God is a Great Provider

I really like the story about Abraham being obedient to God to sacrifice Isaac in Gen 23.  I like it for lots of different reasons:  it shows what determined obedience looks like, it shows me Abraham’s heart, it shows me some of God’s methods, among many other things.  The culmination of the story is when Abraham is about ready to slay his son & God stops him & shows him the ram in the thicket – perfect provision in the nick of time.  Which brings me to some thoughts related to our daily living. 

There’s a difference between want, need & imminent need.  Unfornately, we often get the definitions of want & need mixed up.  Thankfully, God helps to clarify that difference from time to time 🙂 We all have needs & ultimately we need to see God as the answer to those needs.  But here’s something to consider:  a regular need is different than an imminent need.  Abraham needed a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, from the minute he set out to obey God. The further he continued on the obedience path, the greater the need for a ram became.  Nevertheless, he was committed to obey God even to the point of believing God could raise Isaac from the dead.  But Abraham’s need became critical & imminent when he had tied up Isaac & was ready to plunge a knife into him.  That is the moment when God gave Abraham the provision that he needed. 

Here’s my point:  we can not only trust God to be the provision for our needs but we can also trust in His timing.  If He’s not providing something that we feel we need at this moment, the possibility exists that He thinks we don’t need that provision at this moment.  And if this is true, then we can trust Him to provide what we need, when we really need it.  Trust would be an operative word 🙂

having some fun with failure

To me, fun and failure don’t really belong in the same sentence.  One of the only times that I’ve experienced failure and its been fun is when I bowl.  For whatever reason, whenever I bowl, I laugh my head off.  Since I don’t really have much opportunity to bowl, I’m a miserable failure with bowling & it makes me TOTALLY laugh at myself in a really healthy way.  Except for bowling, fun and failure aren’t very complementary – but here’s the catch:  they can be.

I’ve had varying degrees of failure in my life.  I’ve failed in various sports, failed in some different school work, failed in some relational contexts, failed with some financial decisions and more.  Here’s the good part of failure – its the bottom.  Furthermore, we often seem to learn more from our failures than our successes.  Success feels better than failure, but failure because of both the feelings and consequences causes us to adapt, change, grow, adjust and improve. 

Here’s the tricky part of failure:  just because you’ve experienced failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure.  The verb isn’t the same as the noun.  Sometimes, if we’ve had some catastrophic failure or a whole bunch of failures, it can be easy to transfer the action to our identity.  This is contrary to what Paul says in Romans 8:37 – that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. 

Hold your head up high when you fail.  Its an opportunity to grow and get better.  Through Jesus’ love for us, we are never failures, even when we blow it.