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Tuesday Thoughts 6-27-17

Looking back on two weeks of vacation can be a whole lot different than looking ahead at those same two weeks! You know what I mean, don’t you?  Whether you’re a detail planner or more of a flow-goer, there’s still some kind of expectation heading in.  For Diana and I, the plan was for a few days in week one near home, maybe some time at the beach, followed by a sixth anniversary weekend in the U.P. kayaking Pictured Rocks. Following that would be a second week with three grandchildren doing outside stuff (including, again, the beach).  Looking back, though, week one included a cancelled kayak trip (due to an untimely injury), and the second week saw us with only two of the grandkids and rain…lots of rain.  So was our vacation a disappointment?  Before I answer that, look at these two verses from the Old Testament book of Second Kings.  I read it in my morning devotions while on vacation (God is so timely!). Here in the nineteenth chapter, the prophet Elijah had just finished facilitating a spectacular presentation of the power and glory of the One and Only Creator which got him in trouble with the King and his wife (read the whole story beginning in chapter 18). He was hiding for his life in the middle of nowhere when God spoke to him:  “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.” 1 Kings 19:5-6 (NIV).  Maybe you are as amazed as I was to realize that this provision of God went way beyond the need for food and water.  He provided a fully baked loaf of bread and a jar of water…in the middle of nowhere!  This level of supply was probably surprising to Elijah as well because the first time he had to hide after doing God’s will (yes, there’s a time to run away too!), there was a little stream of water nearby and a bird brought him meat twice a day (see 1 Kings chapter 17).  So what does this have to do with my vacation?  This simple, but often ignored truth: God supplies exactly what is needed to fit every circumstance.  Though we build expectations based on our experience and perceived needs, our Lord provides based on His full knowledge, wisdom, power and love for us!  Sometimes we may feel hungry.  Sometimes the bird will bring our food, and sometimes, there will be a complete smorgasbord.  How will we receive what Jesus knows we need and how He knows we need to get it?  The New Testament Christ-follower Paul summed up the right perspective in a letter he wrote while in jail, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11b-13 (NIV).  As you may have guessed, my vacation was awesome!  We did different things than had been planned but had a blast and one or two surprise blessings along the way.  My wife and I both knew God had this!  How about you?  Are you a little hungry today?  Are you fully fed?  Maybe you’re somewhere in between.  Let go of your expectation concerning whatever you’re thinking about this very moment.  Place the circumstance in the hands of our loving Savior and thank Him before he even shows you the provision.  Keep thanking Him when you see it.  Repeat this process in all things and you’ll begin to shed anxiety and disappointment and find joy!

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