When God reveals Himself to us, He uses all sorts of creative methods. Sometimes He uses huge, powerful displays. Other times, He works behind the scenes, very discreetly. He knows what is best for each situation. I do see one pattern in the way He models His endless provision in using
every day situations that somehow model His generosity.
Jesus miraculously feeds over 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes, for example, in Mark 6:30-44.. He could have had food rain down from the sky like the cartoon movie, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. That would have been dramatic! Or, poof! a five course meal appears in the grass near each person. That’s unforgettable! But notice His approach – He breaks up the small amount of fish and bread He had there into twelve baskets. “Even Steven,” you may say. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? I’d guess the baskets were then passed around Can you imagine the skeptics’ comments at first….”Well that will be one tasty meal, for 12 people! But I’d hate to see the 4,988 mobbing us after that!” Or, “What will we each get? A crumb?” Of course God provides completely, as He always does, not just enough, but more than enough. He is always a generous God! Notice Mark 6:43, “And the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.” Basically what was there to start with is now still there at the end! A huge crowd is completely satisfied, and there are still some leftovers! Yes, that’s our amazing God!
Another instance that God uses “every day situations that model His generosity” is in II Kings 4:1-7. A poor widow comes to Elisha in desperation as her two sons are about to be sold to her creditors. She has nothing “except a little oil”. Elisha instructs her to collect every jar she can find. “Don’t just ask for just a few,” Elisha is sure to say. Again, God is generous and
wants to give us more than we can hope for or imagine.
The widow and her sons collect all the jars they can find around town. Then with that small jar of oil she has, she proceeds to pour and pours until every jar is full. A miracle! Once there is not an empty jar in sight, “then the oil stop flowing” (vs. 6). So God uses a normal means in an extraordinary way to demonstrate His generous provision. The oil the widow now has can pay her debtor so her sons can stay with her and then they are set for life. Excessive generosity. That’s our God.
A few other examples also fit into this model. God provides manna every single morning during the Israelites forty years of wandering in the desert. They wake up each morning to find the ground covered with enough manna to feed the group for one day. Back to Mark, several chapters after Jesus feeds the 5,000, he feeds yet another crowd, this time of 4000 people. He starts with seven baskets of bits and end with seven baskets of bits and 4,000 plus satisfied people.
What can we learn from these examples of God’s provision? I notice in all of these examples, and many other situations, the people are at
a point of desperation.
I think that’s an important key. Why do we not see a whole lot of miracles today? Many of us have more than enough to live our whole lives well. We are very blessed, sometimes maybe too blessed? God gets put on the back burner, for an emergency. Or maybe we do have needs, but we are bound and determined to meet them ourselves. We don’t like feeling weak and needy so we don’t ask God. We often refuse to even acknowledge the things God does provide.
I’ve heard so many amazing stories from people in need that decide to trust God to help them. But, do I learn from that….or just say, how great for them! Yes, God is good! Then go back to my own ways. I hope to walk a little further out into faith myself. It’s scary and it puts my faith to the test. But, it’s where God showcases His wonderful provision and gets all of the glory. I bet you can think of a few times you did experience God’s intervention yourself, if you see the situation in its real context. For example, in junior high school I attended church with a couple friends and really wanted to go to camp with everyone. But, a chunk of money was needed to be turned in by a deadline, and I just couldn’t ask my parents to pay that. Then, at the last minute, an anonymous person at the church donated money, just the amount I needed, and voila! I got to go. It wasn’t a coincidence! It was God working.
Once we get past only trusting ourselves, we open up to the possibilities of God. Maybe if we’d like to see God work more in our lives, we could risk a little more when we give time and money away? Practice His style of generosity! We still want to be wise. God never recommends foolishness. But, we could be so much more open to God’s way of doing things. And who wouldn’t like to worry less!? When we’re trusting God like we should, there’s much less to worry about. We accept that we can’t do life on our own so we’re reliant on God for everything. When money starts running low or we are in a difficult time… instead of worrying, we use our extra time to pray, to praise God, and to be encouraged by God and others.
I don’t think it would be all that surprising if God sometimes intentionally allows our plans to fall through just to get our attention long enough to remind us He’s the One in control. God reveals himself throughout Scripture as the One that is capable of taking care of every person perfectly. He knows what you need and loves you entirely.
God wants us to understand that in our own strength, we will always fall short. However, we have the God of endless possibilities on our side! We can be a team with Him. We can know He always will have input into our days and needs.
I don’t see God getting super excited to be your last choice,
the last person you go to for help. It seems to me like it would be an insult to Him? Yes, Lord, you rule my life and if nothing else works, I will be sure to go to you last! Ouch. We as parents can get this attitude from our kids and it breaks our hearts, doesn’t it? We have years of experience and resources to help our kids. But, sometimes they want nothing to do with us. They refuse to listen and refuse to accept any help. It’s a hurtful place to be…capable of helping but not asked. It does wear on our joy and sour our relationship with them some. Do we treat God that way? Or do we come to Him often, willingly, asking for His help and provision because He is all-powerful and all-loving?