Why We’re Not Ready For God to “Provide”

It’s been raining a lot around here lately, those deep, soaking kind of rains that tempt you into believing it’s spring already. That somehow you’ve managed to skip through the bone-chilling months of winter. That frozen windshields and snow shovels have been conveniently avoided.

But then you look at the fields and realize the harvest is over. You look up at the trees and realize it is the most beautiful of seasons, autumn, and winter is still on its way.

* * * * *

“I want to get some toys, mama,” our four-year old daughter said.

“Sorry, Abra. You don’t need any more toys. At least not today.”

“Yes, I do!” she shouted.

“Abra!” Maile said, surprised by this unusual outburst from our smiliest child. “You don’t need more toys. You don’t want to be greedy, do you?”

“Yes, I do,” she said, this time in a calculated voice full of reflection. “I haven’t been greeny in years.”


* * * * *

I felt like that earlier in the summer. I just wanted to be greeny. I felt like we had given up so much to chase our dreams, to follow the path that we felt God had put in front of us, and I was ready to collect the reward.

Here I am, God. Your faithful servant. Withdrawal slip in hand.

But rather than getting easier, things got more difficult. I ran out of projects. We didn’t get the house we wanted (at the time). And, as you’ll soon read about in a post I’ve written for Prodigal Magazine, we lost $15,000 in the time it takes to read a short email. What I had thought might finally be the spring turned out to be a deceitful fall day. A winter of the soul rolled in.

* * * * *

“We’re believing God for big things.”

“We know that God can provide what we’re asking for.”

“I know God can help me __________.” (Fill in the blank: “buy that house” or “get that promotion” or “get out of debt”.)

These days it’s hard for me to listen to people talk about God in that way. Not because I don’t believe he provides for us, but rather because I think we’re not usually ready to receive what he has to offer. I know I wasn’t.

This was by far the craziest summer yet. God’s gifts didn’t seem very good. We had gone five months without any meaningful, consistent income. I have no idea how we paid the bills, but we did. And in the midst of this incredible uncertainty, a new sort of trust has grown inside of me. A peace that makes absolutely no sense. A joy in simply living, waiting to see what’s next.

I now realize I got way more than my greeny little heart was asking for.

In Rachel Held Evan’s new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, she points out this prayer by St. Theresa of Avila. I’ll leave you with these words on this beautiful fall Friday. Hopefully, even if you’re in the middle of a raging winter, focusing on it will give you a glimpse of true spring:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

* * * * *

What’s the strangest gift you ever received from God?

17 Replies to “Why We’re Not Ready For God to “Provide””

  1. Every hard situation I have encountered in life. They have shown me God’s steadfastness, and how blessed I am to have the family and the friends (near and far) that I do.

  2. Strangest gift?
    I did not get the girl of my dreams, but the girl of Gods dream for me.
    I didn’t have a full grasp on the kind of wife I wanted, but He knew what I needed.
    Now, she is the girl of my dreams.

  3. Shaun, while I’m somewhat agnostic on the role of Divine Providence in our lives, I have to say that this was a beautiful picture of true faith, powerfully and evocatively written. Thank you.

    1. David, I understand where you are coming from, and I find myself there as well from time to time. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  4. My mother’s cancer. People hate it when I say that, and I do, too. They say it’s sadistic to believe in a God who would “do that” or “allow” it to happen. Believe me when I say I’ve had those moments with Him, and every day the question comes back to me and I have to decide whether I trust Him in that. But it is absolutely true; my life would be so flat and empty and unfaithful and graceless if I had never been through what we have been through as a family over the last 15 years. There’s this song by one of my favorite bands, “C-Minor” by mewithoutyou. The line goes, “open wide my door/to whatever makes me love You more/ open wide my door/ while there is still Light to run towards.” That is my life.

    1. Beautiful thoughts, Bethany. My wife Maile tells a story of how, just after we lost our business and had to move into my parents’ basement, she had this clear sense that God was saying, “Maile, this is a gift.” Her response? “Then you give pretty shitty gifts.” But as the last few years have passed, we see the beauty in it.

  5. Strangest gift? Twin boys. I like to think God’s still laughing over that one, even now, over a year into it all; not laughing in a mean way, but an “aw man, just wait til you see how good this is gonna be” sort of way. The days I’m not mad or crying or fighting what IS, I find a moment or two to laugh too. Thankful God so often takes us the roundabout way toward what we need, but may not know enough to want.

  6. The one word God keeps drumming into my mind these days is: contentment. I resist that word, but there it is. And the crazy thing is that I’ve actually turned down not one but two regular clients who offered me more work because I have this nagging notion that God is leading me into something else right now and I need to keep my hands open to receive it. I always ask Julie to pray with me, and she feels the same peace about not grabbing at everything but stepping forward and waiting for God to give us what we need, not what we want.

  7. Oh, gosh. There have been a few. I never ever wanted to be single but I now recognize it’s been for the best. I needed time to straighten a few things out about myself and my ideas about marriage and what a husband will bring to my life. I’ve had so many amazing opportunities since college, most of which wouldn’t have been possible if I were married. God has taught me so much during this time. While I’m ready for marriage if it comes my way, I see singleness as a huge blessing now.

    1. You’re a strong person, Leigh, and I’ve enjoyed following your journey. Thanks for your willingness to face life head on.

  8. This is my first time reading here, found you via Emily Wierenga (thanks, E!) and I don’t even know what to say except: “Thank the good and almight Lord that there is someone else out there ruffling through the leaves and pages and days this way!” I just wrote about my most recent difficulty though I’ve had my withdrawal slip in hand since I gave my life back to Christ (late 2007), the prodigal I am (was) and figured He was like the magic-8 ball and I would soon have my sh*t together – only days later my husband totalled his truck and I thought to myself (or probably out loud too): “What a joke! I knew You were just mad at me!” I learned later that was not true – misconceptions are hard to leave behind and learn through when the difficulties continue. Thank you for writing this post!


    1. Yes! Misconceptions are so very hard to leave behind. Which is why all of us have each other, to learn from our collected reflections and to challenge one another to new thoughts.

Comments are closed.