God doesn’t always provide for us in the ways we expect, so we must learn to recognize the ways he does provide.
When you put your faith in Christ, God commissions himself to protect, provide and care for you (Phil. 4:19). God always provides for his children, though often it is not in the way we expect or hope.
The challenge is for us to see his provision and care, even when it is different than we expect. Because God is God, his ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9). But he graciously gives us insight into what he is doing in the Scriptures.
John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, but you may be aware of three of them.” Over and over again, Jesus’s disciples missed what he was doing right in front of them. They missed the point of the miracles. They missed the lessons. Which should give us hope for our own lack of clarity today. Here are four important encouragements about how God provides and cares for you.
1. God May Provide Differently Than We Expect.
The Israelites escaped captivity in Egypt only to face the challenges of the desert. One of the biggest challenges for such a large group of nomads was enough food to eat. Over and over again God provided supernaturally for his people. If God could provide for many thousands of Israelites in the middle of a desert, he can surely provide for you and your family’s needs. One of the precious testimonies of Scripture is, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (Ps. 37:25).
But even with God’s supernatural provision, the Israelites still complained and grumbled in the desert. They longed for the food they left behind in Egypt. God was literally providing bread from heaven—enough for each day—but they wanted his provision a different way. They wanted it their own way.
This lesson has spoken to me over the years. Ask God to provide for you in whatever way he deems fit. Don’t grumble against God’s supernatural, unexpected ways.
Maybe you are at a job and doing work different than what you had expected or hoped for. Don’t always wish for something different. Don’t constantly dream about being somewhere else, doing something else. Be present. Give your all to your current job, and always be thankful (1 Thess. 5:18). This doesn’t mean you can’t move towards the job of your dreams, but it might inspire the faith to stop complaining about the way God has provided for you in the current moment, and instead invest yourself fully wherever you are.
2. God Provides More of Himself.
Our greatest need is for more of God, and this is something he gladly gives us.
“Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” —Matthew 7:9–11
Scripture tells us to make the pursuit of God the primary function of our lives. Matt. 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Ps. 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
John Piper has asked, “What is the deepest root of your joy? What God gives to you? Or what God is to you?” God graciously guides us into a greater realization that our ultimate need is for more of his word, more of his ways, more of him.
3. God’s Ultimate Provision Has Already Been Given in the Gospel.
We ask God for many things, but the greatest thing we could ever receive from him has already been given. What God has given us in the gospel is light-years ahead of every other provision and care we could ever seek from him. When we trust in Christ, we have decisively secured for us every ultimately good thing from him. It’s just a matter of time.
James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Every truly good thing in our lives comes straight from the Father. The ultimate good he provided us, through whom much of the other good things come to us, is Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate treasure.
4. God Provides Finally in Eternity.
Hebrews 11 gives us two different perspectives on God’s provision and care for us. Some, by faith, came through this life victorious, while others lost their lives. Both are commended for their mighty faith.
God does not always provide and care for us in ways we might expect in this life. The Bible does not promise this. Peter, James, John and Paul gave their very lives for the gospel. They viewed the gospel as a treasure not to be lost at any cost. They suffered gladly because they had something in the gospel that had far more worth.
This life is fleeting. This life is fragile. This life is but a vapor’s breath. The next life, the age to come, is where all God’s provision and care for us will ultimately make sense and come together as a whole.
We may not receive healing in this life, but we will receive perfect healing in eternity. We may not see answers to our greatest prayers in this life, but we will receive fully in eternity. Some days God’s provision and care may seem distant, but it will be ever-present in eternity. We long for our world to stop raging and be at peace, but ultimate peace will only come in eternity.
Our hearts ache under the pressures of this life, but it is only because we were made for another world. We are sojourners and aliens on this earth. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
This article originally appeared on Thinke.org.