During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a minor scare. I developed mild COVID-19-like symptoms that later, fortunately, turned out negative.
Due to the especially high volume of COVID-19 tests, it took me over a week to get an appointment, be tested, and find out the result. A week of waiting while self-quarantined within my own home seemed like an eternity! Even the dog stayed more than six feet away from me.
During the waiting period, I was put on paid COVID-19 sick leave at work. Paid (versus unpaid) leave made all the difference. As I ate meals by myself outside in the backyard, I reflected on how grateful I was for this employee benefit because our budget was tight.
I thought about people who did not have paid sick days during the pandemic and the financial pressure they must have felt. As COVID-19 cases soared across the country, I wondered how many people in the U.S. had symptoms of COVID-19 and went to work anyways because they had little choice.
There was peace and freedom in knowing that I was still getting a paycheck. Being on paid leave means that people are paid while taking care of something else, such as an illness, family member, or new baby. It’s being provided for, even when not working. Resting in that assurance, people are freed to focus on taking care of themselves or their family instead.
And so it is with God’s provision in our lives. He gives us everything we need and takes care of us, no matter if we are working, resting, sick, disabled, unemployed, or retired. Ultimately, we are not the ones providing for ourselves. God’s promise of provision gives us the freedom from anxious striving to make everything work out.
“The Lord Will Provide”
According to Jewish law in the Old Testament, ravens were considered unclean, lowly creatures. Jesus reminds us in the New Testament that if God provides for these animals, He will surely provide for us as well. He says in Luke 12:24, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (NIV).
It is in God’s nature—and name—to provide for us. Genesis 22:1-14 shows that when Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in obedience to God’s command, God stopped him and provided a sacrificial ram instead. Moses named the place Jehovah-Jireh, or “The Lord Will Provide.”
This was a foreshadowing of God providing His only son as a sacrifice for us so that we would not perish. Whether it is our need for eternal salvation or our daily needs, God is Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider.
Unfortunately, our self-sufficient human nature makes it easy to fall into the subtle trap of living like it all depends on us, rather than Him. We start to believe that we alone can fix our problems. We forget to surrender our cares to God. Unnecessarily pressured and stressed, we live like we are on unpaid leave.
An employer with a generous paid leave policy is said to have good benefits. But trusting God is the greatest benefit of all. His benefits last for more than a set number of days. No need to notify the boss or fill out paperwork. No use-it-or-lose-it rule. God’s benefits last for a lifetime. We just need to take Our Provider at His word and rest in what He has already promised to do for us.
Do you live as if you are on paid or unpaid leave? In what areas of your life do you need to trust God to provide?
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV)
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19