When I was a little girl my mother used to read to me Aesop’s fables. One of my favorites was the story of the Milkmaid and Her Jug. This is the story of a young milkmaid on her way to market to sell her milk. On the way she makes plans to buy a hen with the money from the milk, from the hen she plans to raise a brood of chicks, and from the money she plans to make from the sell of the chicks, she plans to buy a new dress. But alas, she spills the milk before she gets to the market and the moral of the story is ‘don’t count your chicks before they hatch.’
Not long ago the Lord gently opened my eyes to reveal how little I really trust Him. I pray and then I hesitate to act because fear constrains me when the risk of action is beyond my ability to foresee and manage the outcome, or I pray and like the little Milkmaid begin to devise my own plan of action putting my trust more in my own plans than in the One who is able is able to do exceedingly more than I ever imagined.
Several months ago I began to make plans to go see my son who lives in a nearby state. I literally have counted my chicks before they hatch – hoping to sell several hundred chicks to fund the trip, but multiple problems with the incubator have resulted in devastating losses. Last week, as the date of our departure draws closer, I began to be very burdened with a growing concern that we would not have the funds to make the trip and I contemplated charging some of the expenses – relying on income that is not yet in the bank and still trying to figure out how to control my own circumstances rather than trusting the Lord to provide.
When I began to pray about our trip, I realized it was something that I wanted so badly I did not want to accept the possibility that it might be irresponsible to make the trip if we did not have the money on hand to go. Looking deep within my heart I discovered I was reluctant to really give this trip to God because my childlike heart did not want to let go of another treasure. I love my son; I miss him and I want to see him. I did not trust that my Father in heaven is willing to give good things to them that ask Him – I wanted to go whether it will be good for me or not.
Sometimes I am so shocked by the selfish, childlike, motivations of my heart, and I am deeply grieved that my heart still does not seek first the kingdom of God and rest in the assurance that my heavenly Father knows those things which I truly need and those things which my children need. I should know that to let go of my own agenda and lay up treasures in heaven does not mean that I am asked to love less – in fact I think it means that I love more. However, it also means that I trust all things come from God’s hand for His glory; it means I love Him and love to do His work more than I love my own agenda – or my own children; it means I not only trust my own heart to His hands, but also the hearts of those whom I love.
God is so patient and gracious with me and I often wonder how many times He must teach me the same lesson before I really let go of the things to which I cling and trust Him with all things in my life. Because I did not trust, and therefore did not ask, I was afraid that if I could not see the possibility of the funds coming from within my own resources there would be no other possible way for us to go.
However, when once more my hands are pried from those things to which I cling and I surrender them to my heavenly Father, my heart can rest easy knowing that I do not have to guard my treasures, figure out how to keep them, or -in this case- figure out how to fund them. Sometimes when we let go and give something to God, He then provides through our resources; sometimes He gives us wisdom and creative ideas; sometimes He says ‘no’ and we must accept that He knows what we need – not for our comfort but for our growth. But in all things He seeks to be glorified, and therefore sometimes He provides in such an unseen, unexpected, way that we are awed and humbled. Such was the case yesterday when a completely unexpected visitor left an envelope on my counter with the exact amount we needed for the trip.
To God be all the glory, not because He has blessed us, but because He has redeemed us and calls us His own and gives good gifts to His children.