“They wanted to kill you.”
It was 2006. I had just returned from a meeting in a village tucked deep inside the mountains of Afghanistan. The tribal elders had agreed to trade us their stockpile of bombs for food and supplies. We had hoped this exchange would limit the number of munitions floating around, and in doing so, prevent the Taliban from using them against American forces. We found out later that the Taliban knew about our meeting and had wanted to ambush us before we could get there. The village preferred the supplies over violence, so they asked them not to attack us.
A lot of veterans have stories like these. You might have your own “near miss” having nothing to do with war. As believers, our natural reaction to stories like this one is to acclaim God’s Provision in our lives. And you’d be right. But war changed how I understood divine provision. I was always REMINDED that the Lord’s provision is steady and continuous, but I was TAUGHT that His provision was no more spectacular than before.
My name is David Grantham. I’m a doting father of two young children at CCA and a veteran who had the pleasure of writing a book about my experience. We may have crossed paths before. I’ve had the privilege of speaking at the grammar school chapel (that was a tough crowd) and now have the honor of contributing a blog post for CCA!
It was humbling to realize how I had championed God’s provision in the extraordinary and forgot about it in the ordinary. I treated the Lord’s provision as if, somehow, I was the source of it, and God took over when things were out of my control. My own Jesus-take-the-wheel philosophy, if you will. (That will be the first and only Carrie Underwood reference).
Fast forward to now, and like so many of you, our family has gone through many moments of frustration, sadness, and relief over the course of the last 12 months. We could all probably give one example of God’s provision during these extraordinary moments. But amid that, I was reminded repeatedly of how God’s provision was constant regardless of my expectations and perspective.
When the search for bread, milk, and toilet paper, of all things, went from an ordinary purchase to an extraordinary find, it was easy to remember God’s provision - but having those goods at our fingertips before the pandemic was a testament to that provision too! After all, it can be easy to miss God’s provision in that loaf of bread…until it’s not there.
In scripture, we see how the Lord knew we would not be able to grasp the nature of his provision. Matthew 6:26 says that the birds of the air do not store up food in barns and our Father still ensures they are fed, and so, “are you not worth much more than they?” In 1 Chronicles 29:16, we are to know that our “abundance…is from Your hand, and all is Yours.” He is the ultimate source for all things big and small.
Our access to entertainment, food, money, heat, and water can begin to seem ordinary in a country like ours – those things are undoubtedly extraordinary for those elsewhere in the world. But even then, perspectives do not change the nature of His provision. I had a mistaken understanding of God's provision. And as my dad likes to say, “a wise man learns from his mistakes, but a wiser man learns from another man’s mistakes.”
May we be encouraged when God’s Provision is evident, confident in Him when provision doesn’t look the way we think it should, and may we never lose sight of His provision even in the smallest of things.