Some days I accept the life God has given me with grace. “He’s a good God,” I’ll say, and mean it.
He brought me a husband, even though I was so introverted and traveling hither and yon. He has given me children, even though my body is broken. He has provided us a home, even when we couldn’t see how it would all come together.
He has answered our prayers in such miraculous ways, so obviously, He is good.
But then, other days come.
Days when I feel like God has forgotten me, or let me down. He doesn’t do what I am expect Him to. He doesn’t show up the way I am begging Him to.
Every baby that has come close to my arms has been buried. Farming is doing so poorly and money is so tight, I’m working when it seems like all the rest of the world is resting. Our older adopted children are lashing out at us and fighting us and we are exhausted and fearful and confused at how to parent well.
Then there is the day my husband is in an accident and is unable to work for several weeks, so it’s left to me to keep the heifers in the barn fed and the wood stove burning and the bills paid and still take care of my house and my children and my relationships.
And suddenly, my heart is listing to God all the ways He needs to save me.
I don’t want to say it outright, but part of me feels like God isn’t holding up His end of the deal.
So I work in the barn late night after night. I’m pushing round bales around without the tractor because I’m too scared to run it in the barn (hello, if it breaks through the floor, what in the world would I do?) and I’m keeping up a running prayer.
And somewhere in the lists of requests and my body’s exhaustion, something breaks free. “God, you told me you’d give everything I need. You. Said. It. Right there in Philippians.“
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
“And yet, here I am, with my whole body aching and this stupid round bale not moving, and I know it’s probably little and dumb and not on the level of feeding starving children around the world but supposedly You care about all this stuff…”
Then somewhere in blabbering, His presence seems to settle. Words shared at church one morning swirl around me. I can’t even remember the details of the story, I just remember how a man was asking God for breakthrough and instead he faced suffering, and through the hardship God dealt with layers of sin that were building up in his heart.
Later the man talked about that very same verse and said, “If I need a starving, God will even give me that.”
I stood back and looked at the round bale and suddenly all my selfishness and my anger and complaining and listing demands of God seemed to knock the wind out of me. I’ve been lashing out toward my family in anger and I’ve been impatient and I’ve been whiny and I’ve been…. Ugh.
I had to unwind the round bale and carry armloads of hay to feed the heifers, and as I unwound that giant hay bale, God began unwinding all these layers of sinfulness that were fighting for control of my heart.
The truth etched itself into me. I can’t blame God for my circumstances. He didn’t do this to me, but He will use it in me. He is faithful to work at the rotten places in my heart, refining me and cleaning me up.
God can’t be manipulated. He says He will supply our needs and He will.
Even if we need a starving.
So many times have I trudged through hardship with bitterness toward God, trying to manipulate Him into doing something for me… and all the while He was giving me a wilderness, a desert, a starving for my own sake.
Are you trying to manipulate God? Are you threatening to walk away from Him because He’s not doing things your way? Are you bitter toward Him for not supplying your wants or your perceived needs?
Is He not giving you a baby? Or a marriage? Or a friend?
Is He not providing money? Or a job? Or even a ministry?
God will supply all your needs. He will.
God will give us what we need, even if it’s not what we want.
He’ll carry us to the wilderness, to a vast desert where we are forced to look at our own hearts and deal with the layers of sin or bitterness or anger.
And ultimately, we will find that He truly IS good. Not because He provides us with miraculous gifts that display His goodness, but because He really does give us every last thing we need for our souls to survive in this broken world.
Even if what we need is hardship.
So friend, God will supply your needs. And if you need a starving, He will even give you that.