"My family was poor. We were actually homeless for a time. My parents were always fighting. My younger sibling had no idea what was going on. It was scary. But you know what? It was and still is the closest I've ever been to God."
One of the teens on a retreat I was leading shared this with me, and his story continues to resound in my heart. The words "It was and still is the closest I've ever been to God" strike in me not only curiosity but a deep admiration of the strength of his faith and of the suffering he experienced at such a young age. Truly, he knew what it meant to depend solely on God.
In Luke 12:28-29, it is written, "If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore." This teen literally had no idea when his next meal would be, where his family would sleep each night, and how he would make it to school the next day. He, however, knew that God was with him and he trusted that He would provide for all of his needs. For those with faith, it is not surprising when we hear that God did, in fact, provide for this teen and his family. He shares this story at a time when his life is full of blessings. He and his family are no longer homeless, and the inner joy he possesses is noticeable a mile away.
Trust in God. He will provide for your every need.
This is easier said than done, am I right? How can we be more like this teen and learn to depend on God completely? The following are a few suggestions to get you started:
1) Focus on how God is providing for you
Our current negative circumstances can often cloud us from noticing the blessings that we currently have. A divorced woman may have a hard time recognizing how her heart is slowly being healed. A cancer patient may not be aware of how she is continually being taken care of by her family who love her tremendously. A man who just lost his job may forget that this may be an opportunity to explore a new career that he may be more suited for. Whatever our circumstances are, it is important to focus on how God is providing for us at this very moment, because if we choose to do otherwise, we may miss out on the various ways God is leading us out of our predicaments.
2) Reflect on how God has provided for you in the past
When you are having difficulty trusting in God, reflect on how He has answered your prayers in the past. Even better, keep a journal. Every time God has answered a prayer, write it down! It is so easy for us to forget God's great love for us when times are hard, is it not? We start believing the lies of the enemy telling us that God has forgotten us, that He has abandoned us, or worse, that we are not worthy of His love. This is why reflecting on how God has provided for us in the past is so important- it reminds us that He does hear us, that He has not forgotten us, that His plan is better than ours, and that He loves us unconditionally! This reflection also reminds us to have patience- God will answer our prayers, but He is asking us to wait until He "parts the Red Sea", so to speak. In other words, He may be asking you to wait until He has prepared a path for you to follow.
3) Pray immediately when you feel yourself about to fall into the worry-pool
Oh yes, the worry-pool. You know what I'm talking about. You lay your head on the pillow and just as you are about to fall asleep, you start to think, "First thing tomorrow, I have to make sure to turn in the report my supervisor keeps asking about....But when will I get the time to do it? Man, I hate this job...but I have to pay the bills...rent is next month! I think I may be short a few hundred. What if I am short? What am I going to do then?! I need to...." You get the point. One worry often leads to another and then another and still another. When you sense you are about to slip into the dark waters of the worry-pool, stop what you are doing and pray. Ask God to guide you. Ask Him to help you see what you need to prioritize and what you need to let go of. Tell him your worries, and He will provide.
Do you believe that God will provide for you? What are you worried about at this very moment? Offer these worries to God. He is listening!
May you be a peace knowing that God hears your every prayer and is already preparing a path for you to follow!