Theologians have ascribed some names to God that I absolutely love. Some of them begin with Jehovah (the Hebrew name for God) and end with various Hebrew adjectives such as Jehovah Nissi (the Lord is our Banner; referring to His covering over us), Jehovah Ropheka (the Lord is our Healer), Jehovah Shalom (the Lord is our peace), and Jehova Tsidkenu (the Lord is our Righteousness or Redeemer). A more well-known one, that we have a hard time with as Americans is Jehovah Jira (the Lord is our provider).
I’ve been challenged in the last few months in the area of faith and trust in God. Is God really my provider? Can I really take a step of faith and trust God to provide for my every need no matter what goes on around me? I know some people who are church planters and heard from others who have taken a leap of faith that I am not sure I could do today. When I hear from them, I admire their faith, but am a bit ashamed by my lack of faith.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a conference where Mark Batterson (author of “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy day” and the much more simple titled “Primal”) was the keynote speaker. He is now a successful author and pastors a great innovative church in Washington DC, but as all church plants go, he started humbly. Mark recounted for us what it was like to have an income for the church of $2,000 per month with rent of $1,600. You can guess what his salary was. Though times were lean, God provided. Long story short, his church now gives over $1 million a year to missions, even though his congregation is 80% single 20-30 year olds.
Looking back through our history, it is easy to see that God is Jehovah Jira in our lives as well. Roberta and I have always been clothed and well fed (one might argue, too well fed). We have always had money to pay bills, even when on the surface the budget did not make sense. Roberta and I live in Portland, Oregon and own property in Tacoma, Washington about 150 miles away. We bought our home at the height of the market thinking we would live in Tacoma forever. God called us away, and we decided to rent our house out, with mixed results.
About a year ago, our tenet decided to stop paying rent. We have a mortgage payment in addition to our own living expenses. On top of not receiving income from rent, we had to hire an attorney to get them out of the house and recover the money owed to us-triple whammy! To make matters worse, our defunct tenet was on VA disability, so the money is unrecoverable. We lost about $2,000 in income, attorney fees and there is damage to the house that still needs to be repaired.
In all of this, we lost our minds, we were stressed out and worried. We cut our budget at every place possible and it was still red. We prayed and sought wisdom, and did everything we could to turn it around and get new renters as fast as possible, long story short: God showed up. I am not really sure how, but He provided. We escaped that 2-3 month period unburned, we stunk like smoke, but we did not get burned. By the time we got new renters, we did not miss a bill or meal. Jehovah Jira is the only way I can explain it.
This is just one example of how God has provided for us, when circumstances seem to have the upper hand. We are in the midst of it now. Our son was just born, and Roberta worked the last day with the family that employed her a week before he was born. We did our job and stockpiled as much money as we can in anticipation of her not working. We know that God has always provided in the past for us and we look forward to his continued provision! He is Jehovah Jira!
In what ways have you seen God provide for you? I would love to hear your story!