God’s Provision Is Eternal

Our water is only a frigid trickle right now and we’re having to wait on a plumber for longer than is comfortable. To give you some idea, we’re bathing with bottled water we sit by the fireplace and a pot we heat up on the stove, and we’re washing dishes and all other things in cold, trickling water. Not ideal but sometimes you just have to laugh at the adventures of life.

The other day, I found my thoughts spinning around the completely irrational fear that I’ll be left alone without water. This fear is unfounded because there are at least 25 people I could call right now who would probably drop everything to bring me water. But that’s not the point. I recalled the couple times in the last few years that I left the house forgetting my water bottle. I remember panicking but not really thinking much more about it because I was reunited with water shortly thereafter. It’s astounding to realize I’ve been without a bottle of water at my side day and night so few times. I wasn’t aware of how much a part of me this had become. My mouth does get unbearably dry due to Sjogren’s and I struggle to swallow food so it makes sense why water is so important to me. I thought this practice was fine for many years until a doctor finally pointed out that, no, this constant need for water is not normal.

The desperation behind needing water and the irrational fear of not having enough recently caused me to start examining my heart. I thought about contentment and Paul’s words, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13). I’ve struggled with contentment and understanding God’s provision. His provision doesn’t mesh in my mind with faith-filled people who starve, dehydrate, or freeze to death. I really wanted to understand so I got out of bed and landed on my knees asking for help.

I didn’t remember until after I’d wrestled with the question again that I already wrote a blog post on this very subject in 2018 entitled, “When God Doesn’t Provide.” Face-palm. It’s amazing how often God uses words from my own fingers to answer my questions. I think I understand better now, as much as we don’t like this, that God doesn’t promise to meet our physical needs here on earth. If He did, Paul wouldn’t have been hungry and Christians wouldn’t die. Instead, He promises to strengthen us when those needs are not met. If we’re open, He will give us enough grace to be content even in our physical lack, knowing there will be an eternity lacking nothing.

Fear signals underlying lies that have set up shop in our hearts so I asked God to show me what my believed lies were and I started listing them. It’s amazing how many lies poured out of me under one ‘simple’ fear of being thirsty. I have believed that contentment can only come when all physical needs are met, that prayers don’t matter because God still lets people die of physical needs, that God isn’t trustworthy, that He won’t give me all that I need in this life, that I’ll be left alone and thirsty with no way to get water, that I will be left alone in any trial, that God isn’t enough to walk me through trials, and that my physical needs are of utmost importance in this life. I was struck by how afraid I am of being left alone when I didn’t even realize that fear was there.

This list of lies being rooted out into the open that night was the most real-time example I’ve experienced of the quote from Susie Larson, “The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truths we need.” Thank God for this trial of water. It’s giving Him the opportunity to reveal a deep-seated lie I’ve been believing: that I have to be afraid to be left alone in my suffering. First of all, that can’t even come true because I’m never left alone. This fear has no foundation because God never leaves me. But it also revealed the lie that God isn’t enough to walk through a trial with me and that I need others to survive. God created us for community, yes, but He also created us to be complete in Him; to be a branch connected to Him. God’s presence and Jesus’ lifeblood flowing through me is more than enough for me to keep walking. My glaring fear of being overcome by thirst revealed a belief in my heart that underlies every fear I have: that I’ll be overcome by the thing I fear and won’t survive. Okay, maybe I won’t survive this life. Of course, we’re not meant to. But I will survive the next. If I’m overcome in this life, Jesus says I can still have peace because He HAS overcome this life (John 16:33). If I’m overcome here, I step right into the heavenly arms of Jesus there, so why fear?

That night I was also led to a greater awareness of the laser focus I’ve had on my physical self. Chronic illness has a tendency to draw attention to the temporary. I realized how much more I need to embrace the importance of my spiritual self and ask God to cause a radical shift in my focus. It’s amazing how much energy I have wasted on the temporary and I’m asking God to give me strength to fix my eyes more on the eternal. This strength, I believe, He has promised to provide.

God may not have provided water or healing for Jason and me immediately, things I really think we need. But what He is providing is an opportunity to understand contentment better, to lean into the difficult questions, to reveal the lies I didn’t even know I believed, lies that are behind some of my most significant doubts. He’s providing an opportunity to rid me of these doubts. Incredible. He cares far more about spiritual provision than physical and, when I really think about it, why wouldn’t He?

When I remembered my previous blog post and read it again, I realized that I’m cycling back through the same issues. I couldn’t decide whether to be disheartened or encouraged that God prepared me for this trial even back then. I think I’ve decided to be encouraged. Yes, I’m still cycling through the same doubts and struggles. BUT, this time I ran straight to God and the Scriptures. I genuinely wanted to understand and asked Him to show me. I want the contentment in hardship that Paul talks about. While last time the wrestling with God’s provision helped me understand His promises better, this time He actually implemented those promises in me by providing the opportunity to rid me of the lies and beliefs that have so long hindered my contentment. What a good, good God. Bringing these lies into the light where I can see them gives me the opportunity to fight them, refuting them with God’s truth. It also gives God the opportunity to pour in His healing where the lies have come out, soothing my fears and helping my lasting fruit grow without being choked by doubt.

Here’s the thing. God hasn’t provided in the way I wanted Him to. But He has provided in a way that is far more important to my eternal self and my current peace. Thanks be to Him.

