Sometimes the hardest thing to do is trust God’s power and provision. Take a moment and think about one of your current struggles or needs: it could be the money to pay the bills, a long-overdue promotion or pay increase, a family member in declining health, or a friend you have repeatedly warned who continues to wander down a dangerous path.
I have been in a place of deep need many times in my life. One season that stands out occurred a number of years ago when my wife and I moved to Denver seeking to start a new church. We paid for the moving expenses out of pocket, didn’t have any jobs lined up, didn’t have the money to fund the new church and didn’t have a permanent place to live…yet we firmly felt God’s leading.
Finally, four weeks after arriving in Denver, a friend of a friend who was a successful entrepreneur gave me a two-week try-out doing cold call sales. Shortly thereafter we found the perfect apartment. It felt like things were starting to look up! But only a few days later, at the end of my probationary period, my boss released me because he didn’t think I would succeed long-term as a salesman. I was shocked and hurt, but most of all I was also disappointed in God! How were we going to pay for the rent? How would God meet our needs?
One of the many things I love about the Bible is that is speaks to these kinds of situations. The Bible contains raw and honest stories about real people with all their needs and struggles. In fact in 2 Kings 4, there are four stories of four groups of people with four different needs that serve as four examples of God’s power and provision prevailing against all odds. Allow me to provide a summary of the situations: 1— There was a widow who needed money to pay overdue bills or her sons would be sold into slavery. 2—There was a wealthy couple who were barren and lacked a child.
3—During a famine, there was a collection of hungry prophets who started to eat a stew that was inadvertently poisoned. 4—There was a group of hungry people who lacked bread.
What was the outcome? God, through the prophet Elisha, miraculously provided olive oil so the widow could sell it and pay her debts. God, through Elisha, gave a son to the barren couple; later on he died then Elisha raised him from the dead. God, through Elisha cleansed the poisonous stew so the hungry prophets could eat. God, through Elisha, multiplied twenty loaves of bread to feed many hungry people. The stories illustrate that God is a God of power and provision: he gives freedom from debt; he gives new life and resurrects dead life; and he feeds hungry stomachs.
What does that mean for you? You can be rest assured, whatever your needs, God knows and God will provide. He might make you wait longer than you wanted to or even thought you could. Chances are he will not answer your prayers or meet your needs in the way you wish he would. After all, in all four stories, nothing went as planned from a human perspective, yet God came through in each situation.
That resonates with my personal experience. After I lost my sales job, we struggled for months. My wife served as a nanny while I seal-coated driveways and worked in a sports equipment store to pay the bills. Eventually I gained a solid business job working in the financial services industry. Ironically, the church plant never got off the ground. But my wife and I learned many invaluable life lessons. Most importantly, we experienced God’s power and provision repeatedly in astonishing ways.
If you are in need, don’t give up hope. Hang in there and trust in the promise found in Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”