Last night, I was talking with a friend about how hard it often is to have faith, even when we’ve seen God do so many wonderful things in the past (I’m a modern-day Israelite, having seen the parting of the Red Sea, still crying out to God “what about this time?!”) My friend thinks that I have tons of faith, because she’s heard the amazing stories (some are linked, below) about God’s provision in our lives. But I don’t. I want to have tons of faith, and some of my children do, thank God, but I do not.
The thing is, I don’t think it’s our faith that has enabled us to witness so many miracles, but rather the desire and consistent practice of giving God opportunities to show up, thanks to a lifestyle that often requires dependence on Him for provision (ie. being open to having lots of children, me not working outside the home, tithing and not keeping a savings account* so that we can help meet the needs of others, etc.) Lest you think well of us for any of that, please know that many of these are disciplines Jon and I chose long ago, and not always something we do from the goodness of our hearts. Because I don’t always give with a loving heart. Just last week I was telling God that I’m tired of tithing. I told him that I don’t WANT to give money to those in need anymore. I told him I’m tired of going without, I’m tired of helping everybody else, I’m tired of… well, when it comes right down to it, I’m tired of having to depend on Him. But as I mentioned recently, many believers who have successful healing ministries began by praying for people who were sick, no matter the outcomes. They just showed up and invited God to show up, too. I think it works the same way when it comes to provision. George Muller got to see God perform miraculous acts of provision throughout his life precisely because He gave these matters completely over to God. He established orphanages and cared for over 10,000 orphans, without ever receiving government support and accepting only unsolicited gifts. He never had a trust fund, never had health insurance, and never had a savings account. He probably did a lot less complaining and a whole lot more praying than I do, but inexplicably God loves to provide for both of us. Sometimes it’s not about faith, it’s just about showing up and giving God the chance to show up, too. And ultimately, there’s nothing I want more.
Just after visiting with my friend, I spent our last $20 on gas for the van, with still another week and a half to go before Jon gets paid again. When I got home, I pledged to buy a $17 tub of cookie dough next week from a friend’s little girl who needed just one more purchase to meet her fundraising goal. I told God “you’re going to have to come through for this little girl, because I don’t have seventeen dollars.”
Today, I was going through some old files that I haven’t touched in almost a year and found this tucked in among them:
He showed up. He always does.
*We have, however, used credit cards for some of our urgent needs (ie. a car breaks down, etc.) This is a practice we fell into a few years ago and, to my shame, we have not yet shaken. In that respect, we don’t always wait for God to meet our needs, which I suppose could be seen as foolish (ie. while we don’t keep a savings account, we do rack up credit card debt on occasion.) But I don’t claim to have perfect practice, just lots of really good theory and some pretty amazing experiences. :)
I should also mention that we have received far more than we’ve ever given… monetarily, emotionally, spiritually and in every other way.