Extra Special Providence

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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?”

Matthew 6:26-30

On March 3rd, 2017 my wife and I welcomed out of the womb and into the world our son, James Calvin Boga. The months of anticipation were finally over and he had arrived. Verena had passed that painful final exam of pregnancy and both she and James were healthy…exhausted, but healthy. The range of emotions that were experienced in those final moments of labor and first moments of out-of-the-womb parenthood were vast and overwhelming. It seemed as though we had no control over our bodies anymore. We wept, we smiled, we were fearful, we were over-joyed, and ultimately we found ourselves raptured by the bliss of staring into the deep blue eyes of our baby boy, James.

We stayed a few nights in the hospital then went home where I was able to take a few weeks off of work to help out around the house full-time. It was around the end of those two weeks that we discovered there’s nothing like having a baby who’s 100% dependent upon you to provide for all of his needs that forces you to a place of utter dependence on means outside of yourself. Sleep deprivation, emotions taking their toll, and the feeling of not knowing what the heck you are doing – despite the fact that you spent so much time readying for exactly the situation you now find yourself in – had mounted and we, as “prepared” parents, stood there undone.

I can’t recall another time that I’ve more diligently sought the Lord for provision. I can’t think of a time that I’ve felt more fully aware that we are reliant, breath by breath, heartbeat by heartbeat, upon God and his grace to sustain us.  And in our time of need, as at all times, God is a good provider.

|| What I don’t want you to think is that I feel God is only a good provider because everything has gone well or we’ve gotten the things we wanted. I say that because in varying ways it hasn’t and we haven’t. The truth of the matter is, if all were utter chaos, and everything that we had envisioned to be correct was proven untrue, God’s character would remain the same and he’d still be a good provider. ||

I would say that in this period of life, God has provided for us in two main ways among a multitude of others.  Through our biological family members, and through our Church Family members (and yes, in certain areas these two overlap).

First, God has greatly provided for us through our biological family. I feel as though providence through biological family members is often overlooked.  It shouldn’t be. My little three person family is amazingly blessed with a biological family full of generous-hearted people. From time, to meals, to face time, to clothes, to genuinely good hugs, all of these expenditures are not required but freely given, and in all of these ways, and more, God is providing for our needs.

Secondly, God has greatly provided for us through our Church family, and to be perfectly honest, not much is different as far as what has been tangibly provided.  We have received meals, great hugs, diapers, and respite in varying ways. However, one difference is found in the volume and diversity of family members, and this is, in part, why being provided for by the Church is extra sweet (and again, for any biological family members that are Christians and reading this, I also find this to be extra sweet about you).

I say that because there’s something about biological family that motivates people to care for their own. Humanity almost feels compelled to nurture those within their familial branches. While I feel this is an amazing, I might naively say, nearly universally intrinsic truth placed in people by God, I feel it pales in comparison to the care found in the Church.  It’s not biology that motivates the Church to care for its own, it is the spilled blood of Jesus Christ.

According to common interest, race, and socio-economic status there is little to no tangible motivation for the group of people that God most frequently uses to care for us to actually do so. There is no biological universal truth inspiring the Church to care for us in our times of need. Not from Darwin’s perspective anyway.

But because Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood ratified the New Covenant so that by God’s grace, through faith, we who are many could be made one body, the Church, with Christ as our head, there is ample motivation (Hebrews 12:24, Romans 5:18-21,12:3-13, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, and others). The Body cares for itself in a self-sacrificial way because, upon his first advent, our Lord and Savior came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:43-45), and that, to me, is extra special sweet.

Man, have we felt overwhelmed in many ways already in just a few weeks and I have no knowledge of what challenges the future holds. However, I do know that while not everything is the way we necessarily would have planned it to be, God has meticulously provided for our needs, and it’s in that knowledge that we find our confidence.  He will care for us in countless ways. Often times that will be through our Church family, other times that will be through other friends and family, but whatever God may give us in life we’re sure that our needs will be faithfully provided for.

Many people say God will never give you more than you can handle, which I would argue is completely false. God will always give you more than you can handle, but he will never give you more than He can handle.  If all things are held together by Him, then despite what you may think, you are never “handling” anything (Colossians 1:17).  However, if He’s with you – by grace, through faith, in Christ’s finished work and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit – you will be able to “handle” all circumstances to be found in life.  He will send you the help you need, you will ultimately find all of your needs faithfully provided for, and you will come to realize that, whether tangible or circumstantial, the things that you may want, but do not have, must not be needed after all; otherwise, he would have provided them.