Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Glimpse of God's Provision in Tough Times

"For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:7b-9
I marvel how God provides for us though it is not always in the way we want or expect. Often what may seem like happenstance is God’s provision.   I am privileged to be studying the book of Ruth with Sally Meredith, the author of Ruth: The Story is in the Names.  Sally sees God’s hand in retrieving Ruth from the Land of Moab and bringing her to Bethlehem and even the field she “happened” to work in as part of God’s sovereign plan that laid the foundation for the birth of her great grandson King David and the prophesied birth of the Messiah from the tribe of Judah in Bethlehem. 

Ruth and Naomi’s journey seemed to be driven by famine, need and the loss of their husbands.   Over a thousand years later, Mary and Joseph’s  journey to Bethlehem appeared to be ordered by Caesar Augustus but there is no doubt that God in his sovereignty used Caesar’s pride, famine and widowhood  to move each of them to the place that they needed to be.  Sally writes, “You will not find the word accident in your Bible's concordance.  Go ahead, look it up. Accident is not a word penned by the Holy Spirit. From our point of view, we may experience accidents but God is never surprised by the turn of events in our lives.  Each turn has a purpose. Our responsibility is to trust him at those turns, understanding that He knows what’s best for us in the long run.”

I have recently seen how something that seemed like a horrible mistake was used by God for good. After several scary twists, my friend Lindy recently experienced a blessing that has been decades in the making. Lindy was born with a genetic kidney problem that she only discovered a short time ago. Life became a countdown to a miraculous healing or a risky transplant.  The miraculous healing with no surgery that we all prayed for didn't happen the way we hoped. Instead, the miracle has come through a series of events that give witness to the hand of God that began putting the necessary provisions in place for a kidney transplant long before she knew she even had a problem.  Many decades ago, God gave Lindy a brother that was a perfect match for her. Then God provided her husband with a job less than 25 miles from one of the top kidney transplant centers in the country. 

God orchestrated a surgery that went very well but allowed her discharge papers to have an error on them.  This error to not drink fluids was life threatening because kidneys need fluids to work. It quickly sent her back to the hospital and we wondered why God would allow this mistake after all the prayer and peace that had flooded the transplant procedure.  We soon found out that the poor discharge instructions highlighted a problem with her anti-rejection drug. After finding this, her doctors changed her to a new drug that had been approved just the year before. This anti-rejection medicine had two primary requirements-first, the donor had to be a perfect match, who God had provided when he created her brother and second, the recipient had to have had Mononucleosis.  Eleven years before the transplant, Lindy had been exposed to mono. It came at a hard time that had meant missing out on seeing her fiancé as they were planning their wedding and living in two separate countries. It was hard to understand at the time why God allowed mono to attack them yet God knew what she would need long before her kidney problem was found and long before the anti-rejection medicine had been created.

I have been blessed to see God’s hand at work in Lindy’s life and transplant.  I can see God’s hand in directing Ruth and Naomi through heart breaking times, and leading Mary and Joseph in spite of persecution and a wicked government but I must admit there are many things I still don’t understand and haven’t found the answers. I have friends with chronic illnesses that struggle everyday to glorify God in their pain, I wonder why God would allow a nine month old baby to die after such a short time, and as I look around the world I am struck by poverty and heart break.   Just as during Ruth’s time and Mary and Joseph’s times, we are in a time of rampant sin, weak leadership and heartbreak when everyone does what is right in their own eyes,  but I am still so absolutely certain that God is good, His ways are just and His pro-vision is perfect. Though I still look through a glass dimly,  I am grateful for opportunities like Lindy’s story when  I see clearly how He reveals bits of his perfect plan.  Can you see times in your life that seemed to be mistakes but were God’s provision long before you needed it?

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