And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:29-31)
(43/365 days of Fear Not)
Worry is something that can quickly develop into fear. We can translate the what ifs of our worry into paralyzing circumstances. Eventually fear grows where we planted seeds of worry.
But Jesus is as clear about worry as He is about fear: it’s unnecessary.
And it gets in the way of our relationship with Him.
But we can choose not to worry. We can choose not to be afraid. We can choose instead to seek Jesus.
So far through 2015, I have clung to my One Word: abide. And I have discovered that as I abide in Christ, as I seek God’s face and His kingdom, I live differently. I live without the same degree of worry and fear as I have in the past. No, it’s not that I don’t ever worry or fear, but I am learning to take those thoughts captive and I am choosing to focus on Jesus and not the storm. What follows is what has happened in my life as a result of abiding in Christ and seeking Him over my worry and accompanying what ifs.
It is a reflection of the story of The Widow’s Olive Oil:
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (2 Kings 4:1-7)
And today, I am praising and thanking God for a miracle in our life that mirrors the widow’s. For us, this miracle has been part of an on-going provision from God during what can only be deemed extremely lean times for us.
We have scraped the bottom of the financial barrel more than once in the past six months and worry and fear have teamed up and knocked loudly on the door to my heart. But as we approached the end of 2014 and I began considering One Word on which to focus, God drew me to Himself, inviting me to abide in Him.
And so I began the year focused on abiding in Christ.
I also began working through a series of posts tracing God’s words to Fear Not.
As I have focused on these things, focused on Jesus and not on the storms of our circumstances, I have experienced God’s presence and provision in ways previously unknown to me. It’s not that God was not faithful before, but that I was not tuned into what He was doing.
But, as we have had to lean on Him and trust Him more, as we have had to rely on Him to provide, I’ve become acutely aware of His movements in my life. Of His whispers in my heart.
None of these has been more obvious to me than the extremely low heating oil level that has lasted us far longer than it should have.
We have not had the four hundred dollars needed to add the 100 gallons we usually eek by with. In fact, we have not added oil to the tank since we added 100 gallons on March 17, 2014. Typically, we had at least another 100 gallons in the fall.
Every time the heat has come on, I have been reminded of the Widow’s Olive Oil and how she filled jar after jar after jar from a single small jar that she had. It was all she had and when she obediently took what she had and sought Elisha, the man of God, what little she had became an overflowing abundance.
We have since received our tax refunds and my husband received one of his twice monthly paychecks on Friday and we have been playing catch up on bills.
And this morning, the heating oil tank finally ran dry. I woke up to a chilly house and called Burrells. They have delivered our 100 gallons and the heat is running and we are cozy.
And I am not overlooking that God has been our provision and continues to be.
He continues to provide in ways that I am realizing I never noticed before.