By Luke Holmes
“Can you meet me at the church? I need to talk.” I had been a pastor long enough that hearing that from a church member made me nervous.
Our church was in the middle of an immense conflict that was tearing us apart. The conflict was causing financial problems for the church too, on top of all the spiritual issues we faced.
This person wasn’t known for conflict, but I had enough wounds that I was ready for anything.
He got out of his truck and left it running. As I stood on the porch of the church I braced for the worse.
We made small talk for a minute before he reached in his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper and gave it to me with a smile.
He said, “I’ve been blessed with a family inheritance and wanted to give some to the church.”
It was enough to meet our financial needs for the moment and allow us to move forward as a church. I promised to give it to the treasurer and keep it between us. As he drove off, I went back to my office and sat down to cry.
We had a great need, and God had met it in ways beyond what I could have ever imagined. I don’t know how many times God has done that for me personally and in the church over the years. But every time I’m surprised.
Why are we surprised when God provides in ways we didn’t see coming?
The story of the Israelites in the desert is enough proof that God always gives us what we need.
After being delivered from slavery in Egypt and across the Red Sea, Moses gathered the people of God in the desert. They began to complain about what they didn’t have.
The multitude of people began to wonder how they could survive in a desert. What would they eat? How could they live? How could they raise families?
Maybe they would have been better off back in Egypt, eating leeks and onions by the Nile.
They were focused on the future and thinking about the past, but God was ready to provide for them in the present. While they were worried about the future, God already had plans to provide for them in ways they couldn’t imagine.
Exodus 16 records that God provided for His people through manna. Each day God provided enough for them to survive and every day for the next 40 years they had a tangible reminder of God’s provision for them.
As they went out each morning to gather manna into their bowls for the day it would have been impossible to forget that God provided for them.
Our help comes from the Lord. Whether it’s manna in the desert, money from an inheritance, or an encouraging phone call from a friend at the right time, God always provides.
Christians should never doubt that God will bring us what we need at the right time.
And pastors, when we fret about giving being down—as it is in many churches right now—remember who’s really in charge of your ministry.
God provides through both the miraculous and the mundane. The book of Joshua records that when the Israelites finally made it into the promised land one of the first things they did was eat some of the produce of the land.
Joshua 5:12 makes clear that God’s provision never stops, even as the manna does: “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.”
The produce of that land was a gift of God just like the manna from heaven. God provides through the miraculous and the mundane, through the normal and the extraordinary.
I shouldn’t be surprised when God meets a great need in my life because God has met countless small needs in my life every day. The regular tithes and offerings of the church are just as much the gift of God as that check on the church porch that day.
It’s tempting to only see God working through the big and miraculous provisions. It takes work to remind ourselves that God is working through the daily provisions just as much as the spectacular ways.
Every day, God provides for us through ways we don’t even notice, and each of those provisions is just as much a means of grace as the others.
No matter what you’re facing today, big or small, the Lord will provide. A job that gives steady income is just as much a blessing as a friend bringing a surprise monetary gift right when you need it.
Don’t take manna for granted, and don’t take the daily blessings of God’s provisions for granted either. Ask God to open your eyes not just to see the manna on the ground, but to see the ways that he provides for you consistently.
LUKE HOLMES (@lukeholmes) is husband to Sara, father to three young girls, and pastor at First Baptist Church Tishomingo, Oklahoma, since 2011. He’s a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and can be found online at LukeAHolmes.com.