Sitting here in the hotel in Goodland, Kansas, I have lots of time to think and reflect on the happenings of the past week. I plan to write a post covering everything that's taken place, but I'm going to save that for another day. What I'm thinking of today is God's provision and what it means to trust in Him. Specifically, I've been pondering the subtle difference between trusting in God and trusting in his provision.
As I mentioned in my last post, we are currently stranded in northwest Kansas, facing some costly repairs to our car. One of my first instincts was to contact MMS Aviation (the ministry we serve with, and who processes our monthly financial support) to get a digital copy of my financial statement for September in order to see how much money came in for us this month. In fact, near the end of every month I tend to get a bit anxious to see our financial statement. If it's a "good" month, I breathe a sigh of relief and thank the Lord that we won't have to be quite as frugal; if it's a low month I start thinking about how to tighten our budgetary belt. I know that God has always provided for our needs (financial and otherwise), and that every good thing comes from Him, but I also like the assurance of having money in the bank to know that we're covered financially. It's not that I don't recognize those dollars in the bank as God's provision, but I'm beginning to question whether I've truly been trusting the Giver and Provider, or trusting in the resources He provides.
So this month, instead of requesting that financial statement, I decided to pause, to wait. I knew that if I looked at our income for the month, I would start crunching the numbers, filling in my budget, figuring out how to make ends meet and how to start rebuilding our savings for the next rainy day. By delaying that process, I am able to focus on the God who provides our needs and truly trust Him, rather than focusing on dollar and cents.
I've always known intellectually that it's ridiculous to trust in a savings account, and that it only takes one crisis to wipe out years of savings. I've told myself and others that my faith is not in my savings, but in my Lord who provides for me. And until these past couple weeks I thought I was truly living out that belief. But ever since I worked in the corporate world, our family has had a financial safety net large enough to absorb any financial challenge we've faced. But as I watch this safety net shrink, my response to financial challenges has changed from "Thank the Lord that He's provided the money to cover this expense" to "Thank the Lord, who provides for our every need." It is a subtle change, but a significant one. The focus has shifted from the provision itself to the person who faithfully provides and cares for me.
It's wise to save for the future. It's wise to plan for the unexpected. But it's easier than I realized for my security to become wrapped up in the Lord's blessings (whether it's savings, investments, a stable job, or any other good thing) rather than in the Lord Jesus Himself! It's a good time for me to learn this lesson, as we prepare to move to North Carolina. We have a lot to trust Him for in the near future, and in the midst of it I will strive to keep my eyes fixed not on the things that God provides for us, but on my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Provider.