By Donna Churchill
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7, 8
When I read this, it makes me think that because my Father knows what I need, He has prepared the answer for me before I even know the question. Most of the time I don’t know what I really have need of, but God always does and He has already prepared the provision for that need. Before I can even articulate the prayer, the provision is on the way. Now that doesn’t always mean that I see the immediate answer to the need, but I believe it does mean that God has seen the need. In the subsequent Scriptures, when Jesus teaches us how to pray, He includes this request, “…Give us this day our daily bread….” He knows and understands that we will have need of daily bread, which I believe encompasses our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs; the needs of the whole person. He knows we will have needs.
Several weeks ago, the Lord illuminated a Scripture from Psalms to me. I have probably read that psalm many, many times. But on this particular day, it jumped off the page to me.
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7
Wow, I thought, as I read this. I need to stop here and ponder this for awhile. My mind went to all the bad news we hear in the world every day that just gets worse and worse and I thought this is a good verse for trusting the Lord with what’s going on in our world. I’m going to hold on to this one.
Two days later, I received personal bad news and in the days since I read that verse, (it’s been a few weeks now) I have received several personal pieces of bad news!
The first “bad news” I received, I will admit, threw me for a loop. It was very unexpected and quite overwhelming and has the potential to affect my daily life. And I will also admit, I didn’t receive it very graciously. Thankfully, it came via text so I was able to “contain” my response, but I still did not respond with the grace available. For about five hours, I stewed and plotted about how I was going to handle this “bad news” going forward; how I was going to rearrange things to compensate for this “bad news.” Looking back, I can just picture the Lord allowing me to get myself all worked up and in a frenzy about how I was going to fix this. I’m sure He was shaking His head, saying, “Donna…Donna…Donna!”
Then the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the Scripture I had read just two days earlier.
“Are you going to trust me with this? Are you going to trust that I knew about this before you did and it’s no surprise to me? Are you going to trust that I have made provision for you? Haven’t I always provided for you? Is your heart firm, trusting in me in this “bad news?”
God had given me the answer when I didn’t even know yet the prayer! Trust in Him!
Two things were at play in my heart in the midst of this: Did I believe that God is good regardless of the circumstances and do I believe God is sovereign over all of life? The answer has to be yes and with that yes comes the ability to trust….in ALL things because I know He’s got this.
For the rest of the day, I felt the Holy Spirit ministering to me with this verse and others He has given me, gently reminding me of all the Lord has done for me and reminding me of things He has spoken to me over the years. I repented and prayed through the evening and the next morning. The next day, I called the person who was the messenger of the “bad news” and apologized and was able to share, even though this person is not a Christian, the word the Lord gave me and the fact that I was trusting God and I understood her part in it. I don’t know what the Lord did in her heart through the Word, but I know what He has done in mine.
Since that first piece of “bad news,” I have received several more pieces of “bad news.” I’m not entirely sure what God is up to, but I know He continues to teach me day to day what it means to completely trust in Him. With each piece of “bad news,” I have determined to keep my heart firm, trusting in Him. Some of this news has immediate effect in my life, some will be worked out over time. I continue to see that I have everything I need for today and I trust my God for tomorrow.
What I needed that day was this Word from the Lord to sustain me and He provided it before I even knew I would need it!
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3, 4
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5