Sometimes we want to see the provision in advance.
Before we step out in “faith,” we want to know we have enough: time, money, strength, ideas, training, support. We want our offerings to God and our ministry for Him to be perfect.
But in Hebrews, we’re told:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
God helps us in our time of need—not as a stockpile for our seasons of neediness.
This is a lesson I’m learning inch by inch.
For just about a whole year before it ever happened, I worried over my oldest daughter starting middle school. I ran through every possible question about the transition.
When will the bus come? How will she adjust to earlier morning hours? How do we get her to school on time without waking up all the other kids? Will she need to take showers in the morning or at night? How will her after school activities fit into the schedule?
This might be reaching levels of extreme crazy, but there it is. I’m a planner. I like to consider all the possibilities.
But I also prayed.
And that was so much more important.
Here’s what happened. On the first day of school, she got up, got ready, and went to school. She did that all year.
Just like that.
A new ministry, a schedule adjustment, an extra activity thrown in, a needy friend, a season of pouring out to others—these aren’t opportunities to freak out; they are opportunities to see God come through.
GOD GIVES US WHAT WE NEED WHEN WE NEED IT, AND NOT OFTEN BEFORE.
One of my favorite “callings” in Scripture is the moment God spoke to Jeremiah:
Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
8 “Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 1:6-8 ESV).
On the surface, It sounds like Jeremiah thought he was too young for prophetic ministry.
But then I consider context:
the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign (Jeremiah 1:2 ESV).
Jeremiah began prophesying during the reign of Josiah, who became king when he was only eight years old.
So even if Jeremiah was in his teens or early 20s when God spoke to him, he had seen God use an eight-year-old king to lead the nation of Judah in one of its greatest spiritual revivals.
“I’m too young” doesn’t seem like a good excuse.
Maybe what Jeremiah really felt was unready and unprepared.
And that’s where I totally understand Jeremiah.
Sometimes I feel unready, too.
Like the whole transition to middle school, I wanted to know all the answers in advance and have the perfect plan already in place.
When God calls you, do you ask Him to wait until you feel “ready?”
Maybe if we train a little longer, stock up a little more, save a bit, work it all out on paper, and prepare, prepare, prepare, then we can follow God’s call.
We wait until we have extra money to give.
We wait until our gifts are perfected to offer them to others.
We wait for free time before we serve.
BUT THE TIME TO SERVE GOD ISN’T WHEN WE FEEL READY; IT’S WHEN HE ASKS US TO FOLLOW.
After all, God told Jeremiah, “I am with you.”
He promises us His presence, too!
IF WE WAIT UNTIL WE’RE “READY,” UNTIL WE’RE PREPARED, UNTIL WE’RE FULLY TRAINED, UNTIL OUR GIFT AND OUR OFFERING ARE PERFECT, UNTIL WE FEEL LIKE ENOUGH, WE’LL WAIT AND WAIT AND NEVER TAKE THAT STEP OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.
We’ll be trusting in ourselves rather than relying on God to be with us and to be enough for us.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 says:
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done (TLB).
What is it you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you to do? What season are you entering? What task has He laid at your feet?
God will be enough for you. He will give you everything you need exactly when you need it. So, don’t pause until you feel ready or until you’re perfect and your gift is worthy.
Right now, right where you are, with what you have, you can follow Him where He’s calling you to go and trust Him for provision and strength for the journey.