But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. Its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)
Our country's fuel prices are at an all time high, currently peaking beyond $4.00 per gallon in some areas. Foreclosure rates are reaching extreme levels, forcing many to leave or lose the homes they have worked so hard to obtain. And let's not forget the escalating percentage of unemployed Americans due to bankrupt corporations, downsizing, and outsourced jobs.
When considering these economic concerns, it is no surprise that we are living in a time where many of us find it virtually impossible to keep our heads above water. There are days when I look at the stack of bills on my desk and the amount of money in my checking account and say to myself, "Okay Lord, it's all on you because by my calculations there is no way that the sum of all my debts is going to be totally paid in full."
Being a single female and an outsourced employee myself, believe me when I say that I have my days! Despite the soaring healthcare, fuel, and other cost of living increases, for some strange reason my pay hasn't managed to budge in over five years. Talk about needing a word of encouragement from the Lord. Well I needed more than a word, I needed a novel!
Even though it may seem like I have all of the odds stacked against me, God has been God, and he has been so very faithful. All of the bills get paid on time, and most of the time there is even something left to spare!
I can recall having to prepare for my first short-term mission trip. Each person had to raise about $3000 to cover all of their expenses. Needless to say, I immediately began to fret over how I was going to come up with that kind of money in addition to paying for all of the necessary vaccinations, toiletries, and adequate clothing that were needed for overseas travel to Southern Africa.
As I began to seek God's guidance concerning this situation, I became more frustrated because He was not telling me what I wanted to hear. No matter how drawn out or detailed my prayer requests became, the response that I received in returned were these three resounding words-"Focus on me".
While I was seeking to know what fund raising event I should be preparing for, or how many cars I would have to wash to raise what I needed, my God had everything already worked out, from his calling me to go on mission, to every single penny being raised so that I would be able to do so.
Because of his provision through the giving hands and hearts of others, more than enough money was raised for my first trip, as well as my second trip the following year! Glory to God, because he didn't need me to wash a single car to do it! And as dreadful as being poked by needles several times a week was for me to experience, God also provided all of the money for my vaccinations and clothing. Toiletries along with other special extras came in the form of gifts from others! God had everything already worked out from the start He only needed for my focus to remain on Him, and for my trust to remain in Him.
So you see, regardless of the state of our budget and our economy, we are not to lose heart because there is solace for God's people!
Jeremiah 17:7-8 is like a breath of fresh air for me. I had underlined and made asterisks around this Scripture in my Bible some time ago, but it has never resonated within my heart the way it does today. I have discovered that regardless of my circumstances, God is in total and complete control of everything that concerns me. All I need to do is seek Him daily for my needs, faithfully waiting with expectation for his provisions.
As it says in Proverbs 8:34-35, "Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD" (NIV).
"Its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit". Now I know that some of you may be thinking that a tree doesn't have bills to pay, or a spouse and children to care for. You are most certainly correct. But that's because its Creator provides everything that it needs to thrive.
Words can't begin to express how faithful our God is. His hand of provision is unceasing. His hand of protection is constant. Yet above all else, His love for us is unconditional. The Master compassionately reminds us that we are of great value to Him, and that He knows exactly what we need. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matt. 6:26 NIV).
He is faithful and just to supply our needs if we would only center our hearts on Him, fully placing our trust in Him. In our limited understanding, it is difficult to fathom how God could provide for us when our circumstances seem impossible. But hallelujah and glory to God that His thoughts and ways far surpass ours! In His infinite wisdom He has the ability to transform our trials into triumphs.
As His people (Ps. 100:3), our souls should rejoice in being wholly reminded of the rightful promises contained in His Word. Though some of us may not be wealthy financially, our Father does promise to supply all of our needs (Phil. 4:19) and assures us that because we are His righteous followers, He will not abandon us neither will we become beggars for what He has been faithful to supply (Ps. 37:25)!
In Scripture upon Scripture, God makes his intentions for those who walk in His ways undoubtedly clear. For all that the Lord promises His children, however, there is often also some action required on our part.
For instance, Jeremiah 17:7 reminds us that our trust and confidence are to remain in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to trust in the Lord with our whole hearts, depending not on our own understanding, acknowledging Him in all things. And Hebrews 10:35-36 proclaims that we are not to discard our confidence, but instead we are to persevere so that when we have done the will of God, we will receive what He has promised!
I have experienced some days that are a lot more trying than others, and there are moments when it is hard for me to relinquish my worries and cares into the Father's hands. Rather than entrusting my needs to Him, I find myself rationing them out between the two of us as if to say, "Okay God, I think I can handle these bills, and you should take the rest."
Again, God is in total and complete control of every single thing that concerns us. Each of the above verses has served as sound reminders of the Lord's incessant ability to meet my needs.
By now, I am sure that some of you may be wondering if there is some magic formula or special shortcut to getting a firm grasp on this trusting God thing. Unfortunately, the fact remains that there absolutely isn't. Much like all of the lessons our Father teaches us, fully and faithfully trusting Him is a process. It is a matter of studying His Word, understanding how He is speaking to us through it, praying it back to Him, and believing that He will do exactly what it says.
As trusting followers, and as His children we must remain firm in our stance. Though our situation may seem unbearable, and we may be finding it difficult to cope from day to day, we must not give up on God. The God we serve sits high and looks low. He is faithful, and come what may, He still rules and reigns. So that means from his angle of observation, He has a much better view of our circumstances than we do.
Father, regardless of what this life brings, I believe that you are the never-ending source of all that I need. From this moment forward, teach me how to relinquish all of my cares, fears, and worries over to you. I am standing firm on your Word, believing that as I trust in you with my whole heart, I will be ever flourishing like a tree planted by streams of water.
Chantelle Cudger, Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved.
Chantelle Cudger was born and raised in Atlanta, GA the sixth of eleven siblings; she holds her family close to her heart.
She attends First Baptist Atlanta where she has also served in the Pre-School Ministry for 9 yrs. She is also actively involved in both short-term missions and local outreach