“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)
Have you ever witnessed first-hand the abounding favor and blessing of God being poured out into someone’s life? If not, I pray that someday you will. It is a thing to behold to actually see God’s hand moving so powerfully on behalf of one of his children.
I’m always left a bit in awe when I see it happening, not because God can’t do such things, but because it seems so rare. And yet, this IS how God loves his children at times – lavishly, abundantly, unexpectedly, and without human reason to quantify it.
The creator of all things loves us, and sometimes, this love is displayed tangibly.
The problem is, because of the human condition, what we see as abounding favor in one life can easily turn to jealousy in our own if we’re not careful. One moment we are full of praise and awe for what God has done for someone, and the next we’re bitter and resentful because it’s not happening for us. So how do we keep this from happening?
In my experience, the best way to keep our hearts in check is to share every single feeling – good, bad, and ugly with God. If we want his help to navigate these tenuous feelings, first we have to be honest they are there and we need help.
I have a friend who is currently experiencing this abundant favor of which I’ve been speaking. If you want to see a glimpse of God “doing immeasurably more than all we ask or image” (Ephesians 3:20), her life is it right now. The only way I can describe it is to say, “God is showing off” and it is awe-inspiring.
The problem arises for me because I’m still in the dark holding hands with Jesus (see previous posts for more details). It’s been 4 months since I’ve followed my Lord into the unknown and not much has happened. He is with me, and I know in time we will move, but for now, we are standing still. Some days I’m fine with where I am, but others the waiting is painful. So when I see God moving on behalf of my friend, a tension arises in my soul. I am so happy for her, but I’m also confused by God’s dealings with me. It’s like I’m begging God for crumbs and he’s driving through her life in a bakery truck tossing out bread left and right!
The only thing I know to do is talk with my Savior about all of this, so I did.
I am not an ugly crier, so I can count on 2 hands the number of times this has happened in my life. Last week, reflecting on all of this, I had an ugly cry with God during my prayer time. It went something like this…
“Lord, I don’t understand! I have been obedient and stepped into my “Jordan River” with you and nothing has happened. The waters haven’t parted, in fact, they seem to be coming up over me and pulling me under. What is going on? I feel as if I’m drowning. Help. Please keep my head above water until the water recedes.”
Nothing magical happened as I prayed, but the tension was released as I spoke honestly with my Lord about my life, fears, and confusion.
As the weeks have passed since my ugly cry prayer, some things have come to light. Reading in my favorite devotional I came across an inspiring quote by a writer I’d never heard of before, Margaret Bottome. Whenever I stumble across authors like this I Google them and order one of their books. Margaret wrote back in the late 1800’s and I only found one book of hers on Amazon, a devotional titled “Crumbs from the King’s Table.”
The book arrived two days later (gotta love Prime) and all the confusion began to dissipate. Flipping through the pages, the words began feeding my soul and bringing hope. A connection was made and chills came over me as I remembered my words… “It’s like I’m begging God for crumbs and he’s driving through her life in a bakery truck tossing out bread left and right!”
Crumbs had finally been given to me. What I heard God whisper to my heart in that moment was a truth I hope I will always hold onto. “Steph, this is what I’m giving you during this time – me. I’m enough to sustain you and the ‘crumbs’ of my word are all you need as we wait together.”
My Savior heard my cry for help and he responded. The only thing for me to do was respond as well, choosing a different perspective of all that is happening. Instead of being envious of God’s blessing to my friend, I’m choosing to see it as a reminder that he does work this way in the lives of his children. I don’t know when or even if he’ll do it for me, but I know that he does do it and that gives me cause to praise him for his goodness.
I’m also choosing to respond by letting this time of stillness with Jesus be a hopeful time as I feed on his word, getting to know him better.
A good friend tied it all together for me in a beautiful perspective saying, “Maybe God is feeding you with his crumbs because during this time of waiting he is baking your bread.”
There is something profoundly sweet thinking about the aroma of baking bread as the next beautiful opportunity God will set before me, and that in the meantime he is providing all I need, if only crumbs, to sustain me until then. This gives me cause to praise my Lord when there is not much happening, as Habakkuk did, and “be joyful in God my Savior.”
For Your Reflection…
How are you when it comes to seeing God “show off” in someone else’s life? Can you be joyful and praise God for his goodness even if it is not directed towards you? Try honestly talking to him about your feelings.