If you've read my previous posts, you know that I have struggled receiving blessing. Humility is a good thing, but it has caused me to sub myself out of the game a few times in life. There is a HUGE difference in a Christian that says "I am not worthy of a mission from God" and one that says "I am not worthy of a mission from God but if God chooses me then I'm ready and willing." For most of my life I have been the former, only stepping up when I truly felt like my back was against the wall. Not because I wasn't sure of what to do, but I wasn't sure of myself. Like I have written before--I have never doubted God, I have only doubted me.
Whether you're like that or not, at some point in our Christian walk we will approach God about something we feel like we need. The Lord wants to provide. He wants to meet our needs so we won't seek the world to meet our needs. He's our comforter and deliverer. BUT... there is one aspect of a healthy relationship with God that so many Christians miss.
God will always as "what do you have?" before He asks "what do you want?"
When believers hear this, sometimes there's an offended reaction. I thought He was our provider and comforter? I thought He wanted to meet my needs? He does, folks, He really does, but let's let history be our teacher. In 1 Kings 17, God has provided for the great prophet Elijah in multiple ways. He has protected him during conflict, ordered ravens to bring him food when Elijah was hiding, and now he is in Zarephath where he meets a widow gathering sticks. He asks her for some bread and water and her response is so sad-- "I don't have any bread-- only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil... I am gathering these sticks to take home to my son so we can eat our last meal and die." Elijah reassured her and said to go home and prepare food for him regardless of her health and resources. She did so and the oil did not run dry and the flour was not used up until the day the Lord gave rain to the land. This widow's decision to use all she had for God's Will allowed Elijah to heal her son much later. Her son became sick and pronounced dead. Elijah prayed over the boy and raised him from the dead in which the widow replied, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth." 1 Kings 17:24. All this from a handful of flour and a little oil.
Here are some of my favorite big moments where God used minimal resources:
Genesis 21 God births a nation with one child
Exodus 14:16 Moses parts the sea with a staff
Numbers 22 God gets Balaam's attention by letting his donkey speak (lol!)
1 Samuel 17 David conquers the giant with a sling and a stone
Matthew 14:13-21 Jesus feeds 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish
John 9 Jesus makes a blind man see with mud
Matthew 27 Jesus uses an old rugged cross to pay my debt!!!
Two vital ingredients in all of these scenarios: faith and obedience. God desires to be our provider because He knows worldly satisfaction leads to distraction and destruction. It's a beautiful cycle where faith and obedience are strengthened every time faith and obedience are applied. Every time we fully commit to God, He gives us more reasons to fully commit to Him.
What we have to be ready for is revelation and transformation. In order for God to work in us (and our resources) like He did with David, Moses, or Elijah, we have to open our eyes to what we already have. We can't be surprised if the stuff we complain about, the job we don't think is good enough, the people we like to blame end up being the exact instruments the Lord chooses. God can show us provision in other ways, so why choose the least likely of resources? The answer in my life has always been because those things I complain about, despise, or scoff at are developing into ungodly behaviors. Thus, it wouldn't matter what He provided, it would all be sued for a selfish agenda. The victim's mentality and the scarcity mentality have NEVER attracted God to anyone. If you're feeling convicted (as I am writing this), reflect on this verse:
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
When I heard this verse in Sunday School, I interpreted it to mean be happy about what God is doing and He will give you what you want. When I sub the word "give" with the synonym: "provide," it reads it like this:
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will provide you the desires of your heart. When I thought about my desires, I realized they were of the world and depended on the world. My desires consisted of things like: more money, a "hot" body, a better wardrobe, clearer skin, etc. Then I thought about how different my life would be if God provided the desires. I traded those desires for things that honored the Lord. I desired to be expanded, to learn how to love my kids and husband effectively, to forgive when things felt unforgivable, and to be a helper. Isn't it crazy how when we stop trying to please the world, God will use us to service the world--to actually make it a better place? As one of my favorite speakers, Trent Shelton, says, "Why do we look for worth in the thing that didn't give us worth?" (Listen to his podcast!! Straight Up with Trent Shelton)
When obedience is not a trade-off, but an actual delight, we are ready to do God's work. So as you pray about the big obstacle in your life, remember that David conquered a giant with just a sling and a stone. God just told him to pick up the rock and he would do the rest. What's within arm's reach that God can use? What can you do with your hands that can further God's kingdom? What's a thought you can change? Can discouragement be traded for encouragement? Ask for those desires to be changed. God's Word says we can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and it's a mind that doesn't concern itself with earthly desires but can use earthly things to make an eternal impact!