On Sunday I got the opportunity to be the Student Ministries elementary teacher. I really love teaching these kids about Jesus! Well, this lesson was on trusting God with your family. We specifically looked at Abraham and Sarah as they had to trust God’s plan to give them children at a very old age.
One of the sermon illustrations involved us asking God to provide water. I drank the last of my water from my water bottle, and I was “very thirsty.” We prayed that God would fill my water bottle so I could have something to drink.
When I opened my eyes, the water bottle was still empty. “Guys what happened? Why didn’t God answer my prayer?” I asked the kids.
They had some good suggestions. “You forgot to include us.” “You forgot to say amen.” “You didn’t say in Jesus’ name.” So, I changed my prayer to meet their suggestions, but guess what? God still did not fill my water bottle.
Instead, a nice man came in with a bottle of water and asked if I would like it.
Amazing! God answered our prayer, but not in the way we expected it.
Obviously, this was a sermon illustration and completely staged, but this is a perfect illustration of how we come to God in prayer.
We think we know our needs. We definitely know our wants. And we know how we think God should meet our needs. But we are not God.
In fact, we are imposing our will on God and not looking for His will to be done. Isn’t it funny how we are always trying to impose our will on God and yet, He never imposes his will on us. God will not violate our free will, and yet we think that we can do that very thing to God…
I can specifically recall a time early in my marriage that Ben and I were struggling financially. (Let me clarify, we were not smart with our funds and did not understand budgeting at this point.)
We were living paycheck to paycheck and feeling every bit of it.
Then my husband came to me and says, “Renee, I really think we need to tithe.”
WHAT!!! We don’t have enough money as is it, how is giving the first 10% away going to help?
So, I reluctantly let my husband lead. I was very skeptical. I may have even made fun of the idea by saying, “So what are we just going to magically win the lottery now?”
Well, within a week of being obedient and tithing, we saw God provide.
We got a check in the mail we were not expecting. Wow!
Ok maybe there was something to this tithing thing.
Over the course of the next year or so, I started to see God providing in ways I never thought possible. From random checks in the mail, to new job opportunities, to lower cost of fuel, to generous friends paying for our meals.
God answered our prayers, just not in the ways we thought He would.
When I was teaching on Sunday, it was all I could do to NOT laugh as we changed our prayers. But honestly, that’s what I do.
I sit there and rearrange the words, rearrange my thoughts, and put an expectation on God. Really, I should be presenting my request and watching as he provides.
Not too long after our whole tithing incident, I witness God provide for another church member.
There was a guy who was sitting near us. He randomly walked over to a lady in the back of church and handed her something. When he came back, he was almost shocked. Apparently, he felt a stir in his heart to go give that lady the $5 he had in his wallet. He was reluctant because that was supposed to be his lunch money, but he obeyed. The old lady told him she almost didn’t come to church today because she didn’t have gas money for the rest of the week. But God assured her He would provide, and He just did.
Upon hearing this, the man he was talking to said, “Hey let’s go get lunch. It’s on me.”
I sat there amazed. I just witnessed God at work through His people!
Sometimes that nudge at your heart… that feeling you just can’t shake… that may just be the Holy Spirit prompting you.
You have to learn discernment to know for sure. But for me, when this feeling pops up, I ask myself the following questions:
-Does this align with God’s will?
-Could this be supported by scripture?
-If another Christian is with me, I tell them the prompting I am having and see if they have input.
But the deciding factor is always, “Is this something God would want me to do?”
It’s an amazing feeling to know that God used you to bless another person.
We have to learn to trust God, in all areas of our lives.
We may think that we know what is best. But we must remember we are the clay; God is the potter. God will provide in His ways… in His timing.
We know Abraham and Sara got tired of waiting on God to do what He promised. We know that they devised a plan to get their family in their timing. But that was not God’s plan. And even though, they carried out their own plan, God blessed them while carrying out His plan. God’s plan showed everyone who the one true God was.
God is faithful. We can trust God with our family. We can trust God with our lives. We can trust God in all areas. He will provide. He will show up. He will be ever present. In fact, he is the alpha and omega. The God who is, and who was, and is to be.
Trust Him. Be obedient. Align your prayers with His will. Watch Him work in you and those around you.
“Some trust in Chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”