And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
As I mulled over Jehovah-Jireh following yesterday’s devotional, I found myself wondering why it is that so many of us so often don’t really live in the miraculous provision of God. As I prayed and meditated on this, I felt God was pointing out something of vital importance. His miraculous provision is not about the ‘big things.’ These are simply the natural outpouring of faith. Before these happen, we need to recognise and enjoy the truth of the simple things that abound in our lives. We need to stop and smell the flowers.
Living in the daily miraculous provision of God requires an attitude adjustment. It requires living in thankfulness.
It’s so easy to look at, for example, Jesus providing the fish with the gold coin in its mouth to cover the taxes, or how God provided manna and quail for millions of wanderers in the desert, how He brought water forth from the rocks, and how Jesus fed thousands with the tiny lunch of an ordinary little boy. We see these and we subconsciously measure ourselves against them – with the inevitable result that we so often feel ‘cheated,’ as if the miraculous provision of God is only for others and never for us.
The real truth is that we are surrounded by the miraculous provision of God. It abounds all around us. It is evidenced in every single small detail that makes up the daily reality of our lives, a real and vital truth that is the very foundation of the ‘great miracles’ we look and hope for. On a very basic level, it is our relationship with and our attitude to Jehovah-Jireh and His manifold blessings that determines the measure of provision we are able to receive and enjoy.
The first thing that needs adjusting is our perception of provision. We tend to separate our various needs into ‘compartments,’ whereas they actually exist in a dynamic and vital interconnection. One need usually generates others – we may have a need for a new job, which in turn generates emotional and psychological needs such as fear, insecurity, or lack of confidence. Separating these is one of the biggest reasons why we so often miss the miraculous provision of God. We decide which need is relevant and, if God does not meet that first and quickly, our perception is that He we have missed the promise.
The other aspect of perception is that we have come to a place where ‘provision of God’ equals financial provision. In a world that has an almost obsessive focus on status, success, power, and material benefits – all things directly dependent on just how much money we may or may not have – we have come to limit our definition of provision to the yardstick of the world. We only need to consider the obsession the church has with prosperity teaching to see where our focus lies.
It’s so important to take hold of the truth that God meets needs ‘holistically.’ It is sometimes necessary for Him to make provision for numerous ‘smaller’ needs before He meets that big one we’re waving in His face. Today’s verse highlights this. God meets our needs through His riches in glory. Remember that God is complete, and that He is perfect. ‘Riches’ covers the whole bang caboodle. It essentially means the limitless resources that supply every possible need, great or small. God does desire to meet our needs financially – it’s one of His blessings for His people, and it’s not only essential for living but also for the work of His kingdom. But it may well be that, before He can do so, He needs to first meet the other needs that prevent us receiving.
Many times, this lack is directly related to our level of faith. So many times, Jesus uses variations of ‘if you believe.’ If we’re waving that need at Him but don’t really believe that He ‘rewards those who seek Him,’ we’re expending a whole lot of energy for nothing, and we’re setting ourselves up for for disappointment. These moments of ‘unanswered prayer’ accumulate, slowly eroding what faith we do have, until we unknowling reach a place where the miraculous provision of God seems forever out of our reach. He does it for others, but never for us.
Both our perception of and faith for the miraculous provision of God are inextricably tied to the simple habit of living in constant thanksgiving. I have been in a place of utter desperation and despair – literally destitute, struggling to raise my child on a pathetic salary and pay off my late husband’s medical bills. I lost my home, my ‘friends’ abandoned me, and my church at the time turned on me with a viciousness that left me emotionally and spiritually broken. By worldly measures, I was completely and utterly alone, living on the edge of giving up completely.
But God is good. In that time, there at ‘the bottom of the barrel,’ He stirred up up a survival plan – thanksgiving. This is what kept me from stepping off the edge of the world. I would wake in the morning and force myself to list at least ten things that I could be thankful for. Sometimes, I would have to grit my teeth and scrounge through the shards of my life for something, anything, that manifested the daily miraculous provision of God.
At the time, I simply didn’t understand why He ‘wouldn’t answer’ my desperate prayers. What I didn’t realise what this I didn’t have the faith to receive. He first needed to meet other needs – to rebuild a broken, spiritually and emotionally battered life – so that my faith could be restored. It was a long, slow, and incredibly painful process, but thanksgiving gradually grew from a grim and desperate determination to survive into a quiet daily awareness of the infinite grace and provision of God.
To understand this, let’s look at the simple fact that we are human – as opposed to animals, that is. If today, in the utter darkness of whatever moment you may be in, you can find nothing else to give thanks for, remember that mankind was created in the image of God and for relationship with God. We were created for His glory. We aren’t plants or animals or creatures with no spiritual purpose or eternal destiny. Mankind is unique. They are part of His eternal plan.
Then consider this world He has provided. Consider its perfection, the miraculous detail that goes into each unique ecosystem. The miraculous way our bodies work, and the daily miracle of sunrise and sunset, God’s provision for work and for rest. Consider the tides and the seasons. Each of these is a the miraculous provision of God – without His will and and interaction, this world would return to chaos. He provides the security of an ordered universe and the natural laws that ensure His ongoing provision.
The process of living in a place of thankfulness is the process of building our faith for the ‘big things,’ the miraculous provision of God that takes our breath away and evidences His power and might. Each day, if we take time to ‘smell the flowers,’ we’re living in thankfulness. We’re acknowledging that He has already provided so much that we often overlook or take for granted. Remember, a ‘miracle’ is simply something that cannot be achieved by natural or human means. The vegetables on the store shelf that provide nutrition for our bodies are each miraculous provision of God. The ability to think and reason, to learn and grow, to work and provide for our families – these are miracles. God has provided all these abilities.
When we go through the hardships and dark difficulties of life, our faith in and perception of the daily miraculous provision of God is what will bring us through. I know because I lived it. Looking back, I can see the infinite needs He met without me even realising it. I can see how He reached out and rebuilt my trust and my faith, how He restored my crushed emotions and broken confidence. None of this happened through bold, dramatic moments. My miracles were small, and they came from teaching me to be thankful.
As we focus on the little things and see the miraculous provision of God in everything, we start to see God. We see His power, grace, and love at work. We see beyond our circumstances and our needs and take hold of the infinite nature of God. Our faith responds. It grows and receives more. We can believe for more, and believing is receiving. Most of all, it puts our eyes on the provider, not the provision. It brings wisdom born out of a sure and certain knowledge that Jehovah-Jireh sees all and has already made provision. Though it may not be what we think we need, and though it may not manifest as we expect, the eternal truth of His infinite faithfulness remains sure and steadfast.
Thank You, Lord, for Your grace, and for the miraculous provision that surrounds us. Help us to see Your provision, to daily look at all that You have done, and forgive us for those things we have misunderstood or never seen, or simply taken for granted. Thank You that even in our ‘blindness’ You remain faithfull.