Context

I've been going through a season this whole summer of waiting. I was waiting for money for school, and was sure that something would come through that would let me keep all of the extravagant things that I had planned for this semester.

I was assigned to live in the on-campus apartment, which is pretty much top-of-the-line as far as housing is concerned on my campus. It's not actually very easy to get a spot in one of these apartments, especially with two requested roommates. As you can imagine, I was very excited to be moving into an actual apartment with two great friends.

But the weeks went on. We wrestled with the financial aid office for months, ultimately with no results. Honestly, I've been a bit of an emotional wreck this whole past week. The overwhelming weight of not knowing whether or not I'll be in class on Monday, or whether I would have anywhere to live if I did, was crushing. The helpless feeling from the endless phone calls and emails and web searching stole my peace every morning.



At the same time, I was trying to trust God. I was trying to figure out what that looked like in my situation. I have a list of scriptures on how the Lord hears your prayers, and knows the desires of your heart, and promises to be your provision. Mark 11:24 has been my mantra:

24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Don't get me wrong: I absolutely still believe that this scripture is true. I prayed, am still praying, for the opportunity to go back to school.

I still believe that God is doing that, but I don't think He's going to do it the way that I planned. Obviously.

Here we are, with school starting in three days, and move in day tomorrow. I still am scraping together the last of my fees, and bewildered by the thought of paying for books. I expected the Lord to just drop a check in my mailbox, easing all of my needs in one lump sum. That's not the way it's happening.

I've been blessed tremendously with practically free housing, which I was hesitant about taking at first. I was very reluctant to give up my apartment spot, and this room would put me out of my very limited comfort zone. But it did make it a lot easier for me to be able to go back at all.

Looking at my situation, and seeing how things aren't going as I'd imagined, I remembered a passage of scripture that is normally left without it's context.

Everyone has heard "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," and seen it plastered on posters and coffee mugs and journals. But the verses before it, contrary to the insinuation from the use of this verse, are not about conquering obstacles and slaying giants. They're about being in need.

 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4

What Paul is saying here is that he has seen it all. He has been in need, and he has seen abundance. And in everything, He gives glory to God. Not just when things are clearly blessed an prosperous. He has been poor and rich, and the Lord strengthens him to do it all.

That's the strength that I am claiming now. I've had plenty, and been able to bless other people with the overflow of what the Lord had given me. Now, He provides my needs as they come, and I do not have the abundance that I once had. But I can still do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I can make it through this semester, even though I don't see how it will happen right now. Because my God is good, and He hears my prayers, and He provides for my needs according to His riches and glory. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

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