God is summoning us to a journey we cannot fathom, because what we understand now is too small to encompass what we will know then. We have to grow into the ability to apprehend what He has for us in this life, here on this earth, in this time that has been appointed to us. Each day calls us to arise and depart — from the smallness of what we presently comprehend, from the incompletion of what we presently are — to go with Him on a journey that will bear us into what is too wonderful for our grasp now.
What eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived is what God has prepared for those who love Him. It begins here, not in the here-after . . . but it waits for us just beyond the horizon of our starved imagination.
The provision that makes this journey possible
Each of us has a rough idea of the trajectory of our own journey. We anticipate what awaits us at the next milestone . . . rarely finding, when we get there, exactly what we thought, but instead, a challenge we didn’t foresee. The hardest challenges on our journey are the places where God does His most amazing work growing us from who and what we presently are into who and what we are yet to be.
This journey is arduous, demanding great effort, testing our will to endure. It is a real journey only accomplished by real provision sustaining us. There are milestones, each one marking a challenge in which we’ve been clearly overmatched . . . but these also bring the opportunity to draw upon God’s provision — deeper, harder, stronger — than we’ve ever drawn before. The result is a fountain breaking open inside . . . a new mind welling up out of our depths replacing our anxiety with a strong steady calm in which fear and anger melt way. In that moment something else takes over, and we easily overcome what has always beaten us before.
When God is sustaining you, you know that you are walking in something from beyond yourself. You want it to never wane . . . but it eventually does . . . pressing you to go back and draw hard on His provision again . . . transforming you again.
Each time you experience this new state-of-being — clearly exceeding the natural order –it becomes more familiar, more a part of you. The thing that has distinctly overmatched you in the past doesn’t any more. Your circumstances may not have changed, but they’ve lost their power over you. You are now ready to leave that milestone of crisis turned victory, subtly transformed, a shade closer to the colors of The One who is with you.
I think of Moses, blanching at the call of God as he stood before the burning bush, feeling clearly overmatched, begging God to find someone else. And then I see his stalwart resolve before Pharoah turning a rod into a snake and the snake back into a rod again. I see the authority of God upon him — announcing the increasing distress of each plague to fall upon Egypt, until Pharaoh relents and lets the people go. I see Moses pressed to an extreme the most fearful night of his life, his people wailing in fear as the Egyptian army pressed their backs to the sea. Crying out to God, the man Moses drew deeper upon THE PROVISION than He had ever drawn before. And when he lifted his rod at God’s command, Moses was a different person, and a power clearly not his own parted the sea.
It is time we read our Bibles, not as stories from a bygone age, but as a working manual for how a human being draws upon THE PROVISION of God to conquer what comes against him. We need to be practicing in small things now to be ready for the night when our back is against the sea.
Opportunities to practice drawing upon God’s provision come to us in the thousand sub-journeys that make up our overall journey. There is your marital journey, your journey of making a living, your journey of making a life, your journey out of woundedness into wholeness, your journey as a child, your journey as a parent, your journey from powerlessness into claiming the power He’s given you, your journey from not knowing to intimately knowing God, your journey into manhood, your journey into becoming a woman of God . . . your journey into learning who you really are. There are myriad journeys — but only one ultimate provision, the same provision — sustaining us in all.
So, what is this provision?
Isn’t it grace? Or, surely, faith? No, these are the means by which provision comes . . . but they are not the provision itself.
What of the sacrifice Jesus made for you, how can the provision be anything other than the power of redemption for which He paid so great a cost? No, redemption is God’s power loosed, transforming everything it touches . . . but it is not the provision for your journey.
What about His words of life? “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) With looming certitude it would be easy to seize upon His written Word as the inestimable gift of His provision. Scripture is the means by which we anchor into the truth and know Who He Is; not one word of it will fail . . . but The written Word is not the ultimate provision for our journey.
