Sunday, April 23, 2017
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians
My parents are heading to Costa Rica for a ten day vacation that involves dental work. This trip is a unique blend of a genuine need, God's provision and the desires of my parents' hearts. My dad chipped his tooth and needs some pricey dental work done. My mom loves to travel and my dad has been researching alternative retirement locations for years. A trip to Costa Rica meets all these requirements. Since my parents don't speak Spanish and have never been to Central America, God provided Patricia, a church friend from Costa Rica who offered to be the bridge for my parents on their trip. She has lots and lots of family to resource in country including a cousin who is a dentist and another that will provide a place to stay at her family rate.
As my dad and I were talking about the possibilities of dental tourism- there is a whole section on TripAdvisor about it- we couldn't help but see how God had already provided all they needed for the trip. I haven't considered retiring to Costa Rica but they have. I don't have a friend from Costa Rica whose relative is a dentist but they did. In fact, they have known Patricia for years. God had started the process of providing for their needs long before Dad's tooth was chipped. Mathew 6:8 encourages all of us that God "knows what you need before you ask him." We don't have to worry because He has provided.
I have seen God's hand of provision stretch through time in my life. I love that the word provision breaks into "pro" which means "before" and "vision" which means "to see." God provides what we need because He can see what is to come before it happens.
Just as God brought my parents and Patricia to the same church years ago, He has brought what I needed into my life long before I needed it. The acknowledgments section in my women of the Bible study Embracing Change include praise to God for a group of friends that I met in college over 20 years ago. God knew that we would need each other in college and in the years to come. God perfectly ordained the assignment of our dorm rooms and gave me a group of friends that held me accountable, cried with me when my sister died, celebrated with me at my wedding and text me to this day.
One of those friends Betts Keating wrote in her engaging and heart breaking memoir about our friend Laura who moved five minutes away from her, 18 years after they were roommates in college, "I can say without a shadow of a doubt that God's timing in the gift of her friendship was perfect. I was in a place where I could receive her friendship in my life. She was in a place where she could be in my life. Thankfully both of those places were physically the same place."
Betts had also experienced God's provision in a previous move to Boston though she didn't understand it a the time. God used a new job in Boston to provide what her unborn baby Ella would need long before she was a glimmer in her daddy's eye. Ella was diagnosed with a heart defect while she was still in Betts' womb. Boston has one of the top pediatric heart centers in the country. Betts and her husband thought they were moving for a job, God could see what was to come and had provided the job so that Ella would have all that she needed to live and thrive.
God's provision can be years in the making. Last week, I wrote about our redemption story and Boaz' role as a Kinsman Redeemer in the Book of Ruth. The four chapters of Ruth compress many years of suffering and waiting to see God's provision into a story with a happy ending. Boaz had waited years for his dream of a wife and family. It seemed impossible. His mother was Rahab, a Caananite and a former prostitute so none of the people in his town wanted to let their daughters marry him. Here's what I wrote about him in Embracing Change, "though Boaz grew up to be a kind and godly man, his younger years were probably miserable. Boaz is a great encouragement to those of us who were embarrassed by our heritage or mocked because we didn't look like everyone else. We can take comfort in the thought that though people look on outward appearance, God looks on the heart. He made us and designed us with a special purpose that uses each of our unique attributes and life history for His glory." God knows what we need and what the people around us will need in the future. The very things that had kept the local parents from letting their daughters marry Boaz were God's protection and pro-vision for Ruth and him. He was single and available to marry the beautiful widow Ruth. Ruth and Boaz' son Obed was the the grandfather of King David and the ancestor of Jesus. God's Pro Vision is perfect.
If you are in a time of waiting, ask God to give you understanding so that you have vision and hope for what is to come.
If you are in need of provision- ask Him to open your eyes to what He has already provided- you may even have a trip to Costa Rica in your future.
"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8
Let me know how you have seen God's provision in your life and the lives of those around you. Can you see His provision through events and people that came into your life years ago?