Do you ever feel clueless? It’s not a feeling we’re comfortable with in our post-Enlightenment minds, if we acknowledge it at all. But I have found through many episodes of cluelessness in my life that it has been absolutely integral to my relationship with God. How so? It’s the acknowledgement of our humanity – our limitations and inability to accomplish our own will – that causes us to lean into God’s control (see last week’s blog).
Can you think of any stories of provision in the face of hopelessness, whether in your own life or in the lives of those around you? We have all become accustomed to stories of life-giving provision and the circumstances of those who are in need, and though I have many personal stories, the very first thing that came to mind was the stories of orphaned children across the globe, and specifically, some of the children from India, Russia, and Kenya whose lives have been touched by the Boaz Project.
Just imagine for a moment the number of children in orphanages without tangible hope. Imagine a single child who wakes up every day without a home. Are you imagining a little girl or boy? Think of what their days consist of, the little food and comfort available to them, the distance they feel from everyone around them because of their experiences, and for the older kids, the knowledge of what awaits them when they age out of the system.
These are hard truths for children who have not known stability, but it’s the reality for so many. However, I’ve also heard of so many stories that have ended beautifully when a child is told that they will be leaving the orphanage forever because they have been provided a home. A greater plan has been working behind the scenes, all while they were completely unaware.
Isn’t that so much like each of us at different times in our lives? How often do we struggle and we don’t see God at work? We don’t see God’s provision through our cluelessness. Sometimes we believe that He’s forgotten us or completely turned His back on us, but one day, we open our eyes to the beautiful reality that He is a God who Provides and He has come through once again when we least expected it.
Do you remember the story in 1 Samuel where the Israelites were being stomped in battle by the Philistines? The Israelites made the decision to bring the ark of the covenant to the battle grounds, hoping that God’s “presence” would help them to achieve victory when, in fact, they were even further obliterated and had the ark taken from them. To them, God’s presence had been lost! But was that the case? Absolutely not!
In so many words, the ark brought great discomfort to its captors and after having switched hands, it found its way back to the people of Israel. They celebrated as God’s presence had now made its way back into their midst! How sad a reality – that He could be taken from His chosen people so easily. But no! He continued to work in His sovereignty, even behind enemy lines.
It’s not always the case that we receive the most wonderful outcomes for our immediate needs, but He works through them all the same and guarantees us ultimate victory through the suffering and cross that He pursued on our behalf. Isn’t that a beautiful truth?
Followers of Jesus Christ know that we were once blind to His glorious light. We groped around in the dark like people without eyes (Isaiah 59:10). But then, He opened our eyes to His truth (Colossians 1:26-27). Even so, we continue to be blind, in our humanity and limited perspective, to all that God continues to do behind the scenes of our hopelessness (Isaiah 55:8-9).
We cling to Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Isn’t it beautiful that we follow a God who, through the cross, not only purchased us inexhaustible hope, but that victory is promised through His own suffering on the cross (Hebrews 12:2)? Our lives won’t be comfortable at all times (I pray it’s not, actually), but in our discomfort, desperation, and lack of hope, He is One who walks with us through the pain, His scars and all (John 16:33; Romans 8:38-39).
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff