© Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime.com
Years ago, my friend and co-worker Victoria received a jewelry box as a birthday gift from her husband. She came to work and shared her disappointment. She had asked for a nice piece of jewelry. Something significant. Something specific.
Instead, her husband chose this empty vessel to give to her. Not what she wanted. Not what she had requested. But I saw something else. Unable to contain my excitement and with words tumbling out of mouth, I told Victoria, "This is like God! The way that He provides!" In giving Victoria the jewelry box, her husband was responding to her request in a bigger way than she had anticipated. Rather than giving her one piece of jewelry, his provision of a container was a promise of greater things. Many pieces of jewelry (versus the one) to fill up the box. Reminds me of God's provision of the ram... Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV)
Provision means (from Latin providēre) literally to see ahead, the fact or state of being prepared beforehand, to prepare in advance, to supply or make available something needed or wanted. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) God doesn't always respond to our requests with exactly what we wanted. The answers to prayer may not come quickly or in the way we had hoped. We may not even realize it at the time - our frail human eyes can only see so far. In our season of unemployment, how often we've implored the Lord for a job! Many times I've stumbled along this dimly lit path. Wrestling with anxiety. Yet, He has constantly met our needs, giving us peace in the midst of uncertainty and joy despite our circumstances. I can testify of God's goodness and faithfulness throughout this challenging time! Like Victoria, we asked for just a piece...God expanded our vision. He's laid out for us a bigger plan than anything we could have imagined. Experiences cannot define God's character; the Bible reveals Who He is, His great love for us, and the manner in which He provides. God is faithful to His Word, He can't help it! He doesn't change! This is one of my all-time favorite verses: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (NIV)