(I’m going to be brutally honest and vulnerable here. I hesitate to share this blog, because it talks about finances and that has a tendency to make people uncomfortable. Here I go, though, hoping that someone finds encouragement within their own storm.)
I never understood the Israelites and why they kept doubting God in the wilderness…that is until I was reading their story for class the other day and it hit me like a rock. I am NO different than them! Let me explain:
This year has been so full of unpaid bills, late-fees, stress-money arguments, borrowing from family and even our kids, it feels like the never ending cycle of stress that just won’t go away. There have been so many times that I have found myself in a heap of tears fearful of what could happen next, imagining the worst possible case scenarios. I’ve cried and complained to God, asking Him to take this burden away. Could He just once provide money on our lemon tree instead of lemons?
This is where I found myself, yet again, the other day as I was sitting elbow deep reading about the Israelites wandering in the desert. I realized how my default goes strait to despair, just as the Israelites did when things got uncomfortable in that hot dry desert. I began to sympathize with those Israelites, realizing that I am no different.
This whole last year has been an adjustment. And it has been HARD. I am also realizing that when I find myself concentrating on the HARD things we have had to walk through, I focus in on myself. This creates fear, anxiety, and tension.
Before we came back to the States, I heard two little words in a very familiar soft voice spoken to me. They were: “Watch Me”. Over this last year, these two little words have been instrumental in reminding me of my place in this world. If you notice, as the Israelites wander the desert, God is constantly reminding them of how he freed them from Egypt, provided for them in the desert, and protected them from their enemies. In one sense, He was saying, “Watch Me.”
In a very similar way, “Watch Me” has brought me back to reality. These two words remind me to take my eyes and look up and out. When my eyes are up and out, focussed in on the Maker of Heaven and Earth; the One Who Provides for the Birds; the One Who Dresses the Flowers of the Field, I remember all the ways that God HAS provided for us this year. I remember the random checks that have come in at the last moment, the reimbursements we were not expecting, the unexpected Graduate of Theology Scholarship, and the tax returns that came right when rent was due and we had $1.49 in the bank.
It’s in the remembering that we are able to see His hand at work. It’s in watching Him that I am able to be thankful and grateful, because, in the sassy sing-songy voice of Jan Johnson, I really do “have all that I need” and as Jim Smith says, I really “do live in the “strong and unshakeable kingdom of God.”
May I go from only being able to see His work through the remembering to be able to focus in on the larger picture and see Him in the act.