait for Him.
“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”
I choose to believe that God is good!!