About a year ago…
Around this time last year, I was trying to convince my aging parents to move into an assisted living facility. My ever-stubborn father had first agreed, then changed his mind when my mother protested. After a while, he agreed again and let me take a fact-finding trip to check out a few possible places.
I was joining my husband, Dave, on his business trip and we were in eastern Pennsylvania in April. It was rainy and green and the flowers and trees were beginning to bloom. We drove many miles between his business meetings and the retirement homes we were visiting.
I was worried about my folks, but I was also struggling with my job situation. I believed that it was time for a major change and felt the Lord was directing me….somewhere. I didn’t know exactly where or what I was supposed to be pursuing. I wrestled with self-doubt and anxiety as I applied for jobs and received rejections. What did I really want to do? What was I qualified for? Who would hire a middle-aged woman who had been running a church music ministry for 20 years?
As we drove around Pennsylvania, I prayed. Please, Lord, show me what to do about my parents and my job and the uncertainty I face. Please provide what we need, I begged. As we drove, I noticed one particularly pretty tree blooming along the highway. It had purple flowers, but I didn’t know what it was. These trees seemed to appear every so often and I pointed them out to Dave.
And then I felt the Lord’s answer in my spirit: “Thank me for the job I’m going to give you.” I thought, how can I do that when I don’t know what or when it will be? How can I give thanks for something I can’t identify? But I felt the Lord continue to press me. So, I said, “Ok, Jesus, I don’t know what kind of job you’re going to give me or when that will be -I hope soon – but I’m going to thank you. Thank you for providing what I need, I know you know what is best and I will trust you, but I feel kind of silly saying this.” And somehow, I was prompted by the beautiful purple trees. Every time we passed one, I would say, “Thank you, Lord, for the job you’re going to give me.” That day we saw 30 or 40 of those trees (I still don’t know what they are called).
My husband suggested that we do that for the white blooming trees we saw as well. When we saw white trees, we would say, “Thank you Lord, for how you’re going to provide for my parents.” And I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen, either. My father’s health was declining due to a heart attack and my mother suffered from dementia. She was fiercely opposed to moving anywhere and he didn’t want to argue with her. At the time, the solution I hoped for was moving them to a care facility.
But the Lord does provide for us, and here is proof in my life.
As silly as I felt thanking the Lord for my unknown-job-to-be, it was on that trip that I received a call inviting me to a job interview. And the job I got was the Lord’s good gift to me. He provided a place for me at a Christian ministry where I’m doing meaningful work and my brain is well stretched.
And the Lord provided for my parents as well. Four months later, my dad passed into the presence of Jesus at home in his bed. My brother is now generously caring for my mom in her own home, just as she wanted. And the Lord knew how it would all happen and when. I’m so glad I thanked him ahead of time!
I believe that this is the outworking of 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not sight.” We can thank Jesus ahead of time for providing for us, because he promises that he will! And we’re told that without faith it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). He was pleased by my obedient act of faith in thanking Him in those two situations, even though I had no idea what the outcome would be.
So, in this time of quarantine, isolation, fear and economic uncertainty, what is He asking you to give thanks for in faith?
Remember his promises:
“He has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5
“This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19