Don’t Rent That Clown Suit Just Yet…

We’re funny creatures, us humans.  We ask our heavenly Father to provide for us then we try to figure out how he’s going to do it.

We pray, then our wheels begin to turn.  Let’s see, I could get a second job.  I could sell my signed Justin Bieber poster on eBay.  I could rent a clown suit and do kids’ parties…

And when we can’t see how he will be able to answer our prayers, we worry.  Our fertile imaginations construct all kinds of “what if’s” in our mind.  What if I don’t have the money to pay my tuition?  Then what if I can’t get a loan?  And I have to get a job flipping burgers?  And what if I don’t make enough doing that and I have to start living under a bridge and turn to a life of crime?  And then get caught and put in prison next to an axe murderer?

Worry is essentially us trying to figure out the future.  Or how God will work in the future.  And when we don’t see how God can do it, we get fearful.  If we can’t see exactly how he’ll provide, or deliver or heal us, we worry.

But God’s not dependent on means.  He’s not dependent on our company or the economy to provide for us. He doesn’t need doctors, medicine or technology.  He often uses means, but doesn’t need them.  He can heal with a word.  Or put a gold coin in the mouth of a fish.  Or multiply a few loaves and fishes.

“We never consider that God can open the eyes of the blind with clay and spittle, he can work above, beyond, and even contrary to means… “Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain, yet the valley shall be filled with water” (2 Kings 3:17).  God would have us to depend on him though we do not see how the thing may be brought about.” Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Did you catch that last sentence?

“God would have us to depend on him though we do not see how the thing may be brought about.”

Someday in heaven we’ll get to trace all God’s providences.  Won’t that be fun?  We’ll say see, here’s the day I offered that prayer.  On that same day, God gave a man in South Africa a new idea and he did this….that changed the way people did this…which created a market for this.  Which caused my boss to transfer me across the country….which led to me meeting my wife…

Part of the joy of heaven will be following all God’s providences and worshiping him for his infinite wisdom and goodness.

Our job is to depend.  To trust.  To pray and thank God for his faithfulness.  To rest.  God’s job is to run the universe and care for his children.  He’s pretty good at it.  And he’s got ways of answering our prayers we don’t even know about.  So don’t rent that clown suit just yet…

  • Jim Hutson

    This is a timely post for me as I face so much potential worry. Though, in my defense, I am learning more and more to default to His ability rather than my own.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Jim,

      I'm grateful the post was helpful to you. My first couple years as a Christian were anxiety-filled. I worried and was anxious a lot. But the Lord has helped me learn to trust him more and more over the years. I'm sure he'll keep doing that in your life as well, just like you mentioned.

  • Rachel McC

    We've had our clown suit renting temptations too and it is so exciting to see when we look backwards at how God has worked. Feels like standing on an edge of a cliff with no way back and no way forward and blackness all around. Then one step at a time God clears the way and you walk across with faith and you get so excited because you realize He couldn't have done it any better way! And you rejoice and you take heart and refuse to be blinded when the next black cliff-hanging moment comes against you. I LOVE talking about what He has done. Thrills my heart with what He MIGHT do! And causes me to rejoice at how ridiculously and undeservedly blessed I am.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Rachel,

      What a great description of the experience of trusting God and seeing his hand of providence! Thanks for adding it. I love your enthusiasm and excitement for the Lord!

  • annlouisemetcalf

    Mark,

    Thank you for your post. I think this is one of my deepest sins. My fear. Fear of the future, fear of past sin, fear of the present. I essentially say " I am sovereign, and God is not" when I fear. Unbelief seems to be the root of all my sin. I just want my trust in Him to increase and for myself to decrease. Its painful to rely on my flesh. I cant wait to be in heaven with you listening as God shows us why He did certain things and how He worked on our lives!

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Ann,

      I know that Jesus is going to give you increasing victory over your fear. Realizing the root of our struggles is half the battle! I like how the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. I think that’s what we need to do so often. yes – won’t heaven be wonderful! Thanks for adding your comments!

  • http://www.judahupdate.blogspot.com briana

    One of my favorite posts, Mark. I'm passing it onto my caregroup. I think it will be timely for many of them as it is timely for me and LA, too.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks so much Briana! I hope it encourages your care group.

  • http://speakingtothesoul.blogspot.com Nicole McLernon

    Thank you so much for posting this. It was exactly what I needed to hear today.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thank you, Nicole!

  • Jim

    This is a huge struggle for me right now. I read James 1:5-8 and I see myself as a double-minded man, and James says, "For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord." So I am in a Catch -22 where I lack the ability to ask in faith, but then I read that God WON'T answer if I have doubt, and it just get's worse. How do I overcome being a double-minded man?

    (And by the way, I'm not a newbie- been saved 30 years, graduated from Bible School and Seminary, and spent 17 years as a pastor– I should know better than this by now!)

    • Mark Altrogge

      Hi Jim,

      Some believers are particularly prone to this kind of struggle, though all of us must deal with it to some degree. I hate to give a quick answer, without being to ask you more, but here are a couple thoughts. And maybe you've done all these things. We can always ask for more faith, like the disciples did. And we can confess our doubts – I believe, help my unbelief. Then I'd say we must just continue to fight to believe – which would be in addition to asking for faith, reminding ourselves of God's promises or thanking God for them, for example, "Thank you Lord, that you have promised to supply all my needs in Christ Jesus. Thank you that your steadfast love never ceases and your mercies never come to an end. Thank you that they are new every morning, etc."

      Also, you could confess your struggles to others and ask them to pray for you – God gives grace to the humble!

      Thanks for asking, Jim. You're not the only one who struggles in this way. I believe that Jesus is more interested in giving you faith than you are in receiving more – I believe Jesus will help you. And he's interceding for you right now!

  • http://www.delvinginto.com Drewe

    Thanks for the post Mark. Just what was needed right now!

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks Drewe!

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