The ultimate provision for our journey is
GOD giving us HIMSELF
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Why did God have this written into THE STORY? He wants us to see how intimate and up close His impartation is . . . cupping man’s face in His hands, breathing His own breath into Adam’s nostrils.
Jesus hanging on the cross for our sins . . . no picture speaks more clearly to tell us that the ultimate provision for our journey is God giving us Himself.
Moses looked back upon Israel’s always changing journey — beginning with Abraham’s homelessness, then down into Egypt, up out of slavery and through the wilderness — far from the constancy of a household fire and garden. But Moses concluded, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” (Psalm 90:1) God Himself became what they did not have but needed.
Again and again, David found himself outmatched by daunting circumstances, where he felt absolutely helpless. Yet, when he looked back he saw how God had trained and equipped him — and even more — what God Himself had become for him:
Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle;
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge. . .
Our Lord making Himself our ultimate provision becomes even more clear in the New Testament where Paul speaks of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)
Grace, faith, the power of redemption, our Bibles . . .these are things . . . holy, powerful, God given, God-originated, supernatural things . . .but our ultimate provision is not any thing, it is a Person. Things only become true provision for our journey, when God is actively using them as a means by which to give us Himself.
Drawing upon the provision
The time to practice drawing upon God is now.
It is simple. The Bible tells us, over and over again, in every story that we draw upon God . . . by believing God.
But all too often these are just words, “Yeah, yeah, I already know that.” Many people have a flimsy, sentimental notion of what believing God is, having yet to identify the core dynamic determining whether we will receive from God or not.
Believing God is what Eve didn’t do, when the serpent suggested that God did not have her best interest in mind, when He forbade her to eat the fruit of the tree.
It was a milestone on Eve’s journey, fraught with both danger and opportunity. God’s character, love and wisdom were being questioned . . . and Eve did not believe that:
- God is good.
- God loves me
- God possess the wisdom to know better than I what is best for me
- God’s ability to provide what I need will never fail
When the bottom falls out, when the diagnosis leaves little hope, when everything you’ve loved is slipping away, when your prayer proves futile and your child dies, when incomprehensible disaster strikes and you are helpless . . . you are clearly overmatched.
You are at a milestone on the journey, fraught with both danger and opportunity . . . you are at a place you never anticipated . . . this is where you are going to draw hard and receive transforming provision to overcome, or you are going to be overcome.
God’s provision of Himself will never fail, but our apprehension of Him does. When we fail to apprehend Him we are easily overcome . . . unable to draw on Him as our provision, because we are not believing Him.
When we come to our milestones, God’s character, love, wisdom and power are going to come into question.
- You are going to doubt His goodness.
- You are going to doubt His love.
- You are going to question His wisdom
- You are going to be afraid that His ability to provide for you will not be enough
For as long as you think this way, you will remain weak and vulnerable, filled with fear. You will be cut off from the divine intention of God giving you Himself.
At her milestone, Eve’s answer was to bite into the fruit because she doubted Him on each of those four questions.
At his milestones, Moses struggled to believe. In his prayers we can hear the subtle innuendo of “Why me, Lord?” “Do You see what I’m putting up with here, Lord?” But he knew deep down that God was there, intimately present, making Himself available. So when he was faced with incomprehensible odds, Moses dug down harder and deeper than ever before to believe
- That God is good
- That God loved him
- That God knew what He was doing
- That God was able
Believing God, the man Moses faced Pharaoh, calling down plagues, declaring God’s will, parting the sea, defeating an army and leading his people to freedom . . . crisis after crisis facing overwhelming odds.
So, what do you see? . . . a lovely bed-time story that sounds make-believe . . . or a working manual telling you how to draw upon your ultimate provision?
You are being summoned to a journey you cannot fathom, because what you understand now is too small to encompass what you will know then. You are being called to arise and depart from the incompletion of what you presently are — to believe Him — to be led into wonder beyond your present grasp.