Here’s the funny thing about living by faith. It’s easy to do when you’re in desperate need. When you have nothing else to fall back on, you need faith. But when life is comfortable it kinda goes by the wayside.
Luckily, with a young family life is rarely comfortable. As soon as you go on maternity leave, your finances change dramatically. Here in the UK we have paid mat leave but it’s not full pay for the whole time and it can be a bit shocking for a couple used to living on two salaries. But you cope. You get baby clothes from friends with kids, you find you spend a lot less on eating out and after work drinks… and you get by. And then comes the shock of going back to work and realizing that your salary now entirely goes on childcare, and that this is going to be how it is for the rest of your life. So, in those times of long-term finance stretching, it can be easy to panic about how you’re going to provide for your family.
We’ve been there. We’ve had months where things look edgy. But God always comes through and there have been so many times where a check has turned up without warning just when we’ve needed it. He’s provided jobs in miraculous ways, including writing work I could do from home when childcare stresses were threatening to overwhelm me. Throughout the rocky days of early parenthood, it’s worth clinging to the promises of the Bible – God is a provider, He will supply all our needs. Look at the story of Elisha and the widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7, where God just keeps filling vessels with oil that the widow can go and sell. It’s a neat illustration of a woman in financial trouble, and her needs being met through faith. It might not be a good idea to try and illustrate this story using 4-year-olds and imaginary oil at the front of church – it only leads to confusion. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
It’s worth looking at the Philippians verse – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – and remembering that God supplies our needs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he supplies all our wants.
This week at church we were looking at another passage from 2 Kings – the one in Chapter 5, where Elisha’s servant Gehazi got a little greedy and suffered a bout of leprosy as a result. The take-home message was pretty clear – yes, God wants us to live in abundance, but that doesn’t mean we should be greedy about it. It was an interesting message to hear in a week where we had turned down an astounding offer on our house because we felt we should go with another buyer instead. The huge sum of money was tempting, but we resisted the pull of greed and listened to what God said, which was to be cautious about the buyer. Still, the way that God provided not one but four offers for our house, as well as a lovely new house to buy, has reminded me yet again of His goodness and provision. It may yet all go wrong, as house buying often does, but if that happens we’ll have to trust that He has another plan for us.
Do you need to remember God’s provision this week?