I intended to take the weekend off writing, but stuff happens. I could say that the full moon is affecting my mood but at this point, who really knows? I received a letter from Disability in the mail and as soon as I saw the envelope, my heart caught in my throat and I thought, dare I hope for a miracle? But alas, no miracle occurred… yet. The letter said I have to attend a second hearing, scheduled for Nov. 28. More months of waiting and more humiliation. And my snap thoughts were, of course, why would I ever think this could happen for me? It’s heart-wrenching to be forced to fight for something you seriously don’t even want… but need. WHY ISN’T GOD PROVIDING?!
Questions fired through my mind about God’s provision. People love to spout the sentiment that God provides. But what happens when He doesn’t? I become cynical about the stories of mysterious checks coming in the mail at just the right time because, what happens when they don’t? I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve even been the recipient of such miracles in the past, but apparently it hasn’t been consistent enough for me to trust.
I could say things like, “at least we’re not starving and at least we have a roof over our heads”. But what about the people who DO starve or freeze to death? Where is God then? I could, and have, gone down the blame road. Maybe this is our discipline for going into debt. There are such things as natural consequences. We’ve made our bed and are forced to lie in it. Excuse us for trying to live. Oh hello again, snark. I thought we agreed that you would leave me. Sigh, this may take awhile.
Since no answer to the provision question has ever been good enough for me, I started searching the scriptures. I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re supposed to go BEFORE wandering down the attitude road, but maybe I’ll do that next time. Contrary to my rose-colored memory, God did not always provide for everyone in the Bible, at least not with what I think they needed. Habakkuk is a prime example. As I started reading his book, I felt like he was taking the words right out of my mouth.
“How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” – 1:2
It’s been 2 1/2 years, Lord. One income has never been enough. When will you change that? How much longer will you fail to help us?
“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?…Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.” – 1:4,5
Why do you tolerate such a broken system? People are dying on the wait list. DYING. Do you not care? Will you never fix this?
“O Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O Lord, you have appointed them to execute judgement; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.” – 1:12
Are You not the One who gave the judge his job? Have You only allowed him to punish, not help? I guess we won’t die…but what if we do?
God’s answers to these questions give me hope. I am so grateful that He doesn’t strike Habakkuk down for having questions, even very difficult, accusatory questions.
“Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” – 1:5
Just wait. Watch. Marvel. You can’t even imagine what I am going to do.
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – 2:3
I have appointed a time for you to see what I am doing. I have never lied to you. My provision will come in My time and no matter how long it takes, wait for it. You will be amazed at My work.
“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.” – 2:18
Your perception of provision is not necessarily Mine. You think you need a job or disability or miracle checks in the mail. These are idols. I give you what you need. I AM what you need.
Habakkuk and I get just a little bit calmer after that… sort of.
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known.” – 3:2
God, I am amazed at what You have done for people in the past. Please do the same for us now. Help us to be amazed NOW.
“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.” – 3:16
My heart is pounding and I’m trembling in fear. I waste away waiting for Your answer. But I will still wait for You.
I love that waiting patiently does not necessarily mean waiting without fear or waiting while feeling good. Currently, nothing feels good, and that’s ok. But here is where my admiration of Habakkuk increases tremendously and he makes me want to do my best to pray this every single day until our deliverance comes.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” – 3:17-19
Though it does not look like we have what we need now, and even if someday we have no food or possessions, we will rejoice in the Lord for being our Savior. Perhaps not for saving us in this life, but giving us a next life. And for this life, we rejoice that He is our strength to walk the mountains of struggle.
I think what I have learned is that we are too flippant about the “God provides” statement. While the statement is true, He sometimes does not provide in the way we mean it. We don’t like to believe that God might not provide what we think we need. He may allow people to be homeless and starve to death. How can we reconcile that in our aching hearts? We are not guaranteed prosperity in this life because we live in a world that has fallen, which is not something God ever wanted. But because He is our Savior, He has provided a next life and walks with us…weeps with us… through this life.
Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:32-34
Through all of the struggles life throws at us, we don’t have to be afraid because God has given us a future to walk out of the struggles. We don’t have to worry about this life because everything we have here will wear out and be exhausted. The worn-out exhaustion sounds so familiar, and yet I continue to cling to these exhausted resources. And I am so angry when they don’t hold up. My heart needs to be far less focused on this life and more on the next. My God will never wear out or get exhausted and, as Habakkuk says, this never-exhausted God IS my strength. He helps me keep going. He enables me to climb up what appears to be an insurmountable mountain of circumstances. And this makes me rejoice in God, my Savior. I will TRY to rejoice. I long for the day when my first reaction is gratitude instead of anger and hurt. I ask that He give me strength to get there.
Right after I got the letter in the mail, Jason could see that I was in a bad mood so he offered to walk June with me. As we walked around the corner, I was ahead of him when bent down to pick something up in the mulch. I still don’t know how he managed to spot the penny in the mulch or even how and why it would be there, but he said it was shining at him in the sun. And the more I think about this, the more beautiful it becomes. God’s provision may seem to be drowning in my pile of circumstances, but it always shines. Just like God told Habakkuk, I should watch and be amazed because His ways will be greater than I can imagine. Jason had his eyes open when I didn’t and I missed it. If I keep my eyes focused on the pile of problems, I will never see the shine of God’s treasure. The darkness of my mind will cloud His grace. Rejoicing in God, my Strength, I can keep my eyes peeled for the shine. He has made my heart to belong to Him and I want to be thankful. God, please enable me!
Song I’m feeling: Even If, by MercyMe
“I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.”