“Mom, what should we have for supper?”
I looked up from my project, glanced into the curious face of the one asking the question, and smiled. A fragrant soup simmered on the stove for lunch, but this daughter was already thinking ahead to the next meal. She knew of my propensity for getting involved in what I was doing to the degree that I would forget about food. But, that was not the case for her. With her high metabolism rate, she needed frequent doses of sustenance. As a result, food was never far from the forefront of her mind.
“The supper menu shouldn’t be too hard to decide,” I answered. For once, I had a plan in mind. I had surveyed the contents of our freezer and knew what our options were.
Or perhaps I should say, I knew what our option was.
“We are down to the last chicken, so let’s have chicken,” I said.
A loud chuckle erupted on the outskirts of the kitchen, and my husband entered the room. “Did you say we are down to the last chicken?” He started to laugh harder. “Down to the last chicken!”
His amusement was contagious, and soon the laughter bug had spread to all of us. Later that evening, as we sat down to eat the last chicken, the atmosphere encompassing our meal was one of joy, gratitude, and laughter – even though this chicken was the last of the meat in our freezer. In a way, that meal was a testament to God’s faithful provision for us in a difficult time of limited resources and tight finances in which we continued to experience daily instances of God’s provision in precise and unique ways.
One of the unique ways God provided for us was in the area of clothing. If you have a growing family, you have probably experienced how quickly clothes need to be replaced – either from wear and tear or from the clothes mysteriously shrinking. One moment, the pants are the right size, and the shirt fits just right. Three weeks later, the hem of the jeans is sitting three inches above the ankle, and the cuff that should be at the wrist is halfway to the elbow! Yet, for nearly three years, our garments did not wear out – even though we had an active, growing family. The clothes didn’t get holes, nor did they get too small. It seemed that our children gained stature, their clothes did as well. I can’t explain it in any other way except that God was providing for our needs.
Another time, we needed some groceries, but all I had was ten dollars – enough to by some eggs and a jug of milk. It was autumn, the season of apples, and to bite into the crisp, juicy fruit was something that I looked forward to every fall. In past seasons, to purchase a box of apples had not been a difficulty. But things had changed. I looked through my purse again and again – scouring every corner and pocket multiple times – hoping to find some extra coins so that I could buy a few apples. But, it was not to be – or so I thought.
I don’t know why I looked again, but I did, and as I opened the main compartment of my purse, there was a $20 bill sitting on the top, in plain sight. My shock quickly changed to delight and thankfulness that God would care enough for me to provide, not only for my needs but also for my specific desire for an apple.
When I think of these instances, I am reminded of the verses in Luke 12:24 – 28.
Look at the ravens. They do not plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any of the birds. Can your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon, in all his glory, was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
These truths are also recorded in Matthew 6, where the chapter closes with this verse, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Oh, but while that is easy to read, it can be so challenging to live out, can’t it? I know it is. I have been there. Multiple times. Yet, as we learn to see God’s gentle care for us each day, we learn to trust him with the daily-ness of each day. I have often thought that it is too bad that we don’t include the second half of verse 5 when we quote Philippians 4:6, 7. If we did, this is what it would say, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You know, while those apples that I was able to purchase with the $20 are now long gone, the sweet, delightful flavor of experiencing first-hand God’s faithful provision for me has not. I can testify that I KNOW God cares for me. Truly he does. I have experienced the gracious provision of his gentle care. His faithfulness is undeniable. Have I been in need? Definitely. Has he provided? Most definitely. Learning to live day-by-day is an opportunity to discover God’s care for us in that each day.
There is a reason why Luke 12 says, “Look at the ravens. Look at the lilies.” A person can only accurately look at what one can see – at the moment. We may think we can look into the future and see what is going to happen, but we can’t. Only God knows. Honestly, we miss out and add needless anxiety to our lives if we are so busy worrying about the future that we fail to see and discover God’s provision for us. Right now. Today. It is in the daily-ness of Today, that God wants us to experience, to know and to believe that he is near us, caring for us, helping us and guiding us through each moment as we live it. When we discover the specific accounts of his provision, these instances become imprinted upon our hearts, and we learn to trust him. Day by day. God never intended for us to worry about tomorrow, because his provision for tomorrow will come when Tomorrow turns into Today.
So, if you haven’t already, take a few moments to thank God that he is near, and ask him to open your eyes so that you can see and know his specific care for you. Indeed, if God cares so wonderfully for the birds and the flowers, he will also care for you.