Truly, God gives good gifts to His children. I learned to trust Him for provision early in my Christian experience. After I gave my life to serve Jesus at Life Action Ministries in 1971, I wanted to learn how to walk closely with Him. God gave me that opportunity through a tough circumstance.
Early in Life Action days, revival team members received a very small stipend to help pay for personal needs. I didn’t receive financial help from home, and I didn’t have any financial supporters, so I quickly became anxious about some unmet needs. Team members who had walked much longer in the faith encouraged me to pray, citing Philippians 4:6 and 19.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. . . . And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
So I prayed for many practical needs, as well as for a heart more dependent on the Lord.
We stayed in homes during our meetings in churches. An elderly lady hosted me shortly after I’d prayed for God to provide. When I went to her downstairs guest room that first night, I was surprised to find a big basket on the end of my bed. In that basket was not only all I had prayed for, but so much more!
How did she know? I thought. Then I realized the Lord had heard my desperate prayer and provided in a sweet way through that woman. God was building my confidence in His loving, providential care.
Continuing, Faithful Provision
The One who knew me before I was born has always been involved in my life. He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord-Who-Provides. He who did not spare His own Son is gracious to provide for us (Rom. 8:32). Even things that seem insignificant are under His Providence. He knows what we need, even before we ask (Matt. 6:8).
God has provided not only my daily, physical needs—the provisions my body requires to thrive—but also for needs in my soul and spirit.
He continues to provide:
- Peace (John 16:33; Phil. 4:7)
- Power (Eph. 3:16–17; 2 Cor. 12:9)
- Protection (Ps. 18:2; Isa. 41:10, 13)
- Purpose (2 Cor. 9:8; 1 Peter 2:9; Eph. 2:10)
- Promises (2 Peter 1:4; 3:13; 2 Cor. 1:20)
- Preparation (John 14:26; Ps. 27:11) and so much more.
Most of all, He provides His loving presence (Ps. 23:4), which challenges, encourages and comforts me.
The Lord provided the wisdom I needed to homeschool my boys for a season. He provided the courage and insight to speak and minister to women in churches, camps, and conferences. He is still teaching me how to serve and encourage my dear husband, Bob, with selfless love, because I am God’s chosen provision for him in life and ministry (Gen. 2:18).
God Heard My Heart
While I was still serving on the Life Action team, God heard my heart about my desire for a husband.
In 1972, I made a little paper booklet covered with red construction paper to insert in my Bible. In that booklet were prayers for my own spiritual journey and other requests, but one entire page was dedicated to specific prayers for “my husband.”
I stayed with a family in Whittier, California in 1973. Their grown son was living at home at the time, and during those extended weeks in their church, he surprised me by meeting a practical need. Bob saw me cutting out a sewing pattern with manicuring scissors. He thought that it was funny and bought me top-grade scissors for sewing. He was practical and kind, and his gift touched my heart.
Long story short, after a God-blessed courtship, we married in 1974. God had answered almost all my “booklet requests” for my husband-to-be, and He continued to work in Bob’s life. Today, I can say that God has used circumstances through the years to provide every single desire of my heart concerning my husband.
What I’ve Learned About His Provision
God has provided for me beyond anything I prayed for or even imagined. I’ve learned that I can trust His good and guiding Providence. I’ve also learned:
- Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6 to ask for provision—to not worry about their needs, but instead, to depend on God.
- He wants us to lay up treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:19–21), but He is still concerned with our earthly needs, which He provides from His rich supply (Phil. 4:19).
- His goal for us is to develop Christlikeness (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:2), and His divine power provides all we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3).
- Though God is good to all (Ps. 145:9), He cares for His own with intimate concern.
That doesn’t mean our lives will be “perfect.” God’s provision in my life has been a constant source of joy and peace, even in tough circumstances. As Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth said, “You can be really, really godly and still have crummy circumstances.” To be pleased with what pleases God, we sometimes have to surrender those things we don’t understand.
Sometimes, God provides differently than we expect. Our circumstances and feelings are not definitive indicators of what He is doing in our struggles.
God Is All I Need
God has most recently provided for me after a diagnosis with Multiple Myeloma—blood cancer—an unexpected gift that is teaching me much about God’s providential care. I believe He is working everything together for my good (Rom. 8:28), even my terminal disease. God’s Providence leads me to see His great worth, even in the midst of my struggles.
I read recently, “What if everything you are struggling with is preparing you for exactly what you’ve been praying for?” For six years, I prayed about two areas of my life that involved being ready for eternity. God was good, gracious and merciful to bring my unique struggle with cancer to shape and better prepare me for the kingdom. As Randy Alcorn wrote in Heaven, “God uses suffering and impending death to unfasten us from this earth and to set our minds on what lies beyond.”
With my cancer journey, God is providing more of Himself and teaching me more about His sovereign control and loving care. Sickness is a result of the Fall, but not one cell in my body can revolt without God’s permission. Shortly after my diagnosis, I wrote, “The sovereign God will accomplish His purposes in and through me, no matter my circumstances. God is in complete control. He can be trusted. He doesn’t make mistakes.”
Oswald Chambers wrote: “God does not tell you what He is going to do—He reveals to you who He is.” Faith is trusting the Lord even when I can’t figure out His plan, and wisdom is wanting to bring Him glory in the midst of my uncertainties.
Nothing comes to God’s children by chance, but, as the Heidelberg Catechism Question 27 says, only from God’s “fatherly hand.” The One who controls all things loves me! I will trust my Great Physician until He has finished writing my story. It is a great mercy that weakness and struggles tear down the image I have of my self-sufficiency and offer me more of what I truly need—Father God Himself.
God Is Still Working
Even as I recall what God has done for me in the past, God is showing me my need for more of His Word, will, and ways in the present. Truth steadies my mind and guards my heart. God has not forgotten me; He is still working, still providing. In my Shepherd, I “lack nothing” I truly need (Ps. 23:1). He has not forsaken me in my elder years (Ps. 37:25). He provides for me even while I am sleeping (Ps. 127:2), giving me healing rest.
In our struggles, we can either whine or worship. It’s a choice. We can allow our thoughts to be controlled by Satan, or we can take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ and trust God even when we don’t understand His plan. It’s a choice. We can start reasoning apart from God, or we can trust God’s providence. Again, it’s a choice.
God’s perfect provision for every believer is the gospel. What God requires of us, Jesus already provided. Though I may not receive everything I want in this fleeting life—I may not receive healing here and now—the Lord has indeed blessed me with “every spiritual blessing in Christ” in the heavenlies (Eph. 1:3), and that includes total and perfect healing in eternity (Rev. 21:4).