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  • Going With The Gruenings

How Provision Changes Perspective

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

“Whatever God orders and whatever God guides, he provides. God’s work, done in God’s way, never lacks for God’s supply.” — Hudson Taylor

Last year, when I, Deanna, decided to introduce the girls to missionary stories (we have now read over a dozen of them!), I had no idea how much it would impact me and our journey into the world of missions. The first story we read was about the life and faith of Hudson Taylor. Near the beginning of his time in ministry, he told the story of eating his breakfast not knowing where his next meal would come from. That afternoon, a five pound note arrived in his mail with no letter or note indicating where it came from or who sent it. What impressed me more than the fact that the money had come just when he needed it was his attitude of faith that supernaturally guarded his heart from losing hope or doubting his heavenly Father. That is, as Hudson said, “God’s work, done God’s way.”

In this process of leaving behind the comfort of the known for the faith-filled steps of the unknown, I have learned that God’s work is done GOD’S WAY; in other words, God’s work is not done MY way. As I have unfurled my tightly held fists and let go of control, the Lord has shown - in many ways - that what He orders, He supplies. As it says in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

On our journey, we have seen the Lord provide cars when we had no means to buy new ones. He has sent a community of believers to rally around us when days were long and support and comfort were needed. He has cared for our children in ways we alone couldn’t have by sending other mature believers to encourage them; again and again God has provided for us.

But, to be honest, that journey hasn’t always been easy. It will continue to be difficult too. It’s easy to read someone’s hindsight view of things or, in case of many testimonies, to see the overall trajectory of things even before you’ve heard the whole story. It is a completely different thing to be in the middle of it.

Those of you who know me well know that I’m organized. I like lists and labels and color-coding. God has made me that way; I’m okay with it. But the flip side of that can be that “unless I have control, I cannot be okay.” I have had sleepless nights. I have cried. I have wondered. I have prayed faithless, fear-driven prayers. I have complained. I have been discouraged.

I’m not sharing that ask you to join my pity party. I’m not actually having one. I’m sharing it because I want you to know that as God is doing His Work, that work is not just a Big-Audacious-Goal-type-vision. It’s the chiseling off of the sharp edges of our faith, to make us into the sons and daughters he wants us to be.

I have learned, or better, still am learning, that God’s provision is vaster than what we at first perceive. Is God going to raise up people for His kingdom work? Yes. Will the ministry He builds through us bear fruit? Of course! Do we need money? You bet. What about food? I don’t like to be hungry – you?! Do I care about my kids? Indeed I do! But God works out and provides for all of that at the same time, and more. My fears? God is slowly cutting away their influence. What about my need to control? He's teaching me it is okay to let go. What about my faithlessness? Whenever I see him at work, it’s another brick of trust in my life of faith.

God provides and that provision changes our perspective. The way God provides is so marvelously, so seamlessly, so timely. He is a good, caring, patient, and faithful God who doesn’t miss a beat. All that changes how we see Him, ourselves, and our situations. Therefore, we must trust Him – always!

But there is a second lesson too. As we are headed into a season where dependence on God is completely different than what we have known before, my perspective has change also on HOW God provides. He uses His people to provide for His people.

While this should be obvious from our reading of the Scriptures – from Noah to Abraham to Moses to the prophets to the disciples to the martyrs of the early church to those who have funded global missions year after year. God uses people.

Unfortunately, we don’t learn that quickly. God has to repeat himself; without that, we forget. Think about the early church. In Acts 2:44-47 we read that the believers shared everything with one another; God used the people in the church to provide for the people of the church. We also know it from the believers in Philippi (see Phil 4:14-23) who provided for Paul’s ministry and needs. The result was that the early church, and Paul in particular, was blessed. More importantly, it resulted in praise and glory to God.

Again, we know that, but we forget. Our perspective changes when we allow the truth that God uses His people to do His work to break the bonds of our pride. It is our pride that hinders us from asking people for help. It hinders us from accepting help. It hinders people from receiving God's blessing because we refuse to participate.

As I have been reflecting on God’s provision, I’ve been reminded how much the impact of God’s people taking steps of faith has meant to me, and to us as a family. God has used many of you as a huge blessing to us because you have chosen to follow God. He stirred in your heart and then you took a step of faith; to us that has been a tremendous blessing. In one swoop, God built your faith and broke our pride. In one single moment God transformed your trust and our fear.

Join us in praising God for his faithfulness and goodness!

Lastly, I want to encourage you to remain strong and courageous in your faith. While we are good at comparing ourselves to others and their faith, living out our faith is not about comparing ourselves to others! Stop doing that! #preachingtothechoir

But think about it: for some people, giving $25 as a one-time gift to a homeless person is a huge step of faith. For some people picking up the phone and praying with someone is a huge step of faith. For some people steps of faith look like taking extra time to prepare a meal or to write a card or to help someone prepare for a garage sale. While those things seem insignificant in the large scheme of things, we all know how hard it is to overcome the flesh that pleads with us to do what is comfortable... "I can work on my faith on Sunday… or at the next Small Group meeting..."

However, as the recipient of those faith steps, we have been so blessed. Your time, words, finances, energy, comfort, presence, food, etc. blessed us. God will continue to lead you to take more steps of faith – be strong and courageous; trust him; if need be, ask for greater faith. I promise you, it will be a blessing to others, and it will build your faith as you lean on Christ while you step into the unknown.

If you are on the receiving end of someone's faith steps, allow God to break your pride and kill your fears. It will be a blessing to you and to those who give to you, and it will please God as we learn to be obedient and faithful like Jesus.

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