When I was a child, my Dad used to read me and my younger sister bedtime stories every night. These weren’t any old stories, but amazing, real life stories that had thought-provoking, Christian morals.
I remember this one hot summer night, I was tucked in at the top of my bunk bed, trying to anticipate the story that was in store for us today… was it going to be like last night’s, where a bus speeding down a hill with failed brakes is saved by a man in a pickup truck (with a now smashed backside) after the driver prayed?
But this was something different, more intimate, a story that would change the way I look at life forever.
It began by introducing the main characters: an ordinary father (let’s call him Bob) who had a wife and two young, bright children.
The scene is set with him in a third world country, walking home from his job. They’d lived there for quite a few years after he felt that God was calling them to move there. He was no pastor, but since they had arrived he had numerous opportunities to share the gospel, and he believed this was truly where God wanted him. He had with him a coin, the value of about a week’s pay, in his pocket. This was his only money, as only yesterday his wife had to buy another wick for the lamp at home.
After walking for about half an hour, he is approached by a man.
It turns out this man has heard about God, whom Bob had told his friend about, and wanted to know more. Bob is overjoyed, and after a long conversation, the man is saved. He talks about how his child is sick and that they barely have money for food, nevermind treatment! Bob tells him that God can do anything, and asks if he could pray with him about it. As they’re praying, Bob has an overwhelming sensation that God wants him to help this man. He fiddles with the coin in his pocket. If only coins could be snapped, separated somehow… The nearest shop with change would be a two hour’s walk from where he was. He himself prays, and God gives him strength.
He arrives home that evening, and his wife is dismayed, quite angry… How could he do such a rash thing? They would have no supper tonight, and she’d barely had lunch.
Bob responds, saying, “My God will provide.”
They lay the table as usual, and take their places in the dim flicker of the new wick. “Where is the food daddy?” the kids ask, confused.
“My God will provide.”
They close their eyes and Bob prays for the food. At the “amen”, there’s a knock at the door. The wife goes to attend to it, only to discover a box on the step with no letter attached.
They open the box to find a day’s worth of food!
“But what happens after tomorrow?” This is all the wife has to say.
“My God will provide.”
And sure enough, another box appears the next day, but with no trace of the person who brought it.
“My God will provide.”
This happens for a week until Bob is paid again, and the wife has renewed faith in God’s provision.
Now, you may have your scepticisms about this story, after all, miracles like this don’t happen today…do they?
Well, let’s take a look at today’s verse:
“My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 – ESV)
That’s a promise.
It’s not even the first time the promise has come up; God’s provision for His children has it’s roots deep in the old testament, all the way to the beginning with Adam and Eve, where they had everything they needed.
“I’m pretty sure I know Christians who don’t have everything…”
Well, we find a similar situation in Genesis 22 where Abraham, in obedience to God’s command, takes his only son Isaac to the altar to be burned as a sacrifice for God. On the way, Isaac says to his father: “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham says: “My son, God will provide for himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” (ESV)
As we know, it ends with God providing a substitute to die in the place of Isaac. This was not only a test of Abraham’s obedience to God but also his faith in Him.
One thing the two stories have in common is that the protagonists don’t have a rudimentary understanding of God. They don’t just have the head knowledge that a lot of us struggle with, the understanding that God is a being out there that created everything and “protects us”, oh no.
They have an intimate relationship with Him. He is their life, their purpose. He is, to them, “my God”. My God knows exactly what I need: “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8 – ESV)
The needs talked about here are not necessarily things like a Ferrari, an expensive house, etc. God keeps in mind other factors that you may not, such as: “Will this improve your character?” Or maybe, “Will this improve your ability to share the gospel?”
You see, it’s not about us. It never was about us. It’s about God.
Everything in the Bible, everything about being a Christian, is about God.
After all, what is the meaning of life without God?
He loves us so much that He, the infinitely awesome Creator, sent his only Son to die on the cross to save us meagre beings. Our purpose is to share the meaning of this incredible event with the world (Mark 16:15), lead others to Christ, and to worship Him.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Bob. I want to be like Abraham. Because I believe that the Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. What better than to be protected by the one who created me?