As I am learning to be more thankful, daily writing down the gifts God is giving me, I am undergoing a huge paradigm shift. Whereas before I always saw myself in a place of scarcity, I now see that I am actually standing in a place of abundance.
I used to feel like I was surrounded by things that were going wrong. I would pray about all these things, feeling a great neediness, a great lack, like I was standing on a barren plain, shouting into the wind, begging for a little something to change. And the prayer would be answered, but it was never enough, because the neediness around me was so great.
Now as I thank God and identify all the things He is giving, all the ways He is working, I see myself instead standing in a fruitful place, a soul pleasing garden. I’ve done this day after day for so long that it’s becoming my reality. I see that God is good, and He is giving to us all the time.
Is this what God has been trying to get man to see through the ages?
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Gen 15:1
I love this verse. God is telling Abram that He is WITH him, and as long as He is with him, there will be no lack. In fact, God will protect Abram, take care of him, and give him great blessings.
God said it wasn’t just a reward he was providing for Abram, it was an exceedingly great reward. And although part of this reward would be that Abram would have numerous descendents, and that all nations would be blessed through him, the most exceedingly great part of the reward was that God would be with him. No matter what he did, in having God, he would have abundance at his fingertips.
This theme is carried through all of the stories of the Bible. Surely in the story of Moses and the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land, the lesson they learned was that there was always an abundance, even when there seemed to be scarcity. They thought there was no food, and God provided manna. They thought they had no water, and God made it spring up from a rock. They thought they couldn’t defeat the people of the land, and God (once they learned to trust Him) gave them the victory.
And then look at what God said to Joshua: ‘No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
See how God was with the Hebrew kings, “And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” II Kings 6:17
Could David have said it any better? “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Ps 23:5,6
There are so many ways Jesus tried to get people to see this. I’ll list only two:
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matt 7:11
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt 28:20
This weekend Ken and I were determined to keep trying to share our faith. We felt like we missed opportunities. We felt like we didn’t open our mouths. But we did go out to Walmart specifically to try and meet people. It turned out that we only talked to a couple of the employees who were helping us, and invited them to church.
It would have been easy to be discouraged, but I see so much abundance in the weekend. There were three people I followed up with who wanted to come to church. One of them made it to a sister congregation, and had a great time! We counted the cost with a young professional single mom, and she got baptized yesterday! We crashed the singles supper and there was such an excitement and energy. We went to lunch, and it was the first time the nonChristian husband of one of our sisters came out and socialized!
I could go on and on. I will continue to share my faith. I pray I can find more effective ways to do so. But it is much better to do so feeling that I am sharing from a place of abundance, than just shouting in the wind.
God is working. God is blessing. Even when things seem bleak, we are enveloped and sustained by a solid force for good. There’s always “much more” to draw on. And when we know this, we get stronger all the time.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Ps 84:5-7
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32