The gift of lack

Last year was a rough one. Not terrible, just trying. Our family faced lots of challenges regarding work, health, and finances, and I’ve been hoping that things will be easier this year. But let me tell you about what God is teaching me right now, because there are some wonderful things that I have gained from these challenges.

One day in particular, I was frustrated and discouraged about money being tight, again. I was also very, very tired. I felt like I was giving all I had and always coming up short.

I opened my Bible to the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”1 The picture is of dependence, of having to come to God each day for enough to make it through that day. There was no running around like a crazy person trying to get it all done, rather the confidence that God will give us enough. Every day.

Isn’t it embarrassing to be that dependent on God? Doesn’t that suggest we don’t have our act together? Or that we’re lazy or unsuccessful? I’ve had to reframe how I look at lack and want in order to see the things that God has been trying to show me. Lack is an opportunity to draw closer to God, to learn to trust in His goodness and not in my abilities.

This isn’t just regarding financial lack. What about loneliness? Or disability? Or anything that causes emptiness? I’ve noticed that when I feel lack or emptiness, my first reaction is to try to fill that void to feel better—friends, stuff, entertainment, accomplishments, and “productivity.” But right now I’m in a position where I’m forced to take a look at what’s going on in my heart and life. I’m getting to the root of some of my fears and other issues, and I’ve found myself being grateful for this opportunity for spiritual growth and the lack of distractions.

In the seasons of life, sometimes we bloom and blossom, and sometimes our branches are bare and our roots are forced to go deep to survive the winter. Spring always follows winter, though. If you’re in the season of lack, maybe God is using this to show you His goodness. Maybe He wants to show you His faithfulness and the beauty of depending on Him. He’s your good shepherd (and mine), and He will take care of us.

  1. Matthew 6:11