Jehovah Jireh: The Lord will provide
Interestingly, the context of this name takes us back to the mountains of Moriah where Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering. Seriously, can you imagine that kind of faith? In the moment of Abraham’s obedience, God stepped in and provided a ram for the sacrifice instead. Abraham named that place Jehovah Jireh: the mount where the Lord is seen or commonly translated as the Lord will provide. It’s a story of absolute trust.
After my dad died in 2005, I was raised by my widowed mom. We worked part time to provide, but numbers just didn’t always add up for our family. I’m sure finances were often more stressful for my mom than I gathered, but I learned to feel safe in a “more than we could handle” reality because God always came through for us. There were countless times that money showed up just in time, sometimes anonymously. Those experiences taught me the habit of banking my hope in God, my Provider.
When I got married, I subconsciously thought I had this God, the Provider thing figured out. After all, I had years of first hand experiences under my belt. Well, things were different than I expected.
Instead of living in a state of supernatural provision, my husband was now God’s primary method of provision for me. It sounds like a great plan, and it is, but it turns out that faith is actually a whole lot more intense and scary when there is a steady income of bigger numbers to steward as opposed to rock bottom reality with no options but a miracle. The responsibility is greater, as are the consequences of mistakes.
How to keep the tension of childlike faith combined with hard work and stewardship?
So often I have found myself hard knuckling it out with God in frustration. When provision comes through the blood sweat and tears of a hard working man, it is so easy to think that we are doing it on our own when really we are only stewards of resources that are ultimately His.
In a message my husband and I watched yesterday, the pastor told a story about a tax return she and her husband got early in their marriage. There was a house project they were excited to use the extra money on, but last minute, they got an auto bill that used most of the money up. They were extremely disappointed and couldn’t help feeling ripped off by God. When she was discussing this with a wealthy friend of hers, he made this comment, “I’m just happy I have enough money to pay my bills.”
Gulp. That could have been written about me.
It’s hard to help others if you can’t help yourself, which is why I think money is such an incredible Kingdom tool. Maybe the process is just so hard because God doesn’t want us to have “more than enough” until we have the character not to let it destroy us.
I feel like God’s objective is to get us from the wilderness (basic provision) to the promised land, (more than enough) but the minute we begin to feel entitled, we set ourselves back in the process. God wants us to work and steward the resources in front of us, but it takes walking closely to Him in order to be successful for the right reasons.
When my husband and I were reflecting the many mistakes we’ve made because of this issue, he got quiet for a while. “You know, it’s a funny thing. If you think life stinks, maybe it’s because you have your head up your own ass.” 😀
I know that’s a bit crude, but I have definitely found it to be true. How often I have let setbacks and disappointments breed entitlement and offense towards God. Most times those setbacks are a result of human mistakes. We have to forgive ourselves and move on from the stench and into renewed connection with the Provider.
Two things: (courtesy of my husband)
- Be thankful When I was a widow’s daughter, we didn’t often have extra, but I never felt jipped or entitled to more. I felt royally taken care of simply because God took care of my basic needs. I can never lose sight of that in this different (but good) season. God is always that same, good Father!
- Simply ask I realized that I stopped asking God for things because I adopted the belief that He would only provide and give gifts through the hard work and stewardship he called us- particularly my husband to. Why bother asking for extra you know? I don’t just mean material possessions- even just talking to Him about every day things throughout the week. What do you think, Lord? How shall I handle this? What is your solution? I realize I was letting disappointment breed an offense towards God, feeding the lie that He isn’t directly looking out for my needs and wishes.
You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. James 4:2
A little practical way I am moving past offense:
We sold our old couches this spring because we needed something with better back support. We bought a firmer futon for the time being, but when unexpected expenses came up, the couch situation took a major back seat. We made do with the futon and a falling apart (literally) recliner. It works for us, but it’s not very nice for guests. With all the other expenses this summer with a baby coming, an empty freezer to fill, quarterly taxes, etc, a new couch isn’t something that takes first priority. It’s not a life or death need, but it is something I care about.
A few days ago, it came to my mind again. Not in a heavy, depressing, “how are we going to buy a new couch right now” way, but with hope. I thought to myself, why in the world haven’t I just asked God for a couch? He cares because I care. He knows which one is perfect for us.
All the life processes we go through are ultimately for the purpose of intimacy. This week I’m challenging myself to get back to the basics of childlike faith. Today that means asking God for a couch because He likes when I ask.
What is the couch in your life that has over complicated the simplicity of relationship with God, your Provider?
© Brenda Kanagy
Note: I do not own the photo in this post.