My family and I made a decision recently that was a little bit scary. It was scary because it impacted the amount of monthly income we had gotten used to having.
Throughout this process, it’s become painfully obvious how easy it is to fall into the trap of equating life stability with financial stability. It’s as if there’s this magic number that needs to exist in our bank account that means we can stop sweating. I’ve even been tempted to believe that God will affirm our decision by somehow making that number appear in our account despite our change in professional income.
But the reality is that God’s love is so much bigger than dollar signs. He is not held back by the rules and constraints of our world. What I mean by that is—yes, if he wanted to—he could certainly make money appear out of nowhere. But he can also protect us and provide for us in ways that make money obsolete too.
This didn’t really click for me until the other day when I was reading about the Israelites in the Old Testament. They had left Egypt—where they had a somewhat stable (albeit toxic) job, food, and housing situation—to follow God’s calling. This calling ended up leading them on a 40-year journey through the wilderness before finally arriving at their promised destination.
So for 40 years they lived this uncertain, one-day-at-a-time kind of life. And it didn’t offer any type of human-regulated security. No regular paycheck. No refrigerator or deep freezer with a stockpile of ravioli and chicken for a rainy day. There were some stretches of time when they didn’t even have a fresh source of water until God provided it.
But God did provide everything they needed. This is pretty amazing, but it isn’t the mind-blowing revelation I had.
The mind-blowing revelation I had is that God also cared for them by REMOVING needs.
Twice in the book of Deuteronomy God pointed out to the Israelites that he had kept them safe by allowing their resources to last a supernatural amount of time. “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years” (8:4). “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God” (29:5,6).
- For 40 years they lived each day without needing a planner or sticky-note reminders of the day’s plans or an alarm to make sure they woke up in time for work.
- For 40 years they didn’t need a new pair of Nikes EVEN ONCE.
- For 40 years the clothes they wore EVERY DAY survived every imaginable source of stress yet didn’t need replacing. (Anyone know a clothing manufacturer who can top this? My mother-in-law has a 40-year-old shirt that looks brand-new, but she only wears it on Memorial Day.)
- For 40 years they survived without comfort food, happy hour, and retail therapy.
God said, “I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
Knowing that he is “the Lord your God” means trusting that he can and will provide in ways beyond our comprehension. It means you and I get to take a deep breath and follow his plan while excitedly watching for his who, what, where, and how. As we walk through times of uncertain journeys, we get this awesome opportunity to experience God’s goodness and power in brand-new ways. We can ask him to remove our assumptions about what we need and our assumptions about how we will receive.
With God, we have the freedom to get excited about the moments when our bank accounts look bare.