When the people of Israel were rescued from slavery in Egypt, they were filled with joy and hope for the future. God had promised to lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey! The last thing they expected was to journey through a scorching hot desert. Soon, all their supplies ran out. They remembered their old days in Egypt when they had plenty to eat. They forgot the slavery and the many years of harsh labour they went through and grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
Moses prayed to God for help. And God promised to provide — not from their surroundings; rather, He would rain down bread from heaven itself. The Israelites were instructed to gather food — just enough for each day and to not keep anything for longer. The miracle of it all was that it was always sufficient for their needs, whether they gathered little or much. God was teaching them to depend on Him on a daily basis. And for the next 40 years, every single day without fail, God provided the sweet-tasting manna in the wilderness.
It may be hard to find any earthly good in our circumstances these days. Who would have imagined that life would turn out like this a few months ago? The book of Lamentations seems to be written for times like these though. You can feel Jeremiah’s overwhelming sense of loss as he wails over the desolation of God’s own city, Jerusalem. The Babylonians had destroyed everything and even the sacred Tabernacle lay in ruins. Those who weren’t killed were sent into exile.
The book of Lamentations seems to be written for times like these
Verse after verse, he cries out and asks God if He has not seen what has happened. But just as you start to get depressed, like a breath of fresh air, we come to Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” Nobody knows what is in store for the coming months, but there is one surety we can rest on. Just like the manna that rained from heaven, His everlasting mercies — which are new every single morning — promise to sustain, protect and provide for us.
The literal meaning of mercy is “compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Even the very breath we draw in and out and take for granted every day is a testimony of God’s love towards us. Psalm 3:5 says, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” He gives, and gives, and gives because He is good.
So, don’t dwell on the “good, old days” and dread the future — you will miss seeing the hand of God working for you in the present. Instead, ask the Lord to help you recognise it and give Him the glory.
Psalm 136 is a gratitude psalm that was sung in Solomon’s temple by the congregation to remind the people of how God led them to the promised Land. Each of the 26 verses of praise and thanksgiving ends with the declaration that “His mercy endures forever”.
When life knocks us down, as the songwriter wrote, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Reflecting on past mercies will give us strength for today and hope for tomorrow. As we learn to give thanks in every circumstance, we will understand that God is good in every circumstance.
As we learn to give thanks in every circumstance, we will understand that God is good in every circumstance
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” He will provide His mercies for today’s trouble and new ones for tomorrow’s. The greater the trial, the greater His mercies will be. We never have to fear them running out either, for He has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).
George Müller was a well-known evangelist who founded many schools and orphanages in the 1800s. One day at the orphanage, the housemother of the orphanage informed George: “The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat.” George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables, set for breakfast. There was no food at all, but he prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” And then he waited.
George knew God would provide food for the children as He always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. He had been unable to sleep at night because he was sure that the Lord wanted him to bake three batches of bread for the orphanage. “Children,” George said, “we not only have bread, but fresh bread.”
Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. The milkman brought in 10 large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.
In the 68 years of his ministry, George Müller never took a salary but trusted God to put in people’s hearts to send what he needed. He never took a loan, never went into debt and neither he nor his orphans were ever left hungry. What touched me the most about his testimony was how he always gave thanks for God’s providence before it came. He expected His God to help him — and he was never disappointed.
George Müller always gave thanks for God’s providence before it came. He expected His God to help him — and he was never disappointed
Sometimes, when God does not answer our prayers the way we expect Him to, we give up, assuming He has passed us by. We forget that He is not only our God, but also our Father. I don’t think there is anything that offends a father more than questioning his ability to provide for his family. How much more grievous would it be for our heavenly Father when we doubt Him! Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
When He sees His children in need, it always moves His heart. As a father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on us. And when we expect and give thanks for what He gives and what He is about to give, it delights Him to provide. Because He is God, He is always able to provide, and because He is our Father, He is always willing to provide. A good Father who gives not everything we ask for — but what we need, in ways that He deems best.
The same Father of George Müller and the Israelites promises to be faithful to you too. Call upon Him and the multitude of His mercies will supply your every need.
When all else is changing within and around,
In God and His mercy no change can be found.
— Charles Spurgeon
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