I’ve been involved in a secret operation with God. In January, I made a commitment to God not to spend any unnecessary money on myself for the entire 2013.
I have resolved to deny myself, in order to see God’s provision first hand. I know that God provides my salvation, the air I breathe, my family’s health, my job, our home etc. But do I really rely on Him to provide my wants, needs, and desires? I am fortunate to live in the United States of America. However, I live in a culture of excess and overindulgence. Honestly, if there is something I want, I can purchase it, but where does this leave God? Missionary Otto Konning stated in The Pineapple Story, “God wants to prove Himself strong in our life. But too often we leave God out and don’t give Him a chance. We essentially leave God unemployed.”
Annually, I ask God to provide a specific verse for the year. This year God directed me not only to a specific verse but rather a Biblical Truth: God provides! This truth is powerfully depicted in the story of Abraham’s test of faith. Genesis Chapter twenty-two reveals the obedience, faith, and courage of Abraham to follow God’s request of placing his son on the altar. Isaac nervously looked around for the sacrificial animal and asked, “‘Dad, where is the lamb?” Abraham replies, God Himself will provide.’”. A few moments later, a ram is found caught in a thicket nearby. Abraham called that place Yahweh Jireh translated into English as Jehovah Jireh meaning “The Lord Will Provide!” In my covert operation, I believe that Abraham’s Jehovah Jireh, is the same Jehovah Jireh of 2013. By denying myself, I am leaving employment opportunities for God to show me He is the Lord Who Provides.
During these past eight months, I have saturated myself in the study of Daniel. In fact I have read the book of Daniel three times; once on my own, then again with a John MacArthur study guide, and finally with a 12 week in-depth Beth Moore series. With each reading of Daniel, I am reminded of Daniel’s resolve not to be defiled with the overindulgences of the current culture. Daniel’s choice to rely completely on God allowed him to walk out of the lion’s den unharmed. God proved Himself mighty in Daniel’s life and in 2013 I am asking God to do the same in my own life.
I will be honest this commitment has not been easy, but God has used this secret operation to strengthen my faith. I have seen Him provide in ways that truly only He can. Each morning before my feet hit the floor, I pray “You are the God who provides. I too will call this place “The Lord Will Provide!” When tempted to purchase something for myself, I remind myself “If God wants me to have this, then God will provide.” Let me share with you some examples.
In July, I was shopping for a new swimsuit for my daughter. Rachel pointed to an umbrella display. She suggested I purchase a new umbrella since mine was broken, “And get a pink one this time mommy.” I was tempted. I could justify the purchase as necessary since my umbrella was broken, but we have an extra (albeit ugly) umbrella at home. Standing in the accessory aisle of Target, I told my daughter, “If God wants me to have a new umbrella, He will provide.” A week later a friend handed me a birthday gift and hesitantly hoped it wasn’t a cheesy gift. She stated that for reasons she can’t explain, she felt like she was supposed to buy me this gift. Tears escaped my eyes as I opened my gift, a pink umbrella with black polka dots! Only Rachel and I knew the importance of such a gift. Jehovah Jireh in action!
While grocery shopping I paused at the reusable water bottles. Again, it was a purchase that I could justify. Instead I silently prayed, “Lord, if you want me to have a new water bottle, you will provide.” A few days later, a coworker surprised me with belated birthday gift. One of the items in the gift bag was an insulated athletic water bottle! Jehovah Jireh strikes again!
Earlier this year I was really struggling with wanting new clothes. I didn’t need new clothes, but it was difficult to go back to school shopping with the kids and not spend any money on myself. Again I prayed, “Lord I’d like some new shirts and a pair of jeans. If you want me to new clothes, you’ll provide.” Since the beginning of this secret operation, a friend cleaned out her closet and offered me three pair of Levis jeans and a few shirts. Then to my surprise another friend gifted me two beautiful shirts for my birthday. I guess the Lord wanted me to have some new clothes after-all!
During the last week of school, I shopped at a local Christian bookstore multiple times for teacher or graduation gifts. Each time I was tempted to purchase the Jesus Calling Devotional and a ceramic travel coffee mug. Earlier in the month, I had given away my copy of Jesus Calling and I had dropped and broken my favorite travel mug. Surly, God wouldn’t consider buying a book about Him unnecessary? After-all I did own the book at one time, but gave it away. Once again, I denied myself the purchase. A few days later the Kindergarten teacher, whom I volunteer for, gave me a gift card to the same Christian bookstore! Jehovah Jireh once again provided and I was able to purchase that book. Months later for my birthday a friend treated me to an afternoon at the local paint-it-yourself-pottery shop. Can you guess what she chose for me to paint? A ceramic travel coffee mug! She had no clue about my secret commitment to God. I quickly explained my Divine Espionage how “The God Who Provides” has once again provided!
Friends, I could go on and on about the very specific ways God has provided! The hinges of my heart have blown off! I can’t help but wonder about all the small blessings in life that we miss out on because we don’t rely on Him. Yes, I could have justified purchasing an umbrella, a water bottle, a coffee mug, (but not clothes) but I would have missed the opportunity for God to prove Himself faithful. This experience has richly deepened my dependence of God and my faith in Him! What I love more than the tangible items God has provided is seeing the response of those around me. Knowing my family has heard me say, “If God wants me to have this item, then He will provide.” and then seeing God provide also builds up their faith! And I hope yours too! God knows me, loves me and cares specifically about me. But I am not more special than anyone else. He feels the same way about you too!
~April Dawn White
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