In chapter ten of The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson looks at God's provision. As usual, this comes at an opportune time for me. I have sort of fallen off the wagon when it comes to reading and sharing my thoughts here. Part of that can most certainly be attributed to the fact that I have been struggling over the last several months. Nevertheless, it seems that God, in His infinite and perfect wisdom, has saved this chapter for me to read in the midst of my struggle, when I am at a point where I am not sure how much longer I can hang on.
Toward the beginning of this chapter, Batterson explores the manna miracle from the Old Tetsament, looking not only at the miracle itself, but also the instructions that came along with it. God provides food for the Israelites, but He then instructs them to only take enough for one day. He forbids anyone to take more than what he or she needs for one day. And those who disobey and take more than what they need end up with a rotten and stinking mess left over the next day.
Doesn't it show initiative and extra preparation to store up?
Batterson asserts, and I totally agree, that, "The manna miracle was a daily reminder of their daily dependence on God. Gd wanted to cultivate their daily dependence by providing for their needs on a daily basis."
It is an interesting way to look at the situation. Being able to gather a week's or a months's worth of manna might cause the Israelites to lose their dependence on God; they might begin to rely again on their own preparations. Batterson says it well.
"We want a one week or one month or one year supply of God's provision, but God wants us to drop to our knees everyday in raw dependence on Him. AND GOD KNOWS THAT IF HE PROVIDED TOO MUCH TOO SOON, WE'D LOSE OUR SPIRITUAL HUNGER." (Emphasis added)
You want to talk about giving a girl a swift kick in the chest. It is no secret that I am walking through the most challenging thing I have ever endured. If you are a regular reader here, then you know that one of the greatest desires of my heart is to be a mother. And I have cried out, literally cried out, to God I do not know how many times asking Him to deliver me from this. And when that has not worked, I have begged with gut wrenching sobs for Him to at least reveal to me what He is doing.
And I have not received an answer. Years of praying to be a mother and no discernible end in sight. I will be honest with you here. There have been times when this has made me so angry, so resentful. I couldn't believe that God would withhold this from me.
I have asked Him why. And now after all this time, I think I am starting to piece together the answer.
"One of our fundamental misunderstandings of spiritual maturity is thinking that it should result in self-sufficiency. It's the exact opposite. The goal isn't independence; it's codependence on God."
Can I get an Amen?
You see, this has been, without any doubt, the most difficult and heartbreaking thing I have ever walked through. But I have never been so keenly aware of God. So sure that His hand is in absolutely everything. So convinced that there is nothing beyond the scope of His control, nothing His hand does not reach. So now when I wonder why this is taking so long, why I have to hurt so much, why my children will have to spend the first months of their lives without me, I know that it is because these things force me to my knees in prayer, force me to recognize that God alone is sovereign and worthy of al glory and honor and praise, that He alone knows what the future holds and that that same future is completely controlled by Him. And above all that, I know that He is good.
OK. I am going to stop here with chapter ten. Believe it or not, we are just a few pages into the chapter, and if I do this all in one post, this will be the longest blog post in the history of mankind. So I am going to break it up. I plan to finish up this chapter tomorrow, maybe even later today. Right now, it is only 6:26 in the morning, so we still have plenty of time left in the day.
For now, I want to leave you with some questions.
1. What is an area in your life where you have been praying for God's provision?
2. Do you feel like He is answering in the way you want or expect? If not, why do you think that is? What could His purpose be?
P.S. Please excuse any typos in this one! It was written on a bumpy flight during the 6 A.M. hour.