“I can’t do it. I don’t have enough.”
I sat in the car, crying out to God, daunted by the task that lay ahead.
The next day I was going to be leading a camp for teenagers. It was the first time I had taken on the task and I had always known it was going to stretch me, but God had made it clear that he wanted me to do it and, over the past few months, he had helped everything come together.
Now though, the enormity of the task became overwhelmingly real, and I was conscious of my own inadequacies.
I knew I didn’t have enough– I didn’t have enough wisdom, I didn’t have enough energy, I didn’t have enough faith. I didn’t see how I could do all I had to do to make it through the week, and I began to wonder if the whole thing had been a big mistake.
But as I sat there, God’s answer came quickly, and it revealed an important truth: I didn’t need to have enough to make it through the week. I only needed to have enough for right now, for this moment.
He brought to mind the widow who helped Elijah. She never had an abundance of flour and oil, she never had an ample supply for the week ahead or even for the rest of the day- she only ever had enough for the next meal.
But she had a promise:
“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” (1 Kings 17:14 NLT)
And as she trusted that promise and stepped out in faith, as she poured out what she had, God provided all that she needed.
He was asking me to do the same- to move forward, knowing that I didn’t have enough, but trusting that he would provide what I needed when I needed it.
It seems to be the way with God’s provision.
Just as the widow only had enough for one more meal, the manna supplied for the Israelites as they journeyed through the wilderness was never a long-term supply for the future, but only enough for that day, and Jesus told his disciples to pray for their “daily bread,” not for a week’s supply.
I think God often provides in this way because it keeps us close to him, and it reminds us of our dependence on him and the source of our provision. He calls us to trust him not just once, but each and every day. If we had an abundant supply it would be far too easy to take it for granted, to begin to rely on ourselves, to forget that our provision comes from God.
It also provides a chance to exercise our faith. If we fail to trust, we will stockpile what we have, afraid to use it in case our supply runs out, but if we do that we’ll miss out, because it’s only as we trust God, as we use our “not enough” and hand it over to him that we get to see how he can use it.
If the widow had clung to the oil and flour she had, she would never have seen it multiply, but as she stepped out in faith she experienced a miracle that restored her hope when she had been at the point of giving up.
In the end it’s not so much about what we have as whether we are willing to give it to God. We may look at what we have and feel that it is insufficient, but God is faithful to his promises, and in his hands our “not enough” can become plenty.
A week after that moment in the car with God, a second followed. I had made it to the end of the camp and it had been a success. It had not been without its challenges, but God had provided all that we needed- one step at a time.
As I arrived home and parked the car, suddenly it began to rain- a torrential downpour so heavy that there was no way I was stepping out of the car until it eased off. And as I sat there, God’s promise came back to me and underlined again the lesson that I needed to learn that week. You will have all that you need “until the time when the Lord sends rain.”