I'm not sure why I still struggle so with doubts about God's goodness and willingness to take care of me. More than five years ago I really laid it on the line with Him and told Him if He wanted me to homeschool He would have to provide for me to do it. In that time, we have experienced times when things seemed very tight, and times when we have had abundance. Now we are facing a time when things are very tight financially, and I have found myself having to work hard not to worry and be afraid. It has been so tempting to "do what makes sense" and to begin applying for jobs.
It is a good place to be, this place of doubt. It forces me to my knees in prayer more, a discipline I am not to faithful at practicing when I have enough. It forces me to recognize that I can't really do anything without God. But it is still a scary place . . . and I'm not sure why. I began really praying last month that God would show me what to do. Do I look for work? Do I give up homeschooling? Again and again He seemed to say so clearly from His Word, "Wait on Me. Let Me provide. Do the word I've already given you to do." But as the bills come in the mail and I see all the things around the house that need fixing or replacement, as the boys need more and more dental work, and as the teen years begin to make demands on the bank account . . . surely waiting is not what He is really saying. Is it?
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Mal 3:10 (NIV)
Again I hear God say,"Give! Then trust me." What do I have to give? This month I have been allowed to give childcare to a friend who was sick, a gift to a needy child (Stephen and I did this together), work to a friend who had a short-term need in her business, a listening ear here, counsel there . . . and so much more. Maybe I don't have an abundance of money or stuff to give from (although in studying geography with the boys, we have a lot of that too), but I am determined that whatever God asks of me, I will give it.
Admittedly some of my worry and anxiety has been caused by my own foolish sin. I have spent a little foolishly this month, but some of my expenses have also been sacrifices for others. So like the widow that Elijah bid help from, I give of what I have left, trusting that the God who provided an unending supply of flour and oil for her can provide for me also, maybe even in ways I don't expect . . . so that I'll be reminded that He is behind it, not me.
I am working a wedding for a friend this weekend. I gave her a great deal for the job. She's a very dear friend and I would have done it for free. Tonight she told me that she is paying me even more than I asked. And once again, on the way home from her rehearsal, I found myself asking God, "Why do I doubt You?"
He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
Isaiah 40:11 (NLT)
This is the kind of God I worship and serve. He has not changed in all of eternity, and although I don't deserve His compassion, I know that I will get it anyway. Isn't it exciting to think of the story I will have to tell about Him in the coming months and years?