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Well Done

“You’re there in the morning wrapping grace around what hurts.” I quickly jotted down this line from a Nichole Nordeman song as it struck me while I was listening the other day. I thought it was beautiful and put it with my Bible to ponder the next day. God is so good. I just fall in love with Him over and over. He had me write a note of encouragement to myself and I didn’t even know it. Little did I know I would wake the next morning to find out my friend, Traci, had passed away from complications of Lyme disease. I am stunned and keep stopping to stare at the blank lines on this page, hoping some words come to express what she meant to me.

Believe it or not, Traci and I never actually met in person, though we hoped to one day. She saw Dr. Sunshine just one week before I did and she kept me informed on what was happening with her, giving me the gift of knowing just a little of what to expect. It’s funny to say this about someone you’ve never seen face to face but we became friends. Kindred spirits in some ways. I’m feeling strange about the depth of loss I feel for her, like I don’t have the right to grieve an online friend but she was more than that.

Traci would check on my progress if she hadn’t heard from me in awhile or let me know she came across something that might help me in my journey, though she suffered so herself. She won a five-year membership to Thrive Market and, just because that’s the kind of person she was, she gave it to me. I wonder if she sensed she would be living with Jesus before the end of those five, or even one of those years. Traci was an avid follower of my blog and I always knew to expect a heartfelt comment after she read a post. Publishing this one gives me pause because I won’t be hearing from her.

I can only imagine what she must be seeing and doing right now. I think of her running through fields of wildflowers, experiencing what it’s like to have no pain in a body that doesn’t suffer anymore. Oh, how incredible that must be! I imagine she carried her love of painting with her, painting the sunset from a perspective she could have only dreamed of before. I picture her looking into the tender eyes of Jesus as He said, “Well done.”

As someone who shared my gift of spiritual sensitivity, I know Traci would understand my emotions. We feel all things, and we feel them HARD. My word for the year is “Free” and part of that is reminding myself that I am free to be who and how I am, the way God created me. I didn’t expect it to have to remind me that I’m free to grieve but I guess that’s going to be the first lesson. Traci and I followed writer Sarah Jackson Panther, and shared back and forth how much she inspires us. Sarah created The Hope Shop, handmade jewelry with beautiful meaning and Scriptures for each piece. My husband gave me the necklace called ‘Free’ for Christmas. The last thing Traci said to me was, “I was hoping you’d get one for Christmas!” She celebrated others so well. Now as I wear it, I not only remember that I am free in Christ, but I remember my friend who is now free from her suffering and safe in the arms of Jesus.

God is with her now, wrapping grace around all that has hurt for so long. And He is with her loved ones, wrapping that same grace around us as well. Another line in the song is, “Anywhere You are is sanctuary. Everywhere You are is where I’m free.” May we live in the freedom God gave us through Jesus until one beautiful day we join Traci in the ultimate freedom of heaven. My beautiful friend, you once said to me, “I get excited for you when I see your small wins… or big wins.” Though I mourn for us, I am excited for you. Today I celebrate your big win. I hope you know how much you meant to many. I miss you.

*In memory of Traci Morgan, faithful follower of Beautiful Rubble blog and seeker, spreader, and creator of so much beauty in the rubble of this world.*

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A Power Greater Than Fear

“Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.” – Luke 8:37

This verse makes me sad. The people had just seen or heard about Jesus curing the man possessed by “Legion”, many demons (vs. 30). They saw a man who had been so violent he broke chains finally calm and in his right mind (vs. 29, 35). Instead of rejoicing with this man who had been tortured by demons for a long time and now healed by Jesus, they were afraid. A Power greater than the one who had controlled the man’s life was in their midst and they feared Him. They pushed Him away. I don’t understand. And yet… maybe I do.

I am afraid of many things. The fight or flight mechanism in me seems to be on constant alert. I fear walking that extra block because I might pass out. I fear rejection and disapproval. I fear embarrassment and illness. I fear leaving the house because that makes all of these other fears more likely to come true. I fear that I will never be healed in this life. Isn’t that ironic? The Power that can heal me, a power greater than the strongest of demons, walks with me… and yet, I’m still afraid.

What if the miracle I’ve been hoping for lies in the midst of the things that I fear?

What if I failed to walk that extra block, thereby missing a neighbor who needed a friend? What if I protected myself from needing help and missed the opportunity to receive from someone who really needed to give? What if someone missed hearing a life-giving, freedom-releasing word from the Lord because I was too afraid of rejection and disapproval to say it? What if by fearing and hating illness, I’ve also pushed away the miracles God wants to work in my heart, or other hearts, through it? What if the fear in me is pushing Jesus away just because I don’t understand what He is doing?

Ohhh, my heart. I don’t want to miss Jesus! I don’t want to miss a miracle, big or small. I don’t want to ask Jesus to leave because I’m afraid. No. I want to run and meet with Him in the middle of my fears and let His power work miracles in my life. The people Luke was writing about had just witnessed a miracle but they didn’t understand such healing power, so they feared it. I don’t understand Jesus’ healing power, but I want to embrace it. The people were overcome with fear. I want to be overcome with God’s presence. A power greater than my fear is with me. I don’t want to push it away. Heal me, Lord.

What miracle could you be missing out on because you are afraid?

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