Consider the Flowers
Enthusiastic, creative, empathetic, and often late to meetings. David was, like all artists I know, a little bit scattered. But he had one of the most beautiful spirits—one of the most giving hearts—of anyone I have ever known. If you had a need, he was there to help. If you needed encouragement, his words were perfect.
He was, and is, the son and grandson of ethnically German missionaries in India. As he completed his studies in the US, he moved in with his brother who was studying with me in graduate school. David immediately became a vibrant member of our Monday night prayer group. One night he shared with us the burden that God placed on his heart to help the poor in Africa through medical missions.
He needed a Visa and applied to the consulate of the East African country to which he was called.
“Can you prove that you have enough money to live on for the summer and to buy a plane ticket to leave our country at the end?” they asked. “If you can’t, you can’t come here.”
In fact he had no money and was raising just enough to get over there. If he had been a US citizen, this problem would have been overlooked, after all, what American would go to Africa for welfare? But as he was an Indian citizen it was not. This poor country didn’t want another poor person to drain its resources.
He still felt called by God to work there. Somehow he needed to prove his good intentions or come up with a large sum of money before his internship was to begin. He gave permission to the consulate to check his bank account—an account where a couple of hundred dollars sat lonely for more. He said his prayers and had us pray.
He knew that if God indeed wanted him to go, he would make a way.
Imagine our surprise when he was granted a visa with no real money in his account. Imagine our further surprise when we found out that the agency responsible for granting the visa had seen $20,000 in his account.
How was this possible? The bank had made an error in his favor for $20,000 the day before his account was checked. The day after it was checked the bank caught the error and removed the money. David had all he needed for as long as he needed it. Not one minute more.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?...Look at how the lilies grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them (Mt 6:25-29).
Do you know that your heavenly Father has all you need? Do you know like David that God the Father is your Father and that he is looking out for you? Did he work hard to raise funds? Yes. Did he put time into communication and contacts? Absolutely. But well before his anxiety grew very great, the Father gave him what he needed. David story exemplifies the words of Jesus:
…the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
He had the same type of relationship with the Father that Jesus had. There was no fear between them. Only love. The Father wanted David to go to Africa and David said yes without condition. All the while he understood that the Father pays for what he orders.
If the bank’s “oversight” reassured the consulate and verified David’s faith, it also taught me. God promises to care for me as I walk with him. He supplies the needs of all who follow him. “Give us this day our daily bread,” I recite all the while remaining anxious about tomorrow and forgetting that I am speaking to the one who actually has more money, power, influence, and goodness than all the billionaires in the world. I am still learning this lesson. I am still learning to walk with the Father like Jesus did.
Jesus not only shows us the way to simple, beautiful faith, he is the way to it. When he lives in us, he gives us a new identity as sons of the Father. This means that all the Fathers riches are ours for as long as we need them. When we die and see our life from the vantage point of eternity, we will understand that all our wealth and gifts were fleeting like the lilies, and like them given to us for God’s glory.
There is little so beautiful as field of flowers which silently praise the Father by their very being. There is little so wonderful as the trust and peace sparrows show as they gather only for today and take no thought for tomorrow. But in fact a person alive to the truth of the Father’s love is even more beautiful, even more wonderful.
Heavenly Father: Grant that I may so come to know you as a good, loving, and providing Father that I may rest from all my anxieties about food, clothing, and the future. When I am anxious, remind me of your presence; when I am scared, remind me of your love; when I am worried about the future, give me the sure and certain knowledge that you are already there and that all is well where you are. Remove fear from my relationship with you. Forgive me for not trusting you, for not believing you, for not putting you first. Grant me a simple trust in you like Jesus had. Form in me the character of your Son that I might become who you say that I am, your son by adoption. This I pray in Jesus’ name.