Thursday, February 20, 2014

God’s Provision

How prone we are to worry and fretting. Jesus knows how we are, and he addressed this weakness in his Sermon on the Mount. He encouraged us to not worry about our daily needs, such as what we eat or the clothes we wear. He cited the grass of the field and the lilies and the birds of the air as examples of God’s divine providence. They don’t struggle through every day for their provision. They seem to know they are taken care of. This statement is so powerful: “Are you not much more valuable than they?” I have never seen a beautiful Cardinal bird on the white snow that does not make me think of this statement. I say to myself, “If God takes care of that Cardinal who is so carefree, how much more will he not take care of me?”  Jesus told us that our Heavenly Father knows we need the basic things of life, and he will give them to us in the right time and the right way. Instead of fretting, Jesus said we should, “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:25-34).

Whatever you are going through and whatever need you are facing, the proper response is to trust God to take care of you. He knows your needs, and he has the resources to meet all your needs. Let’s remember that all God’s ways are meaningful. When he sends a storm our way, it is not an accident. When he disciplines us, it is with purpose. Though his ways are far above our finding out, they are the incredible ways in which he is working in our lives. The following story was related by Dr. Bryan Chapell and definitely underscores God’s sovereignty and divine provision for his children.

Missionaries David and Hazel Knowlton claimed these wonderful truths of divine providence in the deserts of Africa when they built a clinic to care for the needs of impoverished people. Initially their building plans were thwarted by the absence of gravel for a needed concrete foundation. Though sand extended for hundreds of miles, gravel was so scarce that local builders treated it like precious stone. After weeks of futile efforts to locate enough gravel for the project, David wandered into the desert one evening praying about his predicament. Shuffling his feet as he contemplated his situation, he struck his toe against a small stone in the sand. He stopped short. What was the rock doing here? He rushed back to the compound for a shovel, pushed away the surface sand, and found gravel!

The next morning David rounded up wheelbarrows and hired workers to take the “worth-their-weight-in-gold pebbles” to the building site. The laborers transported all the gravel they could find—enough for the clinic foundation as well as for the mission quarters and a storehouse.

In future weeks word of the gravel finally spread to neighboring villages. Gravel “prospectors” descended on the site to stake out claims. The government even sent representatives to manage the discovery of the new resource. But no one found any more gravel. Millennia earlier when God created the world, he planted that little pocket of gravel in an ocean of sand for David Knowlton to find for his mission project. Then at just the right time, God exposed those pebbles to encourage a heart, to establish a mission, and to turn back the forces of darkness. Such is the nature of providence.[i]

[i] Bryan Chapell, The Wonder of it All, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL 1999, pp. 85-86

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