El Roi, God sees me. Jehovah Jireh, God is my provider.
These words, one of the names of God, were tossed around (in retrospect, almost casually) at college, every time some need was met - an anonymously paid school bill, a few dollars in the mail for laundry, a care package from home - "wow, man, Jehovah Jireh!" and I never thought of it as irreverent. It was a continual reminder of how God saw, and provided.
Looking back, it became so commonplace at that time of my life, I took for granted that God would provide. I mean, everyone knows college students have no money, and I suppose it could have been a strange type of entitlement, I'm not sure. All I do know is that I was trusting that everything would happen as God wanted it to. And back then, when life was a little simpler, I expected God to show Himself and provide. I saw it readily, I praised Him often. Even for little things.
But then, we grew up (a little) and started adulting - bills to pay, budgets to balance, children to provide for, and jobs to work to bring in the money for these things. OF COURSE we understood that God is the one who provides the work, the money, the bonus jobs, but at the same time, it's really easy to start relying on yourself, to stop asking God for things.
You see the deep needs of others and pray instead for them, not wishing to "bother" with your "little" need. "I can do it, it's fine, we'll be fine." becomes an easy rut to settle into. And when you stop asking, sometimes you stop being grateful for those little things. Sometimes you become self-reliant. Sometimes you stop looking to see Him working in those same, simple ways. So a couple of months ago, I picked out one thing to pray about. It was a legitimate need, something we had forgotten about the need for replacing, and we simply didn't have the extra in the budget. I wanted to pray specifically so that I could watch God work specifically.
And this weekend, we were humbled by our Jehovah Jireh. This item that I'd prayed about for a couple of months was very unexpectedly taken care of - a friend called and asked point blank if this exact thing was a need. He said he and his wife had been asking God to show them how they could bless others, and that God had laid it on his heart, very specifically, very clearly, just like that.
I didn't know HOW God was going to choose to provide, or if it would be obvious or just through extra hours, through trivet + board sales, or other random earnings. I assumed it would be through work and earnings, not through a gift. I hadn't told anyone I was praying about it except for Michael and my mom. I know she was praying too.
But God chose differently, and now we have freshly tasted, seen, and experienced God's knowledge of our needs. He is reminding us that He is not "generic" Jehovah Jireh, He is OUR Jehovah Jireh. And it is so humbling - to be reminded that not only does God see, and know, and love, and care, but He can and does provide - however and through whomever He chooses.
I have been so encouraged and challenged through our friends' prayers and obedience that I now seek to pray this way. My prayer? God, show me how I can bless others. Show me who, what, and how. Show me specifically, because I want to see YOU. Being on the receiving end of the blessing just makes us want to give what we can to others. It's a beautiful and multifaceted gift we've been given. All because of God's amazing grace.
So much grace.