“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits!” (Psalm 68:19).
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
A friend prompted me to write something about how the Lord takes care of His children. And he gave me story after story of the Lord doing that in his life.
–Like the time he asked the church leadership to help him get that needy family into a house and pay the deposits, requiring an outlay of $468. When they refused, he paid the sum himself. A few days later, the bank informed him they had misfigured his mortgage insurance and refunded him in the amount of $468.
–Or the time he asked the leadership to purchase a new van for the church. He explained that he and the youth minister were racking up heavy miles on their personal vehicles and the church should do this. When they refused, God gave him a vehicle. The local power company gets rid of one of their passenger-hauling pickup trucks each year, and our friend won it. “It had 200k miles on it,” he said, “but had been meticulously maintained.” Last year, he put 20,000 miles on it in the Lord’s service.
That sort of thing. On and on.
Yes, He does take care of His own is my response to my friend. But….
God takes care of His own, but not always in the way we expected or wanted or when we wanted it. God has His own ways and purposes.
“Our God is in the Heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). If that verse is not part of your armament, it should be, because it explains so much. Or perhaps, it explains why we may not get an explanation. God is God and He keeps His own counsel. As Isaiah 55 puts it, His ways are different, bigger, and better than our ways.
“Hitherto the Lord hath been our help,” said Samuel to God’s people as he erected a stone between two cities. “We’ll call this rock ‘Ebenezer,'” he said, meaning “the stone of help,” because “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (I Samuel 7:12).
Up to this point, God has been on the job.
I love the way 2 Timothy 2:19 puts it. “The Lord knows those who are His.”
Does He ever!
I’ve told how the Lord answered my prayer a year after He took my wife of 52 years to Heaven. My son had announced he was moving his family to Mobile, nearly 3 hours away. With no family member living anywhere near, I no longer had any reason to continue living in New Orleans where we had been for 26 years. So, I began to pray, “Lord, if you have someone for me for the rest of the journey, I’m ready.” And in less than one month, He led me to Bertha, the widow of a pastor friend. Dr. Gary Fagan and I had been seminary classmates in the 1960s, but had never met each other’s families. The first week after she and I met, we knew the Lord meant us for each other. We were married 11 months later.
A prompt answer to my prayer. “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight,” we said, quoting Psalm 118:23.
But that is not to say He always comes through so quickly and so clearly.
Sometimes, the Lord takes longer to answer and sends His answers in unexpected ways.
Many of God’s children have found that a formula for His work in our midst goes like this:
God loves to start small with ordinary people, using any method He pleases, and He takes all the time He wishes. Only people of faith will still be standing by at the end to see what He has done and to behold His glory.
He still takes care of His own, but not always in the ways we expected.
Every disciple of the Lord Jesus will have his/her own story to confirm this, how we prayed and prayed and then the answer that came was completely out of left field and was so right, but the last thing we anticipated.
Like the year I was between churches. From September 1989 to September 1990, I preached a lot, sent out lots of resumes, and we sold our house and moved into an apartment. We were ready. Then, He sent us to a broken church with a congregation of hurting people. He sent us to an old city known for its wickedness. And I was not the happiest camper you’ve ever met. But God did not ask me for permission. I pastored that church in metro New Orleans for 14 years, then moved across town to direct the work of the Baptist association for another 5 years as the city recovered from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. None of that would have happened had the Lord answered my earlier prayers the way I wanted. But He knew what He was about.
He always does.
Trusting Him in all circumstances is our main responsibility.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
There is no better advice, no stronger counsel.
Ask any veteran saint. The Lord always knows best, but He doesn’t often tell us in advance what He’s about to do.
Buckle up, Christian. Turbulence at any time. That’s the word from Matthew 10:16ff.
Sometimes it’ll be great, sometimes tough. In all circumstances, He is faithful and you will be fine.
As Paul said, “I know how to abound and how to be abased. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself” (Philippians 4)
Job said, “Even though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
God does take care of His own. Always and in all circumstances.