Having a change in our financial situation can really bring us face to face with how we view our wealth and our ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Many people have had to deal with this reality in those seasons when their economics change and they find their financial resources either greatly restricted or maybe even greatly enhanced. For those who experience a growth in their resources they quickly can find themselves able to acquire things that they otherwise would have never considered. For those who have had their finances reduced they can find that what they once did without further thought, they now are unable to do at all. And for those whose income totally disappears they are not only faced with setting aside optional things, but even considering how to meet that which is most necessary. This is the general condition of man apart from God.
But it is also the common condition of those who know God and seek to follow Him. The reality is that we all experience trials. We all have expenses, and what makes up this list of expenses can sometimes be quite staggering. In our household we have been in a prolonged season of considering all of these things. Yet in this we have continually seen God sustain us, and even bless us in some incredible ways and through a variety of means. While my preference would have been all along that I was the one bringing home the funds to meet the needs, God has shown me repeatedly that He is sovereign over both the source of our provision and its extent. Yesterday we were all blessed when Robin was taken on a clothes shopping trip. She had been taking in her clothes in order to adjust to her loss of weight, and some dear friends got together and had a representative of theirs take her shopping. This is not one of those things that we counted as a need, but it is definitely one in which God moved the hearts of others to provide for her as a blessing of love. There are many other stories that could be told where God has shown His great love for us. He has been so good to us and has taken care of us during our time of waiting on Him for a next place of ministry. And to Him and all of those He has used we are so incredibly thankful.
He reminds us regularly that life truly is more than food and clothing. It is a relationship with Him in which He embraces us, knowing everything about us, and even showing us over and over again His abundant love through the trials He strengthens us to endure. As I write these thoughts there are so many passages which I have treasured that are so real and touchable.
But what Jesus had to say next in His Sermon on the Mount sums it all up. This is particularly true for me with the reality of our week and the timing of my reading these verses.
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” (Matthew 6:26–31, NASB95)
Sure, I will likely continue to struggle with the questions Jesus raised. “‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” Even in considering these verses today there have been darts of question that have been tossed in. But in the struggling and the darts of spiritual warfare I also am reminded of His loving faithfulness. All I have to do is look around and see His goodness. Our God is alive and He is powerful to do what He said He would do, and one of those things that He said He would do is tend to the needs of His saints in His incredible ways, by His means, and according to His perfect timetable. This remains true up and through that day when we leave these bodies and find ourselves perfectly clothed in righteousness in the presence of our Lord. I love the picture of His saints returning with Jesus at the end of the tribulation. “And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” (Revelation 19:14, NASB95)
Scripture tells us in Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4–7, NASB95)
It is truly an amazing thing to look back on trials after they pass and see what great things God did. I also baffle myself sometimes when I remember the struggles of trust that I had in the process. Jesus said, “You of little faith!” And for me I can definitely see those moments, but I also can rejoice in the truth that God is faithful even when my faith is weak. It is in times like this that I am reminded of how much He really does for those who are His. In that I truly can rejoice and grow in not worrying.