By Tamra Dalbey
In a slightly hidden way, this picture speaks of God’s provision.
Look closer… my husband did.
While I might have passed by unphased, something about the scene pierced his heart. It was enough to make him turn the car around and snap a pic, so he could come home and share its significance with me.
This injured deer was laying right in the path of oncoming cars. The man protecting the deer from traffic reminded my husband of our Jesus. How he put his body between us and harm. Instead of the neon vest, he put on human flesh and took up the cross. Resolve on his face as he stood in the gap for us. With compassion, he shielded us, absorbing the righteous wrath of the Father. Defeating death the accuser intended for us. Perfect Defender. Perfect Provision.
But this picture could be viewed very differently. To someone else it might just look like some guy trying to avoid an unsightly mess in the street. It took someone to perceive it with spiritual eyes to bring its hidden gospel message into focus. It got me wondering, how often am I unaware that God is trying to break through and speak; or that he just miraculously provided for me?
God is provider of ALL our needs (Phil 4:19), but not all our needs are physical. We have big needs that bear eternal weight: our “unseen” spiritual needs. Like how does he increase my faith, or strengthen my character? How does he prune away selfishness, or change me into a spiritual warrior? What are the lengths he goes to to have my heart resemble his?
These may be a little harder to pick up on. They might look something like: a man unable to hold a job who, for the first time ever, learns to depend completely on the Lord for his daily bread. Or a person struggling with panic attacks that has learned to breathe in Jesus’ presence and peace every step of their day. God’s spiritual provision often comes from unexpected places. There are challenges in my life that require death to self but yield absolute life and spiritual growth. When he teaches us total dependency on him, we have received some of the greatest provision that exists!!! Amen?
The Father wants to unveil more of his world to you and me. It’s what Jesus wanted for his disciples, but couldn’t give them until he sent the Helper. (John 16:12-13) Now that we have the Spirit, we have been unblinded. But he calls us deeper, closer. It’s not that he’s hiding from us, rather, he’s hiding for us. We get to discover him, to seek and find. And to be clued in to his many thoughts toward us— that he loves and is for us.
When I recognize all the “hidden” ways he provides, it shifts me from being blinded by my hard life circumstances to actually expecting him to move my mountains. It testifies that he is a living, moving God, able to deliver in just the right way, in every situation. It compels me to run to him first for help. To actually crave walking in his will, even if it means inconvenience to me and my plans. It’s the pattern of acknowledging what he’s provided, praising him for providing it, and then looking for him to move again. This is a breeding ground for faith. It’s how Abraham lived.
The first mention of Jehovah Jireh is in Genesis 22. It’s when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Observe Abraham’s trust before he knew God would provide a way for Isaac to live:
“Abraham said, ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’” (Genesis 22:8)
We all know how that story ends, with Isaac’s life spared at just the right time. But it was the testing that gave opportunity for Abraham to exercise his faith. Even our trials are God’s provision because they allow us a place to be taught by him. They can produce a hunger and need for God to show up like none other. Hunger for the Lord is BIG Spirit provision. There are certain things God wants to teach us that can’t be learned any other place than in the heat of opposition. Certain things forged in the fire that can’t be found in places of comfort. Most of us wouldn’t look at our trial and think: that’s God providing right there! Ha! But his ways are not our ways. He teaches us at all costs. Because his goodness is stronger than our approval or comfort. He doesn’t just want life for us— he wants for us life abundant.
So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)
Abraham didn’t name the place “the Lord provided”. He named it “the Lord will provide”. These are prophetic words, suggesting Abraham knew it wasn’t a one-time thing. He understood and believed it was God’s nature to continually provide.
I love that Abraham wasn’t stuck in a museum of what had been— he was looking forward to the next place God would take him. Sojourning onward, looking upward. He didn’t have to be told God would provide, he knew it. God had already proved his faithfulness to him over and over again.
God wants to work out that same faith in you. That when faced with impossibility, something you thought you’d never have to endure, you’d say, “Don’t know how or why I’m here, but the Lord WILL provide. I have seen him work wonders in my life before.”
God’s spiritual provision is much like a present. It’s all there, under the wrapping paper… but often we look at the pretty box and are content with that. Guys, he’s calling us to get in there! Unwrap the thing and take out what’s inside! He gives more than we think he gives. What you unbox will be living water able to satisfy your soul like nothing else.
This Christmastime, I pray we “unwrap” the hidden but great provision he has given each of us. It’s not just that he gave at Calvary, but how he continues to give: He not only provided for us the Lamb, but he provides us with our Advocate and Helper, the Holy Spirit. Grace upon grace, taking us from glory to greater glory.
Only the Spirit can give spiritual eyes. But lucky for us, he loves to share. How precious it is that he gives of himself to pour into us. Into us! Let’s not miss it. May this heightened awareness of all he has done, and will continue to do, cause us to pour back lives of praise. Oh come let us adore him!
Father, awaken in us eyes that see. Teach us to be listeners of your Spirit. That we might feel your heart, not letting your nature of goodness go unnoticed. That we would believe you are who your Word says you are: our Lord who WILL provide.