“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:30-33
When you think about how God provides for you, is it your experience that He is generous and delighted to give to you or do you see Him as stingy and reluctant with His care? How does that perspective affect your idea of how He loves you?
When my dad was a boy, during the Great Depression, he had a paper route. For delivering papers, he was given ten cents.
Late, one winter afternoon, near the end of his life, my 86 year-old dad and I were talking on the telephone . . . something he didn’t really like to do. (While he was always polite about it, calls with dad were short.)
So it was unusual on that day that after a brief pause in the back and forth of easy conversation, he started to talk about his childhood . . . also rare. He told me a story about that ten cents.
Dad was soft-spoken as a rule, but his voice was lower than usual as he spoke. I can still recall looking out my window into the purple-orange of the winter sunset when he shared this. . . Odd what we remember.
He slowly recounted this event in a way that indicated he had been thinking about it for a while, and it had changed him. It went like this . . .
“When I was about ten years old, I had a paper route. For this, I received a dime a week. One of those weeks, on a Saturday afternoon, I took my dime and went to a grocery store in our neighborhood where they sold bulk candy. I remember asking the man behind the counter for ten-cents worth. The grocer slowly poured the candy into a small, brown, paper sack. Then he said,
“‘Do you want me to weigh it, or do you trust me?’
“I thought about my dime and the number of papers I’d thrown to earn it, and I said, ‘You can weigh it.’
“With that, the grocer, reluctant to reveal what he already knew, looked at me for a moment and then turned to put the sack into the large scale hanging behind the counter. The dial told him he had added more than a dime’s worth, so he shook out some of the candy to even the deal.
“I hadn’t trusted him,” dad said, “And so often, I haven’t trusted God when I’ve looked for Him to provide for me. But I can tell you this: God always weighs heavy.”
God always weighs heavy: that idea laid on my soul, and as my dad and I concluded our call, I knew those words were not only for my dad, they were somehow for me, too.
It was during a time in my life when I wasn’t sure God could be trusted. I wasn’t sure if I could live depending solely on His good nature. I didn’t believe that He would be the provider He promised to be, and I was trying to live on my own understanding, my own way.
When I asked Him for what I needed, and He would lead me into deep challenge as the pathway onward, like the grocer asking my dad, He was saying to me, “Do you trust me? Do you believe I am willing and able to provide for your needs and so much more?”
Today, five years later, and after some really dark days, I am learning that God can be trusted. He is faithful to His promises. We never need to fear Him or think we are going to be short-changed or taken advantage of when we obey His leadings. He is a generous and personal God who is lavish in His grace, mercy, and provision of our security and daily bread.
I didn’t realize it then, but several years ago, in the fading sunset of a late winter afternoon, God was getting me ready to know and to trust Him more. Though the lessons continue even to this hour, this lesson began for me on the telephone, talking with a former paperboy who was still learning, too:
God always weighs heavy.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32