This week’s feature “retro” post is one I really needed to read today. (Technically it’s 3 posts if you go back and read parts 1 and 2.) Enjoy.
Where God Guides, He Provides
This is the last in a 3-part series:
To sum up from parts one and two, sometimes where God guides, He provides immediately with financial resources. Sometimes He doesn’t. But the bottom line is that where He guides He does provide. I hit both sides of that concept in those posts, so now here a few “other ways” that God provides…
Sometimes God Provides :
- An Idea. In Nehemiah 7:5 , God gives Nehemiah an idea to deal with an issue on the way to fulfilling the vision. I think of Mark Batterson and his prayer for two million dollars to pay for the construction of their coffee shop, Ebenezers. Instead of giving him the money, Mark says that God gave him a “two million dollar” idea, instead. If you were waiting for cash, but God gave you an idea, would you take it? [Update: The original idea didn’t ultimately work out for Mark, but other ideas did, and the process was important. The principle remains the same. ]
- People. The apostle Paul was blessed by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus who made up for the help the Corinthians couldn’t send. [1 Corinthians 16:17-18] Paul also sent Tychicus to the Ephesians. We could go on and on here. Maybe it’s people with money. Or maybe it’s people who have a better idea. Or maybe it’s people who know many people who can help make what God is guiding into a reality.
- Stuff. Sometimes God just provides food for your stomach, a donkey for the road, or a room in the town. Instead of cash to pay for stuff, He just provides the stuff. For us it was free storage space at the Rec Center that was provided rather than money for a trailer…A much better deal. We’ve also received things like computers and nursery supplies rather than the money to purchase these things.
- A Training Ground. The Disciples couldn’t cast out a certain demon, even though they were generally doing what Jesus had instructed them to do. [Mark 9:14-29]– The provision was an experience that helped them understand that “this kind can only be cast out by fasting and prayer.” Their inability to accomplish the task provided the training ground for dealing with the situation in the future. They needed additional information that was deeply ingrained in them by the experience itself.
- A Lesson to Learn. Consequences of bad choices do not necessarily disqualify the mission or the “Guiding.” Jonah made mistakes and suffered for them, but the mission remained. He had to learn to go the right way. Moses, after throwing and smashing the tablets that had the 10 commandments inscribed on them by God, then had to go back up the mountain and chisel a new set the hard way.
- Strength and resourcefulness. Philippians 4:12-14 – Surely no one would doubt that God was guiding Paul even when the money ran out. God provided extra strength and an amazing ability for Paul to do the best he could with what he had.
- Wisdom. Ecclesiastes 10:10 – Sometimes God provides the “smarts” for making something work without having to buy a new ax to make it happen. “Sharper” is often better than “newer.”
- A call to persistent prayer. Sometimes God simply calls us to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking. He intentionally withholds the provision for a time and provides a burden that will not go away until He satisfies it. [Luke 11:5-12] God knows what we need before we ask and He wants us to trust in Him more than His provision.
- An Invitation to Know Him More Deeply. [2 Thessalonians 3:1-5] He is our goal, more than any task He guides us to perform and more than the things that He gives us to accomplish it. Whenever and wherever God guides, He always provides an opportunity to know Him in a closer and stronger way. The lesser, more “tangible” provision always follows. [Matthew 6:33]