When Provision Doesn’t Seem Good

When Provision Doesn't Seem Good

As overseas workers, we understand the desperate, overwhelming need to experience the provision of God.

We live our lives in a way that requires his help, his care and his protection. Especially this year.

From budget raising to visa applying to family traveling to frantic packing, we know how important it is for God to provide. We need him to move on our behalf in specific ways on a daily basis as we set up lives in far away places.

In the times we are currently living, we face sickness, loneliness, unknowns and disappointments. We’re living out circumstances that are vast, scary and quite complicated.

Our need for provision is deeply felt overseas because in most of these situations, we can’t make them happen on our own. We can’t provide these things for ourselves. There’s nothing we can do within our own power to make a government office allow us to stay in the country or get papers to be processed any faster or make an appointment where there is none available. We can’t run to Walmart for an important truck part or force understanding in a cultural or language mistake. We need God to provide for us in all of these things every single day.

I’ve often joked that the simple act of leaving our house requires God’s help and provision. I know that things on the other side of our gate are beyond my control. I need his help in every coming and going, provision in each step we take in the community around us. We go in faith that God’s provision is before us, behind us and around us.

Thankfully, we have amazing promises all through Scripture about God’s provision, his care, and his blessing. We know that he took care of the people in the wilderness, he provided for Noah’s family on the ark, he sent provisions to the widow and her son in the desert and on and on I could go. He gave care to the lilies of the field and provided food to the ravens. We read about provision many times over from the front cover of God’s Word to the very last page.

Yet, what happens when we feel like God didn’t provide?

What happens when we are met with disappointment, frustration and pain because our prayers weren’t answered in time or the needed paperwork didn’t arrive or our kids have to endure another unplanned transition?

What do we do when it seems like hope is lost and our worst case scenario is coming true?

How do we cling to God’s promises of provision when bad things happen? How do we keep trusting when we know that God could have provided healing, finances, restoration or protection in our current situation?

What happens when provision isn’t what we thought it would be?

Unfortunately, many of these questions won’t be answered until we see Jesus face-to-face. These are big, real, honest questions that can’t be answered here on earth in a way that satisfies our human thoughts.

God’s plan, his purpose, his way is bigger, higher, deeper than anything we can imagine or know. He is all-encompassing through each page of history and into the future. He is all-knowing in ways we can’t possibly understand.

He’s the mighty king, perfect creator, way maker, and amazing designer of everything. He is the holy writer of an incredible redemption story, a story that he invites us to be a part of as his royal and loved child.

Provision is in the knowledge of our God, in our sweet relationship with him, in our hope for eternity with him. It comes in daily lessons of trust, quiet moments of desperation, precious laughter and long nights full of tears. Provision is peace in the storm, calming of waves, faith that moves mountains and an understanding that God’s story is unfolding before our eyes.

As it unfolds, we don’t always have a peek into what God is doing or get a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Yet, we still see provision all around us… a friend to help us move for the fifth time, a local pastor faithfully serving his congregation or a youth from a local church grasping and accepting a relationship with Jesus.

We experience small miracles on busy travel days. We find patient strangers who help us with language, kind supporters who bless us at the holidays, precious neighbors who share their meager supplies and generous shop owners who teach us lessons in culture.

I’m learning that in big things and small things, God is providing.

I’m also learning that when it seems like God isn’t providing at all or things aren’t going the way I need them to go or situations aren’t working out how I’d planned, God is still providing.

He’s providing opportunities to seek him with everything I have, to lean on him in ways I have yet to know. He’s giving me moments to pause, to wait, to rest, to trust as he works on plans that are bigger than me.

He’s with me in the storm whether the storm calms or not.

He’s a solid rock even when the earth shifts beneath my feet.

He’s catching my tears every single time my heart cries.

He’s patiently helping me learn deeper levels of hope, trust, rest and dependence.

God is providing in beautiful ways even when those ways don’t always feel that great.

Sometimes provision is hardship, struggle and pain.

In Jonah 4, we see a moment where Jonah experienced God’s provision in the form of a vine, a worm and the hot sun. I don’t think Jonah was exactly excited about God’s provision that day.

In Deuteronomy 8, the children of Israel learned faith lessons through the desert as God humbled and tested their hearts. Again, the children of Israel wouldn’t have chosen to learn lessons through walking the wilderness.

But God, in his greatness, is working and moving and providing in ways we can’t see through situations we can’t always understand.

Sometimes, we get to look back and see. We get to have questions answered and moments of realizing how much God really was at work in a specific time of your life.

Other times, we wait. We trust. We have faith. We keep going knowing that God is at work, knowing that God is providing all things in all situations exactly as we need for that time, that place.

I don’t know how you’ll look back over this year and see God’s provision. I don’t know the circumstances of your 2020. But I do know that God is providing for you.

He is teaching and working and doing something amazing, now and forever, even in the most difficult days.

How is God providing for you? Are you seeing him provide in unexpected ways?

Do you need his provision in a specific area of your life?


  1. Theresa December 10, 2020

    I’ve had this up in my browser because I’ve wanted to thank you for writing it—I named one of my sons Jonah, and it was no fun coincidence that a huge lesson in those early days of his life is that God’s provision doesn’t necessary look how I’d want (like the prophet: PROVIDING a worm to eat my shade?! what!?!)… other parts of this reminds me of Psalm 46: “though the earth give way, we will not fear.” Thank you for sharing these thoughts and passages!!

    1. Theresa December 10, 2020

      Yikes, sorry for typos… though I guess if autocorrect is going to drop in a random word it may as well be “fun” … ?? 🙂

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