by Tim Howington
God is Able…
I am not sure how you manage your difficult financial times but I have a tendency to check the mailbox a lot. Gone are the days of God providing manna from heaven but occasionally we have experienced a little mailbox manna. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I am a firm believer that we should do everything that we can to be responsible. But, when you get past that point what do you do? When you get to the place that God has to show up or you are sunk. Some people really have to be beat down to rock bottom before they will admit that there is a place where we depend on God for our very next breath.
I remember the Christmas where things were so tight that I wasn’t sure if we would be able to buy gifts. My family was in prayer about it and we were waiting to see what the Lord would do. I can still remember someone coming by our house and dropping off a Christmas card. When they left we opened the envelope to find almost to the penny what we needed for our Christmas budget. My son, who had been praying with us about this, immediately recognized that God had answered our prayers. As I write this I am a little embarrassed that we were in that spot. But let’s be transparent for a moment. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are in just that predicament from time to time. It may not be at Christmas, but there are times when you are looking to God to land that deal, sell that car, turn your sales around or make that bonus check materialize.
It is at these times that we find ourselves asking some tough questions: Is God able to handle my situation? Is God willing to help me in my situation?
God is able to handle your situation
“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians3:20)
Pricilla Shirer in her excellent book God is Able comments on God’s ability by saying, “When you really stop and think about it, this has always been His way. He’s always been a God of abundance. Is there any reason other than God’s ‘beyondness’ that can explain why, when He decided to create water, He just went ahead and created whole oceans? Wasn’t the intense heat and mass and splendor of a single star impressive enough all on its own? Did He really need to go and create entire galaxies, raging with billions and billions of stars, most of which no human eye will ever see?”
I don’t know how that strikes you, but in my mind’s eye I begin to travel through the known universe and can see the galaxies to my left and to my right with a never ending path of space before me and all of a sudden a $89.24 water bill doesn’t seem out the realm of possibilities. The Father knows that I have needs for the life sustaining necessities. He says that even sinful earthly fathers don’t give a snake to their child who asks for a fish and if they give good gifts to their children, how much more so does He give good gifts to His children.
The older I get the more I find myself longing to be the dependent child again. I remember the days of being blissfully unaware that I was safe and secure in my parents providence. And whether we want to admit it or not, we are not as strong as we think we are and we are very vulnerable. I think that God allows us to move down paths from time to time that are tough to remind us that in Him we live and move and have our being. And He is able to take care of us.
We must believe that He loves us and has our best interest at heart.
The backside of believing that God has the ability is that when He doesn’t seem to be moving on our behalf we feel un-important. Or at least I do. I think this is the part that is the most difficult for me. One of most insecure moments in my life occurred when I was in Junior High. If my Mother was alive she would be appalled that I tell you this story, but one way we survived was to have free lunches at the school. They managed this pretty discretely when I was in elementary school and I was not even aware that we were one of the poor kids. But in Junior High I became painfully aware.
Seems that some bright administrator felt like the best way to manage free lunches was to have the kids come by the office and pick up tickets for lunch. We would then take these tickets and give it to the cafeteria ladies on our way through the line in front of God and everyone. These tickets became a stigma and a sign that I was not like everyone else (which by the way is pretty important in Junior High). To make matters worse, as a football player I ran around with the most popular kids at the school. And as far as I could tell, I was the only one with tickets. This became unbearable. Picking up the tickets at the office was humiliating as weekly I was reminded that I was not cool. And then every day at lunch I would have to time my trip through the line so that nobody would see me. I was so embarrassed.
Why do I tell you that story? I believe that God has an unbelievable amount of resources to bring to bear on our behalf and when He doesn’t I feel like the free lunch kid again. I feel so unimportant. Unloved. Uncared for. Alone again. For me that is the challenge. Why doesn’t God move on my behalf? Even as I write this the clock says 3:11 am and I have been up for almost an hour stewing over the financial mess I am in. I have been praying and telling the Lord why I am so upset. It is not about the money I need to pay the bills. It the agony I feel because I don’t feel loved.
If I had done something wrong, I would draw some comfort in the fact that we reap what we sow and obviously my stresses were self-imposed, but in my case (this time), I really don’t think I have done anything wrong. I am just in a tough time. But am I thinking correctly? Are my feelings valid? Am I unimportant to the Lord as is evidenced by my plight? The answer is no!!! Not just no but #&!! NO. I am very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very important to Him.
How does God feel about me? Neil Anderson of Freedom in Christ Ministries has some really good resources that spell out our position in Christ. I will list just a few truth statements to give you a flavor of his great work. You can check out other resources they have at www.ficm.org .
Excerpt of Self Image Exercise about who I am in Christ by Neil Anderson
- I am Accepted… John 1:12, John 15:15, Romans 5:1
- I am Secure… Romans 8:1-2, Romans 8:28, Romans 8:31-34, Romans 8:35-39
- I am Significant… Matthew 5:13-14, John 15:1,5, John 15:16
I am accepted! I am secure! I am significant! I am important! These statements seem to be much more in line with the God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all I can ask or think and calls me His child.