Christian Living

More on Scarcity

I’ve been thinking more about scarcity this week. We ended up recording our podcast episodes on the topic in the midst of having our car’s engine die, needing to bake our MacBook (for the nth time), and finishing my first complete draft of book one in my fantasy series (and not having money for an editor). It’s been a stretch. Today is a “preach to my soul” sort of post.

It’s so easy to point to money or time as the problem. If I just had more money, I’d buy a better car or replace the engine without stressing. If I just had more time, I could get more done. If I just had more _____. What goes in your blank?

But circumstances aren’t the problem. The more I grow, the more I agree with Jon Gabriel who said, “There’s such a strong cause and effect relationship between what’s going on in the inside and how my outside is manifesting that that’s the only direction I look.” Our beliefs determine how we respond to circumstances and, over time, those choices determine the shape of our lives.

So what does it look like as a Christian to get rid of scarcity?

I think we have to start with who God is. Without that foundation, there’s no room for anything but scarcity. If I’m responsible for providing for myself, it’s scary when we don’t have money to buy necessities. If I’m responsible for providing for myself, it’s scary when there’s not enough time or money for whatever I’m worried about.

But when we start with God and His care for His children, we live in an abundant world. A world where God creates enough resources for us–whether that’s flat-out miraculous creation (just ask missionaries about that one) or provision through a job or provision through some other unexpected means.

After all, the essence of scarcity has to do with the future, with projecting the amount you have and the amount you need and getting trapped in the distance between those two.

I wonder how the disciples felt in Matthew 14:16 when there’s five thousand people and they tell Jesus to let the people go find food and Jesus tells them to feed the people. Did they freak out? Did their hearts race as they compared the amount of money they could pool together and the number of people? Not to mention the distance between them and any food. Or did they dismiss Jesus’ instructions as some kind of mystical teaching moment (a la martial arts masters: “A whole wave knocks you down, the spray just gets you wet.”)? Or maybe they realized Jesus was setting up for a miracle.

Even when they brought the five loaves and two fish, it wasn’t nearly enough. In fact, the gap between what they needed and what they had to meet that need was enormous.

But that’s the God we serve–He’s all about growing us, increasing our faith, making us into the people He’s designed us to be. He’s also the God who created the universe out of nothing. Proverbs talks about how God allows the wicked to collect money to give it to the righteous. In Psalms, there are verses about God’s abundant provision. He’s the owner of everything that exists. So when we look at our need, we need to look at what God has instead of what we have. And from that perspective, why would there ever be any need to go into scarcity? It’s as silly as a child whose loving, engaged parents are billionaires worrying about money.

Copy of blog_ Taking the easy road

Christian Living

Providence’s Delight

Do you ever have one of those days where you get sideswiped? Something comes along that you just weren’t expecting–usually on top of some other things, like migraines or financial stress or some other issue. Ironically enough, I am finishing the last half of this post on my phone because our computer died last night (hence the late posting). Please pray that we get it fixed/recovered soon!

This week I’ve been thinking about how awesome it is that God is sovereign–I finished Beth Moore’s study on Esther, which ended with providence, and started Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s study on prayer Living a Praying Life, which began with sovereignty. They dovetailed nicely 🙂 I love that nothing ever takes God by surprise. He knows every step we’ll ever take, even the ones we weren’t planning on.

He also cares. It would be one thing to have a God who knew everything and who could affect the course of reality but didn’t care and didn’t intervene. Pretty brutal! But that’s not our God–He promises that He’s working everything out for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). He infuses His redemption into every event that comes into His children’s lives.

That bears repeating: He infuses His redemption into every event that comes into His children’s lives.

I can’t tell you what a comfort that is to me! Sometimes the path is winding and we don’t see where it’s going or even how we’re going to get anywhere but that’s just from our perspective. From God’s perspective, He’s holding our hands, leading us step by step by step, through and around every obstacle (Isaiah 43:2-4). Even when things happen that we didn’t plan for, God planned for them.

I’m also amazed by how personal His providence is. I mean, it’s one thing for God to intervene on global and national levels–for example, Ephesians 1:11; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Daniel 4:35; Daniel 5:21; Psalm 115:3; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:17. It’s something entirely different for Him to intervene in one person’s life–someone who doesn’t have all that many people in my circle of influence.

That’s the kind of God we have. One who is involved in every moment of His children’s lives. There are several verses that I run to when I can’t remember that fact, but I particularly love Psalm 18. Verse 19 says that He rescued me because He delighted in me. If we look back over our lives, we’ve all been rescued from something at some point. That rescue is confirmation that God delights in us.

I delight in my children. My husband and I tell each other the silly, amazing things they do all the time. It’s just a part of our day to talk about our kids and how awesome they are. We talk about what we’ve seen them learn, how proud we are of them, how amazing they are. Like other doting parents, we probably tell far too many anecdotes to people who are less than interested. We don’t just tolerate our kids; we delight in them. There’s a work of difference between those two things!

God delights in us.

And that’s why we don’t have to freak out over the unexpected. He wants to rescue us from every little bump in the road–just like I want to rescue my kids. But I know they would be fragile, bratty kids who couldn’t survive in the real world if I did that. On the other hand, I don’t let them run wild. I teach them to look both ways when they cross the street. I let some consequences take their course so my kids feel the weight of their decisions.

Similarly, my niece is just starting to walk and it’s always fun seeing her family balance giving her freedom to learn and walking right beside her to make sure she doesn’t get hurt in the practice.

That’s our God: no matter what you’re going through, He’s right beside you, ready to rescue because you are His delight.