Apr 5, 2018

Toilet Paper, Soap, and Worn Jeans

When I awoke this morning, I thought of a conversation that Cathy and I had many years ago. We were experiencing a time where more money was going through the bank than was coming in.

During this trial of faith, I went in to lockdown mode, trying to cling on to all that we had. Cathy, instead, said to me; “I said to God if you need to take it all away so that we learn to trust You, then do it”.

I asked her not to pray that way just in case God took her up on her test of faith.

Well, we got through that season of growing in our faith and God provided.

And, we have gone through other tests throughout our married life and have had to trust for even greater things such as vehicles, medical bills, a house, and money to help the children pay off college loans.

If it were up to me, we would have gone the route I had planned on when I was in college: graduate, get the great job with the retirement package and then retire with plenty of money saved in the bank.

So here we are again. We are in the middle of a miracle; the place where we are in between the promise and the provision. Another season of increasing faith and trust in the provision of the Lord.

Seemingly all of our resources are drying up. I am experiencing mental and physical health issues that make it difficult for me to secure a steady source of income; and beyond that to fill the barns to over flowing so we have reserves in the bank.

When I went downstairs today, I noticed that the large box of toilet paper from Sam’s Club that had been full a month ago was half gone. On the shelf where we keep the large package of bar soap there were only two left. In the clothes basket were a pair of jeans well past their prime. All of these items would soon need to be replaced and it will take money to do so.

All of this in the past would have stirred me up to think like a pagan or an unbeliever. Instead, my mind was on seeking first the Kingdom because of what I heard when I woke this morning.

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34 MSG)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Noah lately and all that he had to endure as a part of his increasing trust and faith in the provision of the Lord.

Noah’s story was not without testing, trust, and even pain. He was in the middle of a miracle of God and he was learning to trust for provision of all things, and some days that included pain.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from the hard work of building the massive ship; all the while (subjectively) explaining to those around him that something called “rain” was coming.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from loss of friends and loved ones who died in the flood.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from the hard work of taking care of the livestock and birds for a whole year; to say nothing of the working conditions such as the stench of that ship!

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from simply being stretched in his faith as he trusted One who he couldn’t see to provide everything that he needed; including toilet paper, soap, and clothing!

Do you think trusting God means that everything will be easy? After all, if God is the One who is allowing it and we are His children, it should go well…right?

That’s not always the case. Sometimes trusting God is really hard as we learn to set down all of the programing we have been hard-wired with since we were young. Things like worrying vs letting go and seeking first the Kingdom of God. Like relying on ourselves vs trusting God for how He chooses to provide.

Yes, it may be painful and lonely and at times cause you to think that you really have missed God. But that does not necessarily mean that you are missing God.

Noah did everything just as God told him, and he still must have had some dark times of wondering if he missed God’s plan. After all, he was on the ship for over one year; during which I’m sure he had many reasons to not believe that he was going to have enough to get by physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Are you going through a time of testing right now? Trust God through it.

And, when following God gets painful, pray and ask God for the peace to follow Him no matter what and you will find real peace; not as the world gives.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So, if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” (Matthew 7:9-11 NLT)

It is time of increasing trust in the only One who can take care of us.

The Father has placed you where you are and you must trust that everything happens in His time.

Don’t fight what He is doing in your life to go back to what you know does not work; like worry and stress.

This is the time to put your worry aside and yield to those things He wants to teach you. His desire is for you to walk in His ways and stand and see His provision for ALL areas of your life…toilet paper, soap, and new jeans!

“Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “GOD has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? GOD doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath.” (Isaiah 40:27-29 MSG) 

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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