The last seven and a half years have felt, in many ways, like an out of control fairground ride. (With no ejector seat, no matter how many times you press the red button in front of you.) Everything that has happened to us has felt unexpected and unforeseen: how ill I would be after I had my baby, the illness getting worse, the struggle to find childcare, the difficult decision of when to buy disability aids as my body stubbornly refused to get better.
During this time, I have often struggled to see God as Provider. All I have seen is what it feels like God has taken from me: my independence, the outside world, my job, my plans for mothering, my hobbies. Chronic illness has robbed me of these.
But it’s like being on one of those computer quest games (at least, I imagine that’s what it’s like, I’ve never played them…) where you are on a journey and have to fight goblins and kill dragons with tools and treasures you find along the way.
It’s taken me a while to notice, but there have been things to be thankful for, tools and treasures placed into my hands that have allowed me to cope better. It’s not that the illness is good, but that I have had some good gifts around me to help.
For the last 7.5 years, we have been given a spacious and quiet home, a perfect place for healing. We’ve had friends who’ve been there for us at crucial times and a church who has understood and supported us. I have had a husband who cooks amazing food, even managing paleo restrictions when I decided that nutrition might be the answer to all my problems. And I’ve had the joy of witnessing my baby grow and develop over the years.
The origin of the word ‘provide’ gives us a different perspective on the word – before-seeing, or foresight. The God who provides is the God who sees ahead. We couldn’t anticipate our circumstances, nor what we would need. Alongside our scrabbling around to get the help we needed, we also found unexpected supplies to help us on the way.
This is how God works: one day you find yourself with a gift in your hand and you don’t know how it got there. The journey may still be long and the quest seemingly impossible, but Someone has seen it before you. I need the God who sees me, but I also need the God who foresees my journey and my future needs.
I don’t know why some of our needs are met and others not, nor why some people’s journey is so full of tears and pain. For some friends, I want to rage on their behalf, ‘not that small gift! Take it back and replace it with the bigger gift of healing!’ There’s mystery and frustration in that space.
But I am starting to notice the unexpected gifts in my life, and reminding myself that maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe God saw my need before I did. Maybe God’s already looking to the road ahead, and when I turn the corner I’ll find another mountain, another tool in my hand.
Tweetables'When I turn the corner I’ll find another mountain, another tool in my hand.' - @Tanya_Marlow's #fiveminutefriday Tools and Treasures: Click To Tweet 'I need the God who sees me, but I also need the God who foresees my journey' - @Tanya_Marlow's #fiveminutefriday Tools and Treasures: Click To Tweet 'The God who provides is the God who sees ahead.' - @Tanya_Marlow's #fiveminutefriday - Tools and Treasures: Click To Tweet
Joining with #fiveminutefriday.
Over to you:
- In hard circumstances in life, what tools have you found in your hands that God placed there?
- How have you experienced God’s fore-seeing?
Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay – now with over 70! reviews at Amazon.co.uk (4.8*) – for those who wait (impatiently). It’s making a powerful difference in people’s lives. Get your copy here.
And for a free copy of my first book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty sign up here.