Don’t Touch My Stuff
Knowing that God is our Provider helps us to hold our material possessions with an open hand.
On November 17, 1999, Ann was meeting with a client in her print shop when the phone rang. It brought a message that forever changed her life. “Your house is on fire, and it’s fully involved,” said the caller, the captain of the local Coast Guard. His words hit Ann like a punch in her stomach. When she arrived at the scene minutes later, those feelings turned to disbelief.
The house, perched on a pint-sized rocky island, had been her family’s haven for 24 years. Now a charred, flaming skeleton stood in its place. Her treasures—family photographs, the mandolin her grandfather had made and sent from Finland, her children’s artwork, her kids’ baby clothes she’d saved for her grandchildren—had been reduced to water-soaked ashes.
Shock threatened to engulf Ann. But as it did, a familiar Scripture verse filled her mind: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
The house and everything in it is gone, thought Ann. This is a huge loss, but we’re safe. Our kids are safe. Fire can’t steal the happy memories made here. We still have the things that really matter. And we’re not alone—God knows our situation, and He is with us.
Indeed, He was. And He proved it.
Ann and her husband eventually walked around the smoldering embers and surveyed the damage. Finally, realizing they should break the news to their children before someone else did, they turned to leave. As they did, an object on the wharf railing caught Ann’s attention.
“What’s that?” she asked no one in particular. When she drew closer, she recognized it as a book’s blackened remains. The title, scarcely visible, read Count Your Blessings.
Ann picked it up and showed it to her husband and the firefighters. “Did you place this book on the railing?” she asked one after another. But none had seen or touched it. “It must have floated into the air and then landed there on its way down,” suggested one fellow.
How that book settled in the exact place where Ann would see it as she left the island remains a mystery. But one thing is sure—its message instantly cast a proper perspective on her situation, and Ann holds fast to that perspective today.
What is your security?
Our blessings consist of more than the money we earn and the material possessions we own. We can enjoy those things and share them with others, but their presence guarantees neither success nor fulfillment. And despite what television and magazine ads want us to believe, they cannot provide security. One moment, they’re there; the next moment, they’re gone. Poof!
Still, we struggle with the issue of stuff. Of Christ’s 38 parables, 17 refer to possessions. And Scripture refers to them 2172 times!
Basing our security in things that can vanish in a flash leads only to hardship. Their disappearance leaves us wrestling with anger, bitterness, and fear. But if we hold our belongings loosely and base our security in God, trusting in His promised presence and help, we experience freedom that cannot be shaken regardless of what happens. And that confidence is a blessing no one can steal.
Perhaps, like Ann, you’ve experienced the loss of material possessions through a tragic fire. Or an intruder invaded your home and helped himself to your goods. Maybe your hubby recently received a pink slip from his employer. Or unexpected medical expenses have blown your budget to bits.
Let me ask you a personal question. When faced with financial insecurity or the loss of your belongings, how do you respond? Do you let fear cause sleepless nights? Do you throw up your hands in frustration? Speak some not-so-nice words to nearby family members? (Been there, done that.) Or do you respond by saying, “God knows my situation, and He is with me”?
The latter response should be our goal. I know, I know—you may be thinking, Yeah, right. That’s for the super-spiritual club, of which I’m not a member because I can’t afford to pay the dues. But wait! Maintaining an attitude of trust and rest is easier said than done, but it is possible. How? By understanding the character of God and how it relates to the nitty-gritty of everyday life.
Introducing … Jehovah Jireh!
“Almost all new discoveries of God—all fresh revelations of His person, nature and character—are tied to some crisis, some intense human experience,” says David Wilkerson in his book, Knowing God by Name.
Wilkerson retells the story of Abraham and Isaac, and of God’s command for father to sacrifice son. Time and testings had matured Abraham’s faith. Life’s trials had taught him to trust and obey God as the promise-keeping all-powerful One. Now he stood poised, knife in hand, prepared to slay his own son because God told him to. And then he saw the ram. A substitute sacrifice—just in the nick of time!
Caught by its horns in a thicket several feet from the altar where Isaac lay, the animal struggled to free itself, but its efforts proved vain. Abraham retrieved the woolly critter. He cut the ropes that held Isaac, wrestled the bleating beast onto the altar where his son lay minutes prior, and performed the sacrificial rituals.
As nerve-racking as this experience sounds, it gave Abraham fresh insight into God as a faithful provider in the midst of extreme circumstances. To commemorate what he’d seen and learned, he dubbed that place “The LORD Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14).
God provided for Abraham back then, and He’ll do the same for us today when we’re walking in obedience to Him. How can I be so sure? Because His names describe His nature. One of these names is Jehovah Jireh, meaning roughly, “God will see to it.” It carries the connotation of provision—He will see to it that our needs are met.
Providing for His children is a responsibility that flows from who God is. In other words, seeing to it that our needs are met isn’t simply something He does when He feels like it. He does so because doing otherwise would be contrary to His nature.
Taken from: Moving From Fear to Freedom. Copyright © 2007 by Grace Fox. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon. Used by permission.