"God provides by His hand"
Several years ago, while driving home from church, my ten-year-old car died on the freeway. We had it towed to our mechanic, and we began that agonizing, "Is it time to buy a new car or do we spend the money to repair it" conversation. We prayed, we looked at new cars, we got advice, and we decided to repair it.
A little over a month later, as I drove home from Bible study, my car died in the middle of an intersection. I pulled over and it started right up again, but something had changed for me. I no longer trusted the car. I no longer felt it was reliable for me and my kids. And that night, sitting in church, my prayer to God was, "Lord, please, I'd like a new car." It was respectful, but it was bold.
He knew I wasn't saying, "Gimme, gimme," but that I was expressing my desire to Him, and humbly asking if He would bless it. I knew it would be tricky for us to rework our budget to add in a car payment, but I knew there were things we'd be able to drop. It was not going to be easy to afford, but I was asking God to make it possible. That was a Wednesday.
The following Sunday, we met my in-laws for lunch after church, and they had a surprise for us. My husband's great-aunt, who knew nothing about our car situation, had cashed in an annuity, and decided to gift us. And there, in our hands, was the money for a new car.
God provides what we need. Always. We recognize that in our food and clothing and shelter ~ and transportation. But it's more than that. He provides grace and salvation and the ability to forgive. And He asks obedience of us, and then provides the faith that enables us to obey. And He provides the blessings that result.
Every day there are beautiful reminders that God is our Provider. Jehovah Jireh. But if there's one day we can forget that, I think, surprisingly, it's Christmas Day. I'm always grateful for all the blessings on that day ~ fun and wonderful things that I unwrap ~ but those are generally things I want, not things I need. On Christmas Day, I'm grateful for the gifts He has enabled us to have, and I think I lose track of all things I need, that He has provided.
And I think that's okay. He knows I'm thinking of Him. I think He's forgiving of the fact that there are things I'm forgetting to thank Him for, when I'm thanking Him for so many other things. But I have to remember that the things I need keep coming, even when I'm not thinking about them.
On that day, all those years ago, when my husband carried in his wallet that check from his great-aunt, we went out to dinner. Not the Ritz or anything, just California Pizza Kitchen. And sitting there, looking at the menu, I felt a feeling I had never felt before. I felt rich. And I married an artist, so it was not something I ever expected to feel! I thought, "I don't even need to look at the prices! I can order an appetizer, dinner, and dessert!" I felt freedom; a complete lack of worry. And I felt as if God said to me, "This is what you're supposed to feel like all the time."
He provides things we need, and He provides things we want. What we provide is appreciation for all of it. Every day.
~ "in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus for you" ~
1 Thessalonians 5:18