Today’s reading was Genesis 22-24. These chapters show how God provides for us, how He gives us what we need at the right time, in the right place. God knows what we need and even when we deserve it the least, He still loves us and cares for us. Isn’t that amazing?
In chapter 22, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his only son (emphasis on his ONLY son). Let’s take a second to really set that up and let it sink in:
- This is Abraham’s only child with Sarah.
- The baby they prayed for.
- The heir that Abraham so desired.
- The child that God promised.
- The one who’s supposed to kick-start the whole “many nations” thing.
- Isaac is the one who God is going to make His covenant with.
God asks Abraham to sacrifice this child as a burnt offering. God knows that this is just going to test Abraham’s faith and that Isaac won’t actually be sacrificed. On the other hand, maybe Abraham understood that his faith was being tested, but I bet he was concerned about actually sacrificing his only son (only son!). How would he have any descendants if Isaac was sacrificed? Regardless, Abraham was prepared to obey.
This is probably a difficult passage to read as a parent. I can’t even imagine if I were in this position and had to sacrifice a friend. Literally or metaphorically, it’s a difficult thing to swallow. But, once Abraham shows that he trusts God (I mean, the Bible doesn’t even mention him trying to reason with God in this passage, he just gets up and obeys what God has called him to do), He provides a ram to be the actual sacrifice.
Talk about trusting God to provide! Abraham’s faith in this passage is something I aspire to. This is the kind of faith God desires. Not that we go out and start trying to offer our friends and family as burnt offerings, but He wants the kind of faith that trusts Him at His word and obeys even when things look bleakest. The kind of faith that says “all I have is Yours, God.”
If that wasn’t enough, read through chapter 24 and see how God provides a wife for Isaac. It may not be as miraculous as providing the ram in chapter 22, but it still shows that God hears our prayers and He provides what we need when we need it. His timing is perfect.
When I think back on my own life, I think of all the ways He’s provided for me. Some things have been really small, like answering a prayer that the air conditioner in my car would work. And some things have been much bigger like providing the financial support necessary to go on a mission trip to Eleuthera. In these situations and so many more that I honestly take for granted, the message is there: God provides.
Today on Facebook I had a sweet reminder of how God provides. In my ‘memories’ there was a picture from my first trip to Eleuthera (it’s a small island in the Bahamas, if you’re wondering ‘where in the world is she talking about?’). When I think back on that trip, I remember that leading up to that trip (July 2013) several of our appliances around the house seemed to be falling apart. Our washer and dryer, the dishwasher, I think even the HVAC were all on the fritz. I remember thinking ‘how are we going to do this if we have to pay to get all this fixed? And how are we even going to raise this money in the first place because it’s a lot.’
Well, God met our needs. We raised enough money from different fundraisers and some generous donations for all four of us to go. There were a few complications on this trip with the airlines (we were delayed for hours both going and coming back home, and our some of our luggage was lost when we got there); but, everything worked out so that we were able to get several projects done around the school we were working at and to minister to some kids through a Vacation Bible School at a local church. God provided for us.
The second time I went (July 2015), I was alone but still with a group of people from our church. I struggled with the fact that I was added in at the last second when someone else couldn’t go. For a while I felt like this wasn’t my place. I had been the third or fourth person who was asked to fill that spot. I still got a lot of work done with the group, but it didn’t feel the same as the last time.
Then, my youth pastor told me one night on the trip that I was looking at it wrong. I wasn’t the ‘last resort’ to fill a spot, I was the only person who could go. And maybe that was God saying that I was there to fill a specific need. God doesn’t do things by accident. That changed my perspective, and if that was the only thing that I got out of the trip it would have been worth it.
The truth is that I am never God’s ‘second choice’ or ‘last resort.’ If God is a God who orchestrates the events of the universe intentionally, then nothing is without purpose. (I can’t understand it all, and maybe I’m not articulating it properly, but chalk it up to an imperfect person trying to wrap her head around the plans of an omniscient, perfect Creator) Each of us is unique and we are called to fill a specific need in this universe. Maybe we don’t always feel it, but God did not create you by accident. You have a specific purpose and you matter!
So, maybe you’re in a position where you feel like you have a big need that God hasn’t met yet. Keep praying because God provides.
Maybe you feel like you’re stuck in some place and you’re not sure why you’re there. Keep seeking God’s will and look at the situation from the perspective that God has a purpose for you and that nothing—not even the small things—escapes His notice.
God’s timing is perfect and maybe we don’t always get what we want, but trust that He will provide what we need when we need it. I think a lot of times even if He just meets our exact need at the right time, it is so much sweeter than if we had gotten everything we wanted. Sometimes we just have to change our perspective from a worldly view to a heavenly one to see more clearly.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
PS: I’d love to hear from those of you reading this! If you have an example of how God has provided for you in your own life, feel free to share in a comment below! Or, if you have a need that you’d like to request prayer for, you can share that as well. Praying that you all have an excellent Tuesday!