For a majority of my life, I believed that God truly providing for me meant He would give me gifts and necessities. When I would feel financially stable, socially secure, or physically capable, I would then praise God for His provision. He gave me something, so He was worthy of immense praise and able to be labeled my Provider. As I write this, I am a little embarrassed to admit my thought process in relation to God’s provision, but I share this because it may be similar to the way you have wrongly approached this concept too.
Just a few weeks ago, some friends and I were reminiscing on how much had come and gone in the last year. New relationships had started, trips across the ocean had been embarked upon, and even our friendship with one another had grown immensely. As they shared some sweet memories from their 2016, I sat there and kept thinking of certain things I felt had been taken from me in the past 365 days…
I lost quite a few friends last year due to graduations and different callings. I lost (in a sense) having my best friend brother and sister in law at college with me. I lost some money due to unexpected emergencies that were more expensive than they should have been. I lost a bit of confidence in myself. I lost some relationships with guys that I thought were good for me (but weren’t in the end). I lost the roommate I was expecting to grow in friendship with. I lost a job I was intending to get not once, but twice. I came back to college for my junior year with a feeling that I was missing quite a large chunk, questioning if God was holding goodness in front of me, dangling it like a slice of meat in front of a hungry tiger.
Pretty quickly, I discovered that He was not dangling good in front of me and removing valuables just to pain me. In fact, Him removing these things was the sweetest provision ever. The other day, my Systematic Theology teacher explained how sometimes we avoid or dread exactly what gives life to us. With that being said, some of what I found being taken away made room for Life itself to take deeper root, Jesus Himself. I dreaded things being taken away, but in their loss I was able to see more clearly, True Life. As certain blessings in my life were taken away, I found that the Lord was replenishing those empty spaces. When one thing I valued was removed, He would replace it with a new understanding of Himself. Which is more valuable? Obviously, the latter. He was providing for me, by taking away.
Above my bed hangs a wooden sign which reads “For I know Who holds tomorrow.” This is true, I know my Father who holds my next day, next hour, next second. He is one who gives and takes away. But BOTH speak to His provision… This One Who holds tomorrow removes in order to replenish, because that is just who He is. He does not leave His people empty, but always empties to refill. How sweet it is to say “I am His and He is mine” to the One Who always fills while also pruning.
“You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name.”
-Matt Redman Blessed Be Your Name
words by Kylie Hultgren and photo by Hannah Jin