Six years ago, I wrote this blog a week after I got laid-off from work.
I wrote this blog thinking that regardless of my situation, “God will provide?” That means, I don’t have to worry about anything, because I know - God will provide!
On my blog entitled “Can Faith and Money Mix?”, I told you my “old” interpretation of the Gospel reading from Matthew 4:3-4. On that verse, I thought that, “we can have bread by holding on to every word that comes from God. That means – everything is going to be fine even if we do not work or we do not save money for our future. As long as we read the bible, go to the church, sing worship songs and follow the Ten Commandments – God will provide!”
This is almost similar to what I’m doing today.
I said almost because I still read the bible, I still go to the church, I still sing worship songs and still follow the commandments. The only difference is – I’ve learned to manage my time in work, life and spirituality and I now save a lot so I can do much more of the same things I’m doing when I retire.
Let me share you a bit of what I do in the Philippines before we migrated to Canada. I own my consulting business in the field of Information Technology while my wife is a realtor and at the same she owns a business purchasing and delivering popular cakes and pastries to her sister in Palawan (a tourist haven in the Philippine islands) where I also help out. I have only three clients and I work with them one day a week per client. For four days a week, my wife and I would devote our time to our community activities (bible study, prayer meeting and worship, outreach and so on).
In our weekly schedule, we devote at least 50 percent of our time to the Giver of the gifts and not on the gifts. Why would we do this? Two years before we had all these, we almost lost everything we had materially. We focused on the material blessings and we did not use them properly. Now that God is restoring what we had lost and more, we do all these things to thank Him for his goodness. Not because God wants us to do it, but because we want to do it – to devote most of our time to the source of our blessings.
Within two years, from nothing to something, God provided well for us – ALL THE TIME.
But it wasn’t all like that. After a year of migrating to Canada, like most migrants, we suffered a culture shock. Why is it that everything we did to be successful back in the Philippines are not working here? It’s ironic but, we started to doubt by asking the very same words that gave us hope in the past – does God really provide? God’s provisions didn’t come as easy as they were back in the Philippines. I know the God in the Philippines and the God in Canada is one and the same. How come, He cannot hear our prayers here? Where is the God that provides? We started to ask a lot of questions.
The scripture says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:4-5,7)
Regardless of the many questions we had, my wife and I would talk to each other by encouraging ourselves that God is in complete control of our situation. He did not bless us to be here in Canada for nothing. We know that our breakthrough will come sooner than expected (in God’s time). We have to cling to His promises – “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
This is probably why many people experience depression in life because we all sometimes doubt (including myself) in the capacity of our Lord to provide for our need. The peace and joy that the Lord have for us is being robed by these negative thoughts, doubts and fear.
We fear so much whether if God will provide or not. So, what do we do? We take things into our hands.
Before, I would work for 20 hours average a day. There are days that I don’t get to sleep for 72 hours and yet the work seems endless. I wasted a tremendous amount of energy beating myself up and getting all stressed out for nothing.
I’m not saying that I’m against people who are working two or three or even four jobs. I have high respect for people who work double time for their family. But if you keep complaining about work, about not going anywhere, about not being able to pay your debts, about your deteriorating health, about money (where you should have more than enough), then I think you have to stop and evaluate yourself. What I’m saying is, pause for a while, step back and take some time to reflect and ask yourself this question – “With all the work I’m doing, why am I not going anywhere?”
It may be as simple as opening your doors and windows so God can work in your lives. The scripture says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
I have seen our Lord come through time and time again without fail, right at the very time when you need Him.
God is always there to provide for us. He is just a prayer away from us.
In my life, when things go wrong and things doesn’t go based on what I planned them to be, I pause and reflect on the following questions.
1. Am I asking based on His will? “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew (6:10)
2. Do I have a good relationship with God? “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7).
3. Am I using the authority given to me when I’m saying my prayers? “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do.” (John 14:13).
4. Did I have the faith to believe that I am going to receive what I prayed for? “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (Mark 11:24)
I will talk more about these in my future blogs.
To wrap things up, I would like to share you a story…
Somewhere in the streets of Manila, there were two neighbors living in a duplex home. The wall dividing them is a thin plywood. On the left side is an old man who is an atheist while his neighbour was a lady who is a devout Catholic who doesn’t do anything in life except pray the rosary, sing and rejoice for the Lord.
Each morning, after waking up, the old man would hear the woman reciting her rosary and after that, she shouts, “God is good! God is great! God will provide!” And then she would start singing songs of praise the whole morning.
The old man, being an unbeliever, would get so annoyed by the noise that he would bang the wall several times hoping to stop the lady from singing but the lady would just ignore him and continues to sing praises to God.
One night, before the lady would celebrate her birthday, the old man heard the lady praying, “Lord I praise and magnify you. I know that you are a generous God. I know that nothing is impossible to you and whatever we ask in your name we will receive. Lord, tomorrow is my birthday. In Jesus name, I want to celebrate my birthday by having a cake and fried chicken (always remember, when we pray and ask for something, we need to be specific).
The old man, after hearing the lady, asked himself, what kind of foolishness? What does she think will happen? Is she expecting that cakes and fried chicken will fall from heaven?
To make fun of her, the old man went out early in the morning to buy a cake and fried chicken (from Jollibee) to prove a point that there is no God. He silently placed the cake and the fried chicken in the main entrance of the lady’s home and then he waited what would happen from his side of the fence.
Finally he heard the lady singing, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made!” As she opened her door, she was surprised to see - a cake and fried chicken - exactly what she prayed for!
She started shouting at the top of her voice, “Praise the Lord! Alleluia! Truly, you are alive and true to your words. When you said ask and you shall receive and if we have faith that our prayer will happen, it happens!
The old man, pop out his head on the fence and shouted – “Total foolishness! Crazy! Your God did not give you anything! To prove to you that there is no God, I heard your prayer last night asking for a cake and fried chicken. I woke up early this morning to buy exactly the things that you asked for to let you know that THERE IS NO GOD!”
The lady started jumping for joy and said “You are truly an awesome God! Even the devil follows you when you want to provide for your people!”
The poor old man, being the provider of good but with evil intentions ended up being the devil.
Anyway, speaking of the devil, do you think it’s right to receive gifts if you know it came from the devil or evil doings? Does the end justify the means?
God is the greatest!