This has been the most expensive year of our lives. Inflation, the value of the American dollar decreasing, paying the fees for the establishment of our non-profit organization, air conditioning unit dying, getting robbed of over $1,000 and a near $40,000 adoption are just some of the hands grasping for every cent of our income they can find. It seems like we have been in a pool for hours, treading water to keep our heads above the surface, seizing every pocket of air that we can take in to stay alive.
Our strength is failing. We are starting to sink.
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh” ~Jeremiah 17:5
The good and bad part of this is that we have come to realize that God is the one who has thrown us into the pool. Good part being that He has a plan to exhaust us of all our own strength so that we truly learn to trust in Him. Bad part being that if we do swim to the side of the pool and get out without His hand pulling us up, we will end up in another body of water, probably much deeper, in our future. God loves us too much to leave us as we are.
In John 6, before feeding the 5,000 men (probably around 20,000 people actually), Jesus tests His disciples, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”. He was trying to pull out of their hearts where their confidence was placed. “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get even a little.” Their strength was insufficient for the dilemma at hand. The disciples failed the test because they looked to their own resources in order to solve the problem. When the very One who created the heavens and the earth, in whom no resource is ever exhausted, the bread of life Himself, was standing before them asking the question. He wants our confidence in Him as provider.
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” ~Jeremiah 17:7-8
For those who have made a commitment to helping the poor, our trust cannot be in colored paper, our nation’s GDP or economic stability. The god of comfort and mammon must be forsaken and the Bread of Life made the aim of our confidence. We must have an unshakable reality at the core of our being that we trust in the Father’s goodness so that we may actually have something of value to give to the poor. That we could say with the apostles, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God…we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us…” ~ 1 Corinthians 1
God is looking for trees to plant by the streams of water. Fearless of heat and worry-free of drought, always bearing fruit.
God, we set our hope on you who raise the dead, create bread out of nothing and make us able to comfort those in any trouble because of your deliverance.