Maybe it’s a good thing to remember that hindsight is 20/20.
When I wrote about “enough,” I said:
If I had taken my eyes off of myself more, and had loved my family more by His Spirit, I might still have exhausted myself physically, but my soul would have been refreshed by the giving.
What’s more, my family might have seen less of me and more of Christ. As it was, I’m sure they saw me…my fatigue, my overwhelmedness, my frustration at my own inadequacy. But what if I had been less interested in what I had, and more in what I had to give?
But of course it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you misunderstand the phrase “had to” in that last sentence.
“Had to give” can mean “was obligated to give.” It can be a demanding, oppressive, harsh phrase, especially if you’re already feeling burdened.
Or “Had to give” can mean “had at my disposal, had available for my use, had in store for giving.” What a refreshing difference!
Unfortunately, my heart feels the former meaning, the obligation, much more strongly than it feels the availability.
I guess that’s where faith comes in. Because God has promised that we will have an abundance (2 Co 9:8)…not for our own selfish gain, but for good works in His Name, on behalf of others.
I tend to misunderstand the idea of “faith” in situations like these. It’s easy to think that “faith” means giving yourself a pep talk and convincing yourself that you see something you don’t really see, or feel something you don’t really feel. But of course that’s not faith at all. Faith doesn’t rely on sight (2 Co 5:7), but believes God’s promises even when they are unseen (Heb. 11:1).
How do I do that, practically speaking?
I think perhaps it’s time for me to remember that proverbial 20/20 hindsight. Because I’m beginning to suspect that “enough” can’t be seen through life’s windshield. It can only be seen in the rear-view mirror.
What if faith keeps doing, keeps giving, keeps plodding, keeps hoping, keeps dreaming, keeps loving, not because of what it feels it can do, but because it believes that, at the end of the day, it will look back and see that God had supplied enough?
When God commanded the priests to step into the Red Sea and part the waters, did they set up a committee to determine how it would be done? Did they take stock of their abilities to determine if they “had what it took” to make millions of gallons of water get out of their way? Or did they just step out in faithful obedience?
At the end of that day, what did they see in the rear-view mirror? Would they have ever seen it, if they had waited for feelings, or for their own adequacy to arise to the occasion?
How much of God’s provision have I missed seeing because I never had enough faith to put my feet in the water?
We are not to look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (2 Co 4:18). And if our faith does not rise high enough to “see” how God is going to enable us to get through the day, then that’s okay. But we can and must let our faith rise high enough to see Christ Himself, the One who gives us strength to match our days (Deut 33:25) and enables us to do all things (Php. 4:13), even if we cannot see His provision. We don’t need to see the “how.” We just need to see the “Who.” Let the “Who” take care of the “How.”
Don’t take stock of your resources at the beginning of the day, but rather at the end. And if that sounds to you like a contradiction to Luke 14:28-30, then let me remind you of what we learned before about counting the cost. In that parable, Jesus does not call us to take stock of our own resources, but to abandon our faith in ourselves, and to make sure we’re drawing from His resources. Then we will always have enough. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, please click on the previous “counting the cost” link.)
So I say it again: Don’t take stock of your resources at the beginning of the day, but rather at the end. The thing to do at the beginning of the day, and during every weary moment of today’s allotted tasks, is to take stock of where your resources come from. If you’re walking by your own light and drawing from your own well, look out (Isa. 50:11, Jer. 2:13)! But if you are drawing from His treasury, then you can go on in the confidence of His riches and His faithful supply, whether you can feel His help or not.
When you look back at the end of the day, you will not see that you were perfect, or that everything worked out exactly as you hoped. But if you were leaning on Him instead of yourself, you will see that He provided enough for you to give to the need of the moment. Enough for you to fulfill His plans, even if they differed from yours.