A “Just In Time” God
During the past several months, I have marveled at how God seems to know what our family needs are; and then delivers just in the nick of time. Now once or twice I can understand, but this pattern has happened MANY times so far this year. There’s no denying that our family has had its share of hardships this year, but God has really come through in a big way and I know that every one of of our family members would agree with my statement.
I am reminded that years ago there was a groundswell of support for something called “just in time” inventory management. Now I’m not an expert in these areas, but the basic idea was that companies carefully monitored what they had in raw materials and worked with their suppliers to deliver additional goods to the warehouse just before the current stock ran out. By adopting this kind of process, companies were able to keep their inventory levels at a minimum – and that meant that they didn’t have to tie up as much money in raw materials. Likewise, fewer dollars were invested in parts that had not yet been produced and consequently, accounts payable levels were usually lower.
The key to the success of the whole system was in the relationship between the company and its suppliers. Because the process involved a great deal of trust between the parties. If inventory levels were running very low, and the trucks did not arrive with new material, then the plant would be idle, paying its workers for not working, and that can get real expensive very quickly. But when the whole things works, it is a thing of beauty.
Suppliers stay in touch and understand, almost at a partnership level, the needs of their clients. And the companies save time and money as long as they continue to communicate their needs and have able suppliers who have earned a high degree of trust and cherish their roles as integral to the success of their clients. These relationships are great, but they don’t happen overnight.
This is where the story turns to God. Because, unlike the client/vendor relationships I talked about earlier, there is no reason that God has to deliver what we want, when we want it. In fact, God doesn’t have to do anything at all for us. This isn’t a value for value relationship with God. Now God loves us, and wants us to love Him as well. But that doesn’t mean that He has to respond to us when we petition Him for our desires.
It does help to trust God, and in my case, I even expect miracles from God – but that’s something that I have come to appreciate after years of building my relationship with God. By the way, by no means does that suggest that I get everything I want – because I don’t. However, God does meet my every need. And therein lies the difference. Want vs. need….
Another thing I should mention is that sometimes we don’t know what we need – or what God has in store for us. What we may consider a “need”, God may think of as a “want.” And our perception of immediate is usually far different than God’s definition of immediate. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was in desperate need for something that in the final analysis, I really didn’t need at all. Other times, I have received a positive response to my prayer but not as soon as I thought I should have. Who do I lay the blame on – God? I don’t think so…. He’s not bound by the same timeframes that I embrace.
I have come up with the idea that God marches to His own beat when it comes to timing. And if you think that “just in time” inventory management can be awesome, just wait until you experience God’s “just in time” scheduling. I have rarely known God to be early, but I have never seen Him late. He is the ultimate master at “JIT” processing. What’s even more exciting is that God usually delivers things in a way that I never even thought of. The more I depend on Him, the more I am amazed at the choices He makes for my life. Far better than the choices I am capable of making…..
The verse for this evening reflects God’s knowledge of our needs. In Matthew, and several other places in the Bible, God tells us not to act like the pagans who want to depend on themselves. In fact, in Matt. 6:8, we are told, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Is that awesome or what? God knows our need before we even ask. He is the ultimate “supplier” to partner with. He is more attentive than any earthly supplier we could ever depend on.
I want to encourage you this evening to let go and let God make the big decisions in your life. Even if you think you know what you want, try to stay open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It may be God directing you into another path. My prayer is that God will dazzle you with His “just in time” system. It’s scary in the beginning, but what a great way to live by faith each day. Pretty soon, you wouldn’t have it any other way. I know I wouldn’t. Grace and peace…