Sometimes God’s miraculous provision… is rice.
The world crashes in. It’s that moment when we’re at the very end of every resource.
Most recently for me, it was this very real situation: no gas in the tank with meetings all over the city, no food left in the house, no dogfood for the pup, no toilet paper, one cup of laundry detergent, and no money. And the best part – 3 full days until the next paycheck, most of which was already allotted to paying rent.
Perhaps your prayer for a miracle is very similar to mine. Maybe it’s not a dog you’re worried about feeding, but children. Maybe your prayer is for physical healing, or reconciliation, or freedom from addiction, or for a spouse, or for forgiveness. We’ve all come to the end in some way or another.
Put yourself there. Go to the place in your past or present when you’re sitting on the edge of your reality saying to God, “What now?! You told me you’d be here for me! Show up! What do you want from me?!”
I’d say I’m giving myself away, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has been here. Is it a great idea to stomp your feet at God? Probably not. But let’s be honest, He already knows what’s going on in my heart, so I don’t see it productive to pretend.
God’s not afraid of our little human emotions. He knows them.
He knows the tornado He’ll have to cause to get us to stop believing we have any control. He knows how many roadblocks it will take to get us to stop living 1,000 miles per hour and look up. He knows how long He has to hold back resources until He breaks our endless pride and self-efficacy. He knows how long He has to keep us lonely until we start fellowshipping with Him.
Os Hillman made this observation: God allowed Joseph to get betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, get accused of rape, and thrown in jail for 13 years because He couldn’t have a proud and senseless 30-year old running a country. God had huge plans for Joseph but He couldn’t trust Him with any of it until He broke him of himself – his ego, his pride, his reliance on himself.
Can you see the intentionality of God’s teaching and preparing you through your lack of resources or overflow of hardship?
Here’s what’s real: my three days came and went. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for money to fall out of the sky, I prayed for a friend to offer to buy me dinner, I prayed for a miracle gas tank that somehow didn’t run out of gas. You know what I got? Rice and cancelled meetings. I found a bag of rice that fed my dog and me for nearly 48 hours, and I had a few meetings cancel which happened to be the furthest away.
Was it a miracle? I guess. Was it answer to prayer? Yes. Was it what I wanted? No.
My point is that God doesn’t work like human heads and hearts. When His moves don’t make sense it’s because divine shouldn’t operate like humanity does – it’s part of what separates us. I had a lot of great ideas for how those prayers could be answered. He had a better one. I’m not saying rice was better than my idea -I can think of a few tastier things to eat for a few days – but He had a bigger answer to my prayer with the rice. He was taming my will, breaking my pride, reminding me of the actual poverty I’ve seen in the world. He was making me more grateful. He was changing my eyes. He was telling me again, “I’ll provide. Trust me. Stop being so anxious. You say you believe in Me, so believe, beloved. I know you can’t see it, but I’m answering. Look before you. Do you have what you need?”
All that with a bag of plain, brown rice.
Does it always make sense? No, not at all. Not even close. But He never said it would. He said He would be there. And He has, and He does, and He won’t stop. Look around. Find your rice. I hope it tastes better than mine.
– N. Ford
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