I so often wish I could have God’s view.
He sees in the moment and He also sees the long game ahead.
But I am sure He knows that it is better I don’t see in that way because it’s in the not knowing that I learn to know Him better and trust Him more. And that’s what He desires for me…to know Him more deeply and intimately.
I was recently recounting a story about my dad to one of my grandsons who had never met nor known my dad because he died before this grandson was born.
My dad was a humble quiet man with a dry sense of humor and a lifelong love of learning. His family needed him to leave school before high school to run the farm with the help of his uncles. His father had died when he was only 5 and his older brother had fallen from the barn roof when my dad was 13. Those deaths left him as the only male with his mother and four older sisters.
My dad had loved learning and for the whole of his lifetime until he died at 84, he felt “less than” for not having a better formal education. It also made him determined that any child of his would have a college education.
As I was approaching the end of high school and college was just ahead, my dad looked at the dollars needed for that four-year education and could not sort out how to make his dream for me become a reality. He had only earned modest salaries despite working hard for the whole of his life. So he went to talk with a local banker he knew who had been an advisor and mentor of sorts for his thoughts about how he could possibly send me to college. He was sure the numbers didn’t add up.
The wise man at the bank listened to my dad’s words and also to his heart and said, “Roy, don’t look at the whole four years and what that total is. Just look at one quarter at a time and take that as it comes.” My dad took his counsel and each quarter the Lord provided the money to handle tuition, room and board, and books.
God saw the moment and the long game and grew my dad’s faith in the process.
Twelve years later when I was actually going to need the teaching certificates I earned in college I needed to take several additional courses to update those certificates. I was already married and we had two children. When my dad learned I would need to do extra coursework, he called and asked me the cost. Then he said he was going to pay for it because he had committed to pay for my education.
It can be so easy for any of us to want to walk by sight instead of by faith, but that is not the Lord’s design or plan for us as his children. He gives us what we need in the moment.
Yes, we are to be good stewards, but our times and seasons are in His hands. He knows what we will need when we need it whether that is money, courage, hope, healing, or something else.
I think it is why the story Corrie Ten Boom’s tells lingers in my memory. She told it to her sister Betsy when they were facing the horrors of Auschwitz after her family was discovered to be helping Jews escape the persecution of the Nazis.
Corrie reminded Betsy that God would give them what they needed. To illustrate that she reminded her sister about how they would ride the train with their father in Holland. She asked Betsy when their father would give them their tickets and Betsy said they didn’t get them until it was time to get on the train. He knew they might not hold onto them or forget them when they were needed if given in advance.
When Moses was leading his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land, they all feared starvation as they walked into the wilderness. They walked in that wilderness for 40 years and every day He provided manna until the day they entered the Promised Land. Oh, yes, there was grumbling about the manna, but He sustained them and their clothes did not wear out either.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 (ESV)
When He gives us what we need in the moment, it isn’t always what we may want but He sees the moment and the long game.
Pat Springle wrote a powerful book about trust some years ago entitled Trusting: The Issue At the Heart of Every Relationship. One of the things that echoes in my mind that he said early in the book was this:
“…only God remains 100 percent trustworthy, as well as totally outside of their (our) control.”