Saturday, July 6, 2013

In Plenty or in Want

I must admit, I am not the most faithful person on the planet. Please do not get me wrong, I have faith that God exists, that Jesus died and rose again, and that the world will be redeemed one day along with God’s people. Those things I have no problem believing. What I am not good at having faith about is the ways that God will take care of me, which is ridiculous because He has always taken care of me.

When I was in college choir, we sang an old gospel song called, “He’s Never Failed Me Yet.” I always wondered what the “yet” part meant, and every now and then when I think about my own faith, this song will pop into my head. What did the writer mean by the “yet” part? Were they waiting in expectation that God would someday just up and stop providing? What happens if the food is not there, the money is gone, and all 
earthly provisions are lost? Is God still faithful then?

I can look back on my life and see the work of God in each day, each moment, and in every part of my being. I can remember the times that God provided, that God gave me what I needed or wanted, and all the times He gave me more than what I could ask or imagine. But what about those times that I did not get what I wanted? What about the times that He said a firm, resounding, “No!”?

I am not very good at listening to the “No’s” that God gives me and still choosing to be at peace with that. I have spent time in anger with the Lord, not understanding why He did not give me what my heart’s desire was. As I sit and think about a specific time that comes to mind, I remember how hurt and terribly frustrated I felt. For so long I wondered why God did not give me what I wanted because I felt that I deserved it. I felt like I was a good Christian, a godly woman, and someone who always served Him, so why couldn't He give me what I wanted?
I am not going to share exactly what that was, because it was a highly personal experience. Yet, once I got through it, I realized that God had not given me what I wanted. But it was okay. It was better than okay, it ended up being what I needed.

I know exactly what Paul means when saying that he was, “Thankful in plenty or in want,” (Phillipians 4:2). Sometimes it is easy to think that if we do all the right things, that God will only give us good things. But what if those good things are hiding under layers of not so good things? What if the bad things do the job of keeping us faithful, regardless of the circumstances we may find ourselves in? If I lost everything today, would I still be faithful, thankful, and peaceful with God?
I would like to say yes, but I know that life is never the same. It throws us curve balls, gives us hope and lets us down, sin and suffering is all around. I am praying that God will help me be faithful. I know He can give me strength although I do not always lean on Him first.

As I travel to Arequipa on Wednesday, it is a reminder of God’s faithfulness. But even if He had not supplied the funds to go, I know God is still good. He is faithful when I am not. And THAT is something I can have faith in. 

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