When we consider the abundance of resources readily available to use to meet our most basic needs, it's probably safe to say that in general, we Westerners do not consider ourselves needy people. Most of us are vaccinated, educated and assimilated into a very comfortable way of life.
In such an existence, with few felt needs, a sense of self-sufficiency quite naturally grows and flourishes. And so it is possible in this state of mind, to go along for some time without considering how much we depend daily on God's goodness to us, how much mercy he bestows even in our selfishness and how faithfully he provides for our needs. ...
I realized that my only hope was to go to him and ask for what I needed - not just to mention my request casually to him and then try to make things happen by my own efforts, but rather to seek him out with passion and abandon, and then wait in hope and anticipation for his answer. Yes! Yes, I'll look for Jesus! I determined.
Pushing Through the Silence
When I realized my failure to recognize Jesus as my provider, it was as if a spotlight had been turned on my pride and the subsequent emptiness I had been experiencing in recent months. I saw how smug my heart had previously been in its enjoyment of God's blessings, even having attributed their presence in my life to other things or to my own abilities.
It was time to put away all the other ways I'd been trying to finagle getting what I needed. It was time to stop doing things my way. It was time to camp outside the door of the only one who could help me. And so I began my vigil.
In the evenings, I would set out on long walks, confessing my pride and self-sufficient attitudes to Jesus and asking him to intervene, to show me what to do. I thanked him for his greatness and named the blessings in my life he had provided for me. And I asked him to grant provision, to meet the needs that were choking the life out of my heart.
I continued to work at the newspaper office and was doing freelance writing assignments, but none of the other job prospects I looked into came to anything. My deadline was nearing for moving out of the house, but I had no idea what I would do if I didn't have a good-paying job. I knew my parents wouldn't send me out on the street, but I did want to honor their wishes, and I did want to be out on my own again. Most disturbing to me, however, was that I still had no vision for the future, no compass as I'd had in the past to help me navigate my decisions.
Although these things weighed heavily on me, they were also the very things that drove me to stay at Jesus' doorstep, praying, waiting, imploring, believing. And it seemed strange to me that while I sensed he was very near to me, listening to me, he was completely silent about the issues I hoped he would address.
But I was not about to leave. Where else would I go? Who else was going to help me? Jesus was the only one I could count on to provide for my needs, from the basic necessities of employment and housing, to the more complex issue of needing a goal and a vision. There was no one else, and so I determined that I would push through the silence and continue seeking him for answers.
Excerpted by permission from If Jesus Loves Me, How Do I Know? copyright 2001 by Christine A. Dallman and J. Isamu Yamamoto. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com, 1-800-843-4587.
Christine A. Dallman is a freelance writer living in Everett, Washington. She has also worked as an editor for Cook Communications and has authored or co-authored several other books.
Which aspects of your life are comfortable right now, and which make you feel a sense of need? Do you sometimes take God's provision for granted? How have you seen God provide for you in the past? How can you encourage others to rely solely on God for their needs? Visit the Books forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.