THE UNPREDICTABLE PROVISION OF GOD
Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the Lord. Isaiah 60:6
In the mighty expanse of God's wisdom, prayers are answered. God's children, in great need, cannot predict when and how He will move. Because our view is limited and our minds are so finite, we often struggle with His decisions. We know what it is like to love people and how much we desire to alleviate every place of pain in their lives. If we could make things perfect for them, we would. All the more reason to wrestle with God; to trust Him to give us what is best and what is good. To believe that all His decisions are driven by love requires supernatural faith.
Never were these realities on more on display than in the Christmas story. God provided supernatural clues of His lovingkindness in some instances but left us looking for it in others.
● He could have ensured a more comfortable journey to Bethlehem by working through the generosity of wealthy travelers who would feel compassion for a woman about to give birth.
● God could have supernaturally reserved a room at an inn for the comfort of Mary.
● God graciously appeared to Joseph to tell Him of Jesus' divine conception. Mary's life and honor were spared.
● God fulfilled every piece of prophetic scripture down to the time, place, and people involved.
● And there was another miraculous provision. Two years after Jesus' birth, Herod would act out in a jealous rage. God would appear to Joseph and tell him to take his family to Egypt in order to preserve Jesus' life. At the time of Jesus birth however, Joseph and Mary knew nothing of the future.
Yet, from the East, by way of a star, God brought wise men with expensive gifts. What might these gifts be used for? For all we know, they provided the income for future travel and life in a far away land. God's provision was miraculous and given way before there was a need.
The struggles, and the miracles, in the life of Jesus continue all the way to His resurrection. We see God's supply but we also see the restraining hand of God as His Son suffered many things. In this, our own faith is built.
I have seen the miraculous in my life. So have you. God showed up in unexpected places with just what I lacked. I have prayed for help over the course of 24 hour period and God granted it. I have also prayed for 24 years for something else before He answered. Can I know the reasons for why He waited? Not all of them. But when He finally did move, I can tell you that it felt like the right time. In the waiting room of prayer, waiting was not my enemy though it felt like it. God knew the benefits. My spiritual grit was increased. Scripture was explored. Faith was exercised. Patience was learned. Compassion for others was born.
The Christmas story is comforting and confirming. God found favor in Mary. She knew the miraculous. And yet like us, she suffered. God found favor in His Son. He experienced His Father's miraculous provisions and declarations of love. And yet, like us, He suffered.
We have many unanswered prayers today. God will break through with saving power and redemption for ALL of them. If not today, then one day. And when He does, we will give thanks that He does all things well. We will not doubt that He rules with wisdom, love, and power.
You don't, indiscriminately, remove all my pain. If you did, I would be a shallow narcissist. Whatever ways I languish for You, it is good. Amen
Originally published Thursday, 20 December 2018.