Last night in my Bible study we were talking about steps of faith. One girl shared that she was so afraid to move away from home, but once she did things started happening to show her that God was taking care of her. "It was so difficult to take that first step," she said, "but once I did, that first step was like a springboard for so many other things to happen." All the other ladies in the room nodded like they all had similar experiences.
I wanted to raise my hand and say, "Excuse me, but what if God doesn't provide?"
It has been four months since I lost my job and church. Three months since I came down with Mono. Two months since I wrecked my car. And a week since my relationship ended.
And every morning I wake up and walk, and every single step is by faith. I cannot turn to the left or to the right without it being by faith. I have no other choice. But where is the springboard? It seems to me like bad things keep happening. It seems to me like the faith I build is never a springboard for some sort of destination, but merely preparation for more difficulty I'm about to face.
I am tired of people saying, "As soon as I became content with being single, I found my husband," and, "As soon as I stopped looking for it, it came," and, "As soon as I stepped out in faith, my whole future became bright."
Sometimes it works that way. But it doesn't always work that way.
I'm looking through the Old and New Testaments, and I'm not really seeing any springboards. I'm seeing 40 years of waiting in wilderness, 40 days of waiting in deserts, and hundreds of years of waiting for a Redeemer. I see a lot of waiting. I don't see a lot of God promising, "As soon as _____, then _____." I see more verses like Habakkuk 3:17-19, where we promise, "Even though _____, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation."
God provides. I see it every day through friends who care about me and family who love me. But more than that, I see it in the intangible ways He is with me. We often define God's provision by where He takes us, what He gives us, how we end up where we do. But God's provision, at its basest form, is Himself.
My life seems to be not-so-slowly crumbling all around me, and it would be easy for me to cry out that God is not taking care of me. He is not providing. If the formula for God's provision were, "As soon as _____, then _____," then I could definitely argue that He is not providing for me.
But God's provision is not a formula. He does not handle everybody's life the same way. For me, it seems as though He has this plan that is taking a super long time to refine. And I must say, "Even though I can't find a job, even though I don't have a home church anymore, even though I still owe money on my car, even though I am losing people I love, YET I will rejoice in the Lord. I will trust that He loves me, fights for me, and works for my good, no matter what or how long it takes."
That's provision. Sometimes all the other stuff takes a little longer (or A LOT longer) to happen, but God's presence is always with you.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. - Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV