God is so very good! If you don't believe and trust that statement you have not had much experience with God. We call him Father because just like a parent he has our best interest at heart all the time and just like a parent he sees what we need as a greater priority than those things that we want. As children we rarely have the big picture in mind because it is so big we can't conceive it, so some of the things he allows into our lives are a puzzle to us but that is where the issue of trust comes in. We need to claim and accept this fact:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Our temptation is to not trust God and his promises. The first thing we run to in an emergency or desperate situation is our ability to get out of it. Prayer is often a second thought instead of the first and usually the last thing we do after we have tried to do everything ourselves. But our Father is more than this, as is the Son Jesus Christ and we are even possessed by his power through the Holy Spirit in us. He cares even about the smallest things in our lives.
Some of you know that my bicycle, which is my means of transportation, busted beyond repair this week. What you may not know is that in less than 24 hours it was replaced by a brand new bicycle. A teenager in my church and his mom felt led to provide me with a new bicycle. It was a widow's mite situation which I know the Lord will use as a seed to pour back into them his countless blessings. I asked the Lord to meet my need and went on with serving him and he in turn touched two hearts to respond. Amazing.
As well this week, I needed a van to take my children to their mom's home for a few weeks. She lives six hours away which makes it a bit hard to cycle to get there. We prayed. We put our need out there. We prayed some more. For a moment we had a van and then we didn't. Then we had another van and then we didn't. Finally, two days before we had to go, the Lord did something and now I have a van sitting in my driveway, ready for our trip tomorrow. A very nice van too. This too came as a result of a Christian brother's heart and his sacrifice for us.
Some would look at this and say that God hasn't provided anything, it is simply people responding to a need. But these people do not understand the Church and God's purpose through the Church. God provides in many different ways but his favorite seems to be to work through the Body of Christ. Jesus had prayed:
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23)
The desire has always been that the members of the Body, the Church, would be in complete unity. In explaining how the Body functions with members of such diversity the Apostle Paul explained:
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:26)
This is an important point and one which Paul repeated himself:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15)
To make it super clear the Spirit also tells us through Paul:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
This is the heart of compassion of our God lived out through the Church, his people. Every act of kindness, every prayer I pray, is not mine but prompted by the Holy Spirit in me. Left to my own devices I would sink to the lowest depths of this cesspool we call humanity. There is no good thing in me without Jesus Christ. So I do not give credit to myself for any kindness and compassion I show. I will not claim to be a good man. Instead I gladly give the credit and glory to Jesus in me. In turn I believe every good thing that is done for me also comes from that same Lord:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
I praise the Lord for the hearts of his children who have blessed me and my family this week by their sacrificial giving. I love them dearly for it. But I must give the glory to God and I know they would want it that way as well, because such things come from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So I thank the Lord for his love and my friends for their obedience. This happens all the time in our church because we trust God. He gave us his promises and we believe in him for their fulfillment in our lives. He said it and we believe it. This allows his peace and his joy to permeate our daily living. You too can possess this peace and joy but it must start with trusting Jesus.