All We Need in Failure or Success
“At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.”
In 2010, my husband, Carey, and I left a company with which we had labored for over a decade. We didn’t know exactly where God was leading, but we knew it was time to say goodbye. So after much prayer and hand-wringing, we sold our home, put things in storage, and asked God to show us the next step. When people asked us for details, we honestly replied, “God said go, and we’re moving out, in faith, without knowing exactly where we’re going.”
That statement was easy to say and much, much harder to live out. The following two years were a roller-coaster of doubt, fear, elation, and provision. Many days, it felt as if we were wandering in the wilderness, like the Israelites, and living on manna. As only he can, God provided for our needs. But the stress of waiting for him to reveal his plan took its toll on our emotions, bodies, and relationships.
Today, we’re in a much more stable place. Just a few months ago, God led us back to a church where we feel completely at home, and Carey is using his variety of gifts as one of the congregations’ pastors. He leads the communications, music, and worship ministries, while I’m writing, editing, and homeschooling our boys two days a week (they attend a co-op school the other three days). I love being back in a comfort zone, working within my passions. And I am immensely grateful for more time with our kids.
However, to be honest, I’ve had a hard time finding a spiritual “groove” here. The semi-stability of our current situation threatens to lull me into complacency. It was vital to my sanity to stay closely connected to God when things were chaotic and unsure. Now, I can almost justify doing things on my own strength. Write? I can do that. Manage our home? No problem. Edit and email and encourage? Not a big deal.
But God longs to be my—and your—sufficiency at all times, not just when things are stressful. The truth is, I need him every single minute of every day. And so do you.
I need him to be my patience when our eight-year-old (or our teenager) throws a tantrum. I need him to help me set my priorities for the day, so I don’t crowd him out with too many to-do’s. Oh, how I need him—to help me gracefully and passionately pursue marriage, ministry, and much, much more.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you lean on God more during lean times or times of plenty? How has God proven himself faithful during times of need? Do you identify with Dena’s difficulty in finding a new way of relating to God after a season of crisis?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, you promise to be all I need, in every situation. Thank you for your sufficiency. Continue to remind me that in my humanness, I will never be “enough” for what each day brings. May I turn to you in both hard and joyful times. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, Amen.
P.S. by Mark Roberts: Dena Dyer is our guest writer for the daily reflections this week. You may know Dena already from her work at The High Calling where she writes, features community articles, and demonstrates hospitality to our community on Facebook. She has published five books, including Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms. Currently, she is focusing on her family and her career as a writer and speaker, but for many years, Dena and her husband were professional musicians. She is a delightful, positive, bubbly, smiling, thoughtful Christian with practical wisdom for all of us who are trying to integrate our faith and work. I pray that her words this week will help you focus on the Lord and be in deeper relationship with him. –Mark