Grace and Provision (and the Provision of Grace)

Four snow days in a row this past week unearthed some interesting things in my heart, particularly in what I believe about God’s provision (an area that I feel like He has been highlighting for me lately).

The first snow day was so relaxing. I spent the day with Derek, dreaming about the future, walking through the neighborhood, and just enjoying our time together. The second day was still a welcome time of rest and reflection. By the third day, though, I felt a little bored and antsy to return to work and a more normal schedule.

And on the fourth day I started to do some math (you know, the kind where I multiply the days I’ve worked by my rate of pay, then subtract rent, utilities, groceries, bus fare, and phone bill, and then freak out a bit). The main problem this month is that, because of having two weeks off for Christmas and these unexpected snow day, my two pay checks this month will only amount to seven days of work (significantly less than usual).

So I took myself and my growing ball of anxiety up to our room and sat down with the Lord. I felt like God really wanted to use this time to teach me about His provision. Almost as soon as I sat down to pray, though, a raw question burst forth from my heart:

“But am I doing enough for God to provide for us? Am I doing enough ‘kingdom work’ for God to pay our bills?”

The question hung there, quivering with insecurity and inadequateness. As if God were my calculating employer, tallying up hours and rationing funds accordingly, instead of my Abba who tenderly cares for me as His daughter. Because what child earns her father’s provision? Since when does a child question whether they’ve been good enough or productive enough for their father to feed them, clothe them, provide for their needs? (unless, of course, they come from a dysfunctional home – but there is nothing dysfunctional about the kingdom of heaven). Yet God calls us His children and heirs (Romans 8:17) and even His friends (John 15:15).

It surprised me, actually, to find that question in my heart, because of everything God has worked in my heart this past year in teaching me how I am beloved in Him apart from what I do. Clearly there are still layers of self-sufficiency that God wants to peel back to draw me into deeper trust in Him and His grace.

Appropriately enough, yesterday morning at the Boiler Room Adam spoke about God’s incredible, extravagant grace and how everything we have is a gift and cannot be earned. His message struck home, right to the core of this wrestling over God’s provision.

Yes, I need God’s provision, but more than that – so much more than that – I need His grace. I need His grace in my weakness, in my anxiety and lack faith, in my ungratefulness and my pale love for the One who, full of grace, poured out His life for me. I need his grace to free me from my self-imposed standards of worth, to break this urge to try to earn whatever I need (and the false belief that I can possibly earn it). I need His grace to change my heart and transform my life, to release me to the freedom of God’s love. Grace that I can’t possibly earn or deserve. I need God’s grace to convince me of these truths and root them deeply into my life.

Last night we gathered with some friends to pray (these same friends had prayed over us at collective on Thursday). One of them shared that he was struggling with provision and we began to share stories of how God has provided for us, testifying to God’s faithfulness over and over. Initially we planned to share one story each, but the more we shared, the more we remembered about how God had provided for us, sometimes just enough and sometimes extravagantly, sometimes in the necessities and sometimes in little luxuries to show His attentive love. I feel encouraged by these testimonies and by remembering God’s faithfulness in my own life thus far.

So stay tuned. I fully expect to have stories to share of God’s provision in the near future.

“Grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is a gift.” – Brennan Manning

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  1. Wendy

     /  January 17, 2011

    wow this was so in answer to many of the talks I have had with God over all the expenses I need to come up with for home repairs for everything that is breaking lately and also the constant worry that since my employer is letting people go each month because of the budget, one of these days it could be my turn.

    thanks it gave me much to think on and to calm down with and thank Our Father for his continuing forever protection!

  2. such a familiar question. it’s haunted me so many times before, too. i’m beginning to sense that it reeks of the enemy. i love the way you worked through this with your friends: by remembering and telling of God’s past provision. after a while, it becomes so normal, you almost stop noticing.
    like the unexplained check i got in the mail from a past employer this weekend in an amount that will help cover the cost of our recent furnace repairs. i have no idea why i got this check. but bless God! He provides, all the time.
    right now, the staff of the boiler room are facing the very real possibility of not getting paychecks in the upcoming pay period(s). does that make me nervous? yes! but in a way, i’m equally excited to see how He’ll provide in spite of that.

  1. When a Fish Sandwhich Girl Meets the Abundance of the Father | The Lord's Housekeeper

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