Have you ever been so blown away by God’s provision that you promise to never utter another doubting word of His love? If you haven’t been in that situation before, then you might be putting God in a box. Do you realise that the God we work with is the Creator of the entire universe, all that has been and will be, and holds it all in His hands? If you do, then you are hopefully living a life of radical obedience to His call. Do you know that you can go overseas with a vision to see people’s lives transformed, only to find yourself falling at His feet, again and again, in both desperation and wonder? He constantly surprises me with His ability to show up and provide for my deepest needs. I want to share a couple of stories with you where God has come through for me, for us, in miraculous ways.
We work with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) which is a movement of youth, adults, and faithful elders all over the globe who just want to know God and make Him known to others. Usually, in order to do so, money needs to be spent. Travel costs money, training costs money. Food and housing cost money. Even the honour to be part of working with such a transformational group of people costs money. We don’t get paid to work, but we PAY to work. However, in all truth, when we step out to do something God has placed on our heart, we don’t pay a cent. In fact, HE does. There’s a saying that goes, if it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill. Let me explain.
Many of us are brought up to use our money wisely by using only as much as we have. For example, if we have $10 when we go to the store, we’ll spend $10 or less. Although it’s a good idea to plan like this during daily activities, God desires for us to experience SO much more. If, on a bigger scale, we put Him in a box by believing that what’s in our hands is all we’ve got, then surely we don’t truly believe that He is the Creator of all things and that nothing is impossible for Him. Let’s say you go to the store and buy some groceries adding up to $12.50. You’ve only got $10 cash but you’ve also got your ATM card in your bag and every item in the basket is completely necessary – so what are you going to do? How ridiculous would it be if you had your ATM card and more than enough money in the bank, but you walked home feeling sorry for yourself because you didn’t have the cash to buy all the groceries you needed?
NOTE: God is NOT an ATM. He is our everything – our best friend, our good Father – the list goes on forever. He is NOT a "machine" for us to go to only when we need something. He is relational and wants to do life with us. However, I used this example of an ATM because I want you to see how absurd it truly is when we only see what we’ve got in our hands.
Our best friend is the King of Kings, the God over everything, and the Good Father – don’t you think He has ability to provide for us?
In our first year of marriage, we were living on a very low amount of support. We had also just moved to the other side of the country and had teenage boys living with us that we were to take care of in every way. It took us a long time to raise a steady network of financial supporters, and every month we barely made it through. One day, I was shopping for groceries for our family and walked past the aisle with different spreadings to put on bread. We had moved to a more isolated area and I hadn’t had the comforts of western food for a while. I eyed the Nutella sitting on the shelf with anticipation before I looked at the price. No way – we couldn’t afford that. “Oh but God, I want that so badly,” I prayed in my heart, only to notice the friendly Crunchy Peanut Butter on the next shelf. My mouth starting watering – What was happening to me? I had never liked Peanut Butter before! I was feeling so desperate for western food that I was craving things I’d never really enjoyed before. It took all my strength to keep walking and not buy those delicious spreads. But I didn’t sulk – I knew that He could provide it for me. After all, He had said to leave it to Him.
The next morning, our leader and his family turned up for breakfast (which is the reason I was shopping the day before). What was totally unexpected was that they turned up with many bags. “We figured you’d need some groceries,” they said. As I unpacked the bags in the kitchen, I was so excited to see many things I hadn’t had in a long time – ingredients to make mushroom cream soup, and other western foods I’d been missing for a long time. I laughed and said to God jokingly, “Wow, You only forgot a couple of things”, thinking of the day before. I went to unpack the last bag, and as I opened it I looked inside to see Nutella and Crunchy Peanut Butter peeking up at me. My expression must’ve been surprising, because my leader smiled as he said, “I was wondering what you’d do when you saw them. This morning, as I walked past them in the store, God asked me to get those for you.”
He is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. That morning when our leader came over for breakfast, God didn’t only provide the exact bread spreadings I’d asked Him for on the day before (without telling ANYONE what I’d prayed), but He ALSO gave an abundance of groceries that we just couldn’t afford to buy at that time. In other words, He made a surprise deposit in our bank and even had someone withdraw it for us. It was a baby step I needed my hand held for before I could try taking a step on my own. Next time He would require me to walk to the ATM myself, in faith that He’d deposited, but this time I’d learnt that He was my provider, and that I could trust in Him to provide for even the smaller, detailed things. This was a vital lesson as it stood as a foundation for the risky steps we’d take in the future and the faithful provision that followed.
KEEP POSTED FOR PART TWO OF THIS BLOG, WITH MORE STORIES BUT ON A COMPLETELY NEW LEVEL!