Last week I had occasion to visit with a friend who is facing some serious medical challenges. She is understandably uncertain about her future and is feeling quite overwhelmed with the circumstances of life. Those who have traveled the valley of suffering can relate. I remember feeling like I was at the bottom of a well, with no apparent means of escape. Hope is difficult to hold on to when it seems like you’ve been abandoned in the well. But God has promised that he will not abandon the believer, no matter how dire the circumstances may look. Just when we think we’ve been forgotten, deliverance arrives unexpectedly as somebody throws down a rope!
In talking with my friend, I reassured her that God promises to provide for all of our needs. He knows when we are in distress, and knows just what we need to bring us through the valley. It is his track record of faithfulness that gives us hope during times of suffering. This concept of daily provision was such an important point for my sister and me during our own times of uncertainty that we included the following passage in our book, Held by God. I hope that it will encourage you to remember that the God of the universe is watching over you today!
When our world is unstable, our hope must be placed in the one who can replace our fear with confidence. We can find courage as we see God meeting our needs day after day just as he promised he would. We found an interesting analogy in a story our brother Danny shared with us during a recent trip to Disneyland. Like the two of us, Danny loves coffee, and like our Dad, Danny prides himself on his frugalness. While we prefer the more expensive lattes from the bakery on Main Street, Danny very much enjoys the less expensive regular roast which is served in the mercantile store across the street. Imagine his surprise and joy to learn of the free refills which accompany a single coffee purchase! After buying one cup, he left the store, already savoring the free coffee he planned on enjoying later in the day. During the next few hours of rides and walking and shopping, he diligently protected the now empty cup. He carefully placed it into his baggy pants pocket to keep it clean. He made every attempt to avoid bumping the pocket to ensure that the cup would not be damaged. When it did suffer some slight crushing, he carefully pressed it back into shape. Despite his best efforts, the cup did not maintain its pristine condition. It became crushed and dirty. It dripped coffee inside his pocket and down his pant leg. Undaunted, he continued to protect the cup from all harm. Resolute and determined, Danny finally returned to the store for his free refill, and presented the battle-worn cup to the attendant. Suppressing her amusement, she clarified the program details.
“Honey, I don’t need your cup, I just need your receipt.” Being typical sisters, we laughed heartily at Danny’s retelling of the story and took every opportunity that day to tease him about his misunderstanding! The story did however remind us of a truth about human nature and how we sometimes view God’s provision. Danny’s assumption that he needed to keep his cup to get more coffee reminded us that we often treat God’s provisions in that way. We hoard what he provides, like it is the only provision he plans on giving us. His Word clearly tells us that he knows our every need and will provide for each need on a daily basis. God gives us a “new cup” every morning.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26 NIV).
Notice that he doesn’t give the birds a whole lifetime of seed all at once. Likewise, he doesn’t provide a one-time gift of everything we will ever need and then expect us to carry his provisions into next week, next month, or next year. Imagine that God knew we liked coffee, so he had an angel drive a tanker truck full of coffee onto our front lawn. It would make the morning routine a bit cumbersome if all we would ever need was sitting out in the yard.
He doles out what we need when we need it, and because of his history of faithfulness, we can depend upon him to supply our needs every day. We don’t have to be afraid that he won’t show up or worried that he will withhold what we require to get through each day. He knows what we need and is generous with his gifts. And he reiterates his promise in his Word because he doesn’t want us to be anxious or afraid that our needs will not be met.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23 NIV).
When we feel uncertain, he provides confidence. When we feel lonely, he provides friendship. When we feel afraid, he provides courage. And when we feel despair, he provides hope . . . one cup at a time.