I’m not really sure why I act surprised when God comes through and provides for my needs when all seems lost. It’s happened time and again. Maybe it’s in my nature to doubt. I know it’s my nature to try and rely on myself first, even though I know I should go to Him first.
It happened a few years ago, when I’d come through a particularly difficult summer. Physically and emotionally I was fine. Financially… well, that was another story.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I absolutely love my job. Well, I love a lot of aspects of the job. However, working in the counseling field does not exactly equal an economic windfall. In theory, working through a full school year should have allowed me to make enough to save up and have some stability during the summer months, when there was no work. At the time, under the contract I was working, no work meant no pay.
But that ideal situation had not occurred prior to that particular summer. I had begun work as a counselor in February, only three and a half months before the end of the school year. That really did not give me enough time to save much money. Add to that the expense of moving to a new apartment in a new town. Things did not look great for our hero.
So I spent much of my summer asking questions like, “Can I afford to put gas in my car? Can I afford groceries this week? Where will money for next month’s rent come from?”
My faith, in those days, was not as strong as it had been previously or has become in the days since. I’m sure that was one of the many consequences that came with not seeking God on a consistent basis. At that point, I probably could not have even told you when the last time I attended church two Sundays in a row would have been.
I’ve never been one to worry about things. Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. But as that summer came to a close, I worried a lot.
Around this time, my mother asked if I would be willing to sing at an event that her church was having. At first I was hesitant. I did not have anything prepared. I would have needed more time to learn something if I was to play the guitar. All of my dad’s old accompaniment tapes and CDs were in storage. So many excuses.
But I had second thoughts. I decided that disappointing your mother is probably one of the “thou shalt nots” found in 2 Opinions. Since I was staying with friends who were storing my things in their attic anyway, I searched for dad’s old CDs. I found a few that I was familiar with and practiced throughout the week.
Then I hit a hard Thursday. It was what you would call a worrisome day. Money that I thought would be in my account never came and, I later found out, never would be there. I worried. I panicked.
All week, I had been practicing “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” as a possibility to sing at mom’s church. All week, I had been singing those lyrics, which explicitly tell us there is no reason to worry, yet I was not listening. The second verse says…
Let not your heart be troubled, His tender words I hear. And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear. I draw Him closer to me. From cares He sets me free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
The song draws its inspiration from Matthew 6. As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is telling the crowd not to worry.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” -Matthew 6:25-26
It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again. It’s a reminder I need even today, as I struggle with the stresses of work and life. Because my mind is selfish and prideful. I want to do things myself. I don’t want to rely on anyone for my needs. Not even God. I don’t deserve His grace. But it’s there for the taking. It’s incredibly foolish not to accept.