In today’s Hebrew Bible reading, the Psalm appointed for today, and the Epistle Reading (IS 25:6-10A; PS 23; EPH 1:17-18) we hear of how God provides everything we need. In fact, there are approximately 170 places in scripture where we read of God’s promises of provision. Of these verses, perhaps the most popular is today’s Epistle Reading, Paul’s words to the church at Philippi: “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19, NRSV).
Well now. What? What about the Christian poor? What about the homeless? Those who go hungry?
It’s enough to make a person crazy, isn’t it? You’re thinking, “But I need…..and God hasn’t…..” In today’s society, it’s all about consumerism, money, wealth, and getting more and more and more…
There is a belief in our culture that many people are deceived by what is called the “prosperity gospel.” It is a false teaching that in essence says, “If I am a Christian, God promises to bless me with great health, wealth, and prosperity.” This teaching is a great danger to those who believe it. What happens is people place their hope in what God gives even over and above God himself. The problem is God never promises a life of riches, comfort, and abundant prosperity, so when a person experiences suffering they feel as though God has lied to them. We have to remember that Jesus was born poor, and he died poor. During his earthly tenure, he spoke time and again about the importance of spiritual wealth and health. When he talked about material wealth, it was usually part of a cautionary tale.
And too, while prosperity seekers might always be looking for money or possessions to miraculously arrive, we should take a closer look at what God desires to provide for us. God does not want us to see Him as a heavenly source of mere material possessions. Acquiring things is not the fundamental goal of this life. God is not a genie to grant us wishes. Luke 12:15 states: 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
So, what then, exactly is it that God DOES provide? I think, maybe, perhaps, probably that what we think we need, and what God knows we need are two completely different animals. First, God provides in all the ways people and Earthly possessions can’t: through perfect love. No person knows us as intimately and requires nothing of us like God does. We have to remember, too, that in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul writes:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
So… the grace is sufficient. Hmmm. And His power is perfect in my weakness. Well that sounds promising. Faith carries you even when it’s hard to smile, hard to remain positively positive. Falling on your face doesn’t negate faith. It strengthens it when you can stand back up and say, yes, I trust you. I know you are here. I know your word is true.
God is saying, in this verse, that he has enough grace to carry us through the storms of our lives. He is assuring us that He will not let go of us. That is what His grace is and it is more than enough to meet any challenge. Once we admit that we are weak, God is there, willing and more than able to carry us through the hard times.
Even if He doesn’t provide, really He does. Even when we can’t see, He can. Even when we don’t believe, He does.