This week my backyard set the scene for a contest of character. In one corner the black and gray squirrels raced across the lawn and up the trees, busily scrounging and securing their sustenance. In the other corner were a variety of birds, not racing, scrounging, or securing. No, they simply hopped about the yard peacefully, delighted by the occasional earthworm that appeared in the grass. The warming temperatures and frequent rains floated worms of every length and thickness to the top of the soil, making feeding a breeze for these passerine creatures.
As I noticed my feathered friends, the words of Jesus immediately came to my mind: “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24)
God drew my attention to those warblers and reminded me of that Scripture because He knows me so well. He knows that, left to my own devices, my first reaction is to scurry like a squirrel rather than saunter like those serene songbirds. As I surveyed my yard and soaked in that scene of opposing approaches, I remembered a season when God had to powerfully teach me about His promises of provision.
Several years ago, I was one anxious lady. A precious loved one was making some scary life choices, and I was doing everything in my power to change his path. Did you catch that? Everything in my power. I disciplined, lectured, pled, and prayed to the point of exhaustion. My heart palpitated as if I were running a 10k every day, never to reach the finish line. The more I labored, the louder I prevailed, the further away my loved one seemed to wander—to his death, I was certain. Finally, in a fit of pure frustration, I fell to my bedroom floor one day.
“What do You want me to do?” I cried. “I am doing everything I know how and nothing is working, Lord! Tell me, and I will do it!”
And as quickly as those words left my lips, God returned His word to me:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
In that moment, I got it. God was showing me how much I was toiling for provision only He could supply. There I was, a daughter of the Most High King who promises to be my Jehoveh-Jireh—my Provider—and I was trying to save my loved one all on my own. From that point forward, I changed the tape inside my head. Instead of telling myself to try harder, I encouraged myself to trust God more.
Fast forward to springtime 2020, where familiar scenes of new life are being interrupted by reports of daily death, the result of an unprecedented pandemic. Much like the scene of the diametrically-opposed animals in my backyard, television, computer and smartphone screens also are ablaze with varying reactions to this uncertain season. Some are scurrying, scrounging, and securing at a frenetic pace. Others are walking with a measured gait, somehow solid in where they stand. I would like to think that my lesson from years ago has placed me in the latter group, that I have learned how to rest in the security of my Savior who promises to provide all my needs. My prayer is that we all would be so calm as my backyard birds. Truth is, we all can be.
In the sixth chapter of Matthew, during His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). And what exactly are “these things”? A look back to verse 31 tells us: “Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:31, 32b).
The apostle Paul punctuates the truth of God’s provision in his letter to the Philippians. He writes, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Friends, we need not panic about this pandemic. We can lift our eyes above the world’s circumstances and fix them on our Savior. He will supply our every need. We truly can rest assured in Him. Let’s hold that truth close and then pass it on. We probably have a neighbor who could use the encouragement.