All These Things Will Be Provided
My resting heart rate is back up near 80 bpm. I haven’t had quality sleep in over a month. I wonder why I’m feeling exhausted and near the end of what I can handle, until I start looking back over my Fitbit stats to see when it all started falling apart: December 22nd, 2018, or the first day of the longest partial government shutdown in the history of the United States of America.
I know people and you know people or have heard stories of those feeling the immediate pains of the shutdown. Their faces and bodies are worn from the stress they have been carrying over the past month. They are single-income families with four children; they had saved up some, but not enough to hold out until the paychecks came back. They are two-income families, and one works in the government but wasn’t getting paid and the other felt the pressure as the only provider. They are two-income families who work in the government, but neither were getting paid; they have a family to provide for, but without money coming in, how do they stay on their feet? Whether they are families or a single person only providing for themselves, everyone was feeling this burden in some way.
For the rest of us, we feel the true burden of our brothers and sisters. We anxiously countdown the days between today and when this will turn around and our friends and family will stop having to stress about providing for themselves and their household. We grow weary and begin questioning everything we’ve held to be stable and true and faithful.
Your Father Knows Your Needs
It is in darkness that our weaknesses and vulnerabilities come to the light and expose us for who we really are. How we respond can help us understand what we believe and if what we believe doesn’t line up with what we think we believe. We find out sometimes that we’re more like the rich man in Mark 10:17-22. He has gathered tremendous wealth in this life, and he’s followed the commandments, and when he asks Jesus what else he has to do, Jesus tells him he has to give it all up. He has to find his treasure in heaven, not here on earth “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus is not saying that God doesn’t see us when we struggle to put food on the table. Jesus is not saying that God is absent in our struggle. In fact, “Your heavenly Father knows you need them” (Matthew 6:32, emphasis mine).
What Jesus is saying is, “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25). That may sound like an empty platitude to you right now, but “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matthew 6:32).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (Matthew 6:33-34).
All these things will be provided for you. “All these things” means all and everything -- food, clothes, your home, bills coming due. “Will be provided”-- Matthew 6:32 says God knows that you need them, and he will provide them for you. This is given that you seek his kingdom first. Before you seek for a job, seek the kingdom, seek his righteousness. And all these things will be provided for you.
So, if you seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, don’t you worry ‘bout a thing. Don’t worry if you’re going to be able to feed your family or supply them with the things they need. “Don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:34). All you have to do is keep showing up and seeking God. He is present with you in this moment.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
God Speaks in Promises
I’m reading a Bible study and in this session I read, the writer says this, and I think it’s crucial to remember when the lies of self-reliance creep up.
“God only speaks in promises. This is huge. This is the single truth I clung to in my deepest pit of depression when the lies were gnawing away at my soul: My God does not speak in whispers and accusatory hisses. My God only speaks in promises. His language is promises. To hear God speaking, we must become familiar with his promises.”
-- Hannah Brencher
I know I spoke a lot about the government shutdown and those affected by it, but I hope you caught the objective that in times of hardship, who we are and what we believe comes to the light. We have to capture those beliefs and hold them up to the promises of God and challenge them. We have to challenge our anxieties to God’s provision. Challenge our fears to God’s protection. Challenge our desires to take matters into our own hands when God says, “For I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you’” (Isaiah 43:13). Cling to His promises. “As [he] has purposed, so it will be; as [he] has planned it, so it will happen” (Isaiah 14:24). He has figured out all of the big things, all the provisions, all of the big plans. All you have to do is show up, be present with him, and be faithful.