The Provision of God

Posted: July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

At one of our recent evening CORE worship gatherings several story tellers wove a narrative of God’s provision. The following is from Tessi Muskrat, with her kind permission:

The provision of God—His promise to meet all of our needs—has always been a pretty big deal for me. Maybe that’s because I was barely in High School when He DID it.

I was a month shy of my 15th Birthday when our house burned to the ground. The uninsured home of a family of 7, lost by our neighbor’s carelessness, and I found myself in a grey Red Cross sweat suit, clutching a plastic bag of toiletries (and a deck of cards) and crowded into a hotel room so small that I couldn’t help but hear my father crying his devastation away in the dark.

There’s nothing like having absolutely nothing to throw you at the feet of God. I remember vividly, laying on a cot in the dark that night, listening to my father cry (a sound I’d only heard once before) and praying. “God…you’re gonna have to do something…like you said you would…because we’ve got nothing.”

He did. Within 2 weeks, we had to make radio announcements asking people to stop donating clothes and household items—it would take us weeks to go through what had been collected so far. People from France to Washington State gave to what would be our bank’s largest benevolent fund ever, and offers from friends and family for lodging (we were gifted a free condo for 6 months) and food were more than we could count.

Even more than that, though, God was present in the little things. The woman at church who gave my barefoot sister the shoes off her feet, the morning after the fire. The fact that my one souvenir from the only trip I’d ever taken was the only thing of mine to survive the fire. The no longer in production dolls that we girls loved, which an acquaintance found in her mother’s attic and sent us, still in the box. The family who took up re-filling our library as their personal mission and sent us boxes of books (from a very long list we’d sent them) for years after the fire. The donation (six months after the fire) of exactly the amount of money we’d just spent on buying a trailer home.

That November, we made a book of Thanksgiving, filling pages with drawings and remembrances of God’s provision, lest we forget. I still have it on my bookshelf.

And yet, I find that I do forget. Or maybe I feel unsure about God’s willingness to provide for my needs if they’re needs I’ve created and shouldn’t have. Does He have to help me pay off my credit cards? Does He have to pay for student loans that might have been taken carelessly in the first place? Does He have to provide work when maybe we should be satisfied with the job we already had? I think I have a new understanding of the faithfulness that’s required on my part, for the provision on His.

Except, the moment I start thinking that—start falling into the idea that God does what He promises only if I do what I’m supposed to first (where does that idea still come from, anyway??)—He surprises me with a provision that I never saw coming. Or that I never would have recognized without His help.

Who knew that the experience of watching my parents’ marriage fall apart would be God’s provision? Not that He gave me the dissolution of my family—I don’t mean that—only…He is the One who allows me to see Him in it. He provides me with the ability to know that I’ve worked years to learn to communicate, to love selflessly, to seek God before myself, to recognize warning signs in relationships and be willing to work for resolution before they fester—all because I never want to live what my parents did. He’s shown me His ability to provide the Spiritual Fathers I have needed—each in their own place and their own time—to teach me what I needed to learn through the fire, the divorce, the crumbling of my church, my own redefining of faith.

Sometimes I still get all mixed up thinking I need to do before He will provide. Sometimes I still need to whine to one of my Spiritual Fathers and let them point me toward recognition of the providing presence of God in my life. Because—really—it always comes before I do anything.

God built the supportive community my family needed in order to survive the fire.

He gave me the connections I would need to meet the men who have guided me though my spiritual journey.

He allowed me to struggle with sin, so that I would know how to speak into the lives of those who struggle.

He threw me into situations for which I was completely unprepared (what do you do when a teenager shows up at your door in the middle of the night, bleeding from self-inflicted cuts??) so I would remember my need for Him.

And, time and time and time again, He teaches me—through experience or reading or scripture—exactly what I’m going to need in a month, or two, or six to speak what’s needed to one of the teens I share life with.

God still provides for me. I can always pay my bills, even when I make stupid choices with my resources. He will still provide next week, and next month, and the month after, when my new husband may still be looking for a job and I no longer have my roommate’s half to pay bills with.

But even more than that, He has already provided. When one of my kids asks a question I don’t think I can answer, words will come out of my mouth that are what they need to hear. When I’m tired and I don’t think I can give any more, my husband will step in with exactly the words that they need. The thing I read last week will be exactly what I need tomorrow. The friend I just made will be the one with the experience that I need to learn from. I don’t have to do, before He provides.

The trick is—will I remember to look with open heart and dedicated mind? Will I recognize the provisions He’s prepared? Or will I be so distracted with trying to do the right thing so that God will be willing to provide for my needs that I totally miss the provision that’s already there waiting?

  1. N Miller says:

    Yes, he does, he has, and he will–not always what we want, but always what we need.

  2. David McGee says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing entry!

  3. Nick Larson says:

    It was a very neat series. After so many great stories, including this one, we might have to repeat it regularly

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