Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Almost every woman has experienced financial strain at some point in her life. It takes all kinds of forms. You may have struggled to launch out on your own―as a recent graduate or an entrepreneur. You may have tried to buy a house and realized you didn’t have the money you needed for they down-payment. You may have found yourself suddenly burdened by overwhelming debt. Or maybe you or your spouse lost a much-needed job.
Even right now, you may have reached the point (or have recently been at the point) where you were or are about to lose everything. There’s nothing to hold onto. Or is there?
Whether you have lost everything or you feel like you’re about to lose everything, the truth is that you cannot lose God. He was with you before the loss, and He will be with you through the loss and after the loss. He will be with you through the frustration, the exhaustion, and the disappointment. And along the way, He invites you to know Him as your provider.
Though the fear of lack is great, God’s provision is always greater. Your needs do not escape his notice. All of us will face a fear of lack sometime in our lives―whether it’s a lack of food, money, relationships, good health, or the basic provisions needed. No matter your income bracket, no one is immune to the fear of not having enough. But God is greater than any fear and he answers our fear of lack with an invitation to faith the He is more than enough. When you turn to him in prayer, you can’t help but discover the power of his provision in your life.
1. Think of a time when you were in great need. Did you take your need to God through prayer? If so, how did he respond? How did things turn out? How did you learn or grow through the experience?Throughout Scripture, we find God often described as a shepherd. He is One who provides, protects, and leads His sheep. One of the best portraits of the work of God as a shepherd is found in Psalm 23.
2. Take a moment to read Psalm 23, then record all the activities described. Once you record the activities, go back and circle the verbs or action words in your notes.Example: Makes me lie downNotice how active God is in your life! The psalm opens with the line, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1). Then, the passage goes on to show the many ways God is providing for us through his guidance, leadership, restoration, protection, comfort, blessing, and assurance. The truth is that God’s provision in our lives takes many different forme―and not just financial ones.
3. In what ways have you seen God, as described in Psalm 23, provide for you and your family?In 1 Kings 17, we read two powerful stories of God as provider back-to-back. The prophet Elijah is in need of food and God provides for him in two miraculous but very different ways.
4. Read 1 Kings 17:1-6 and 1 Kings 17:7-16. How did God supply food to Elijah in each situation?Recognizing that God could have continued to feed Elijah using the ravens, why do you think God told Elijah to go to the widow? How did Elijah’s lack of food become a source of provision for the widow and her family?In the New Testament, we read of another woman who was in great need. We know that she lacked because she is described as a “poor widow.” In the ancient world, widows lived in cultural context where they were more likely to be financially needy, with no one to care for them.
5. Read Mark 12:41-46. Though the passage does not say, what do you think motivated the poor widow to make her offering? Do you think this woman had a fear of lack? Why or why not? What was the result of her generous gift?
6. Like the widow, have you ever given out of your lack rather than out of your abundance? What was the result? How did you experience God as provider in the situation?In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear that He does not want you to fear any sort of lack, but rather he invites you to live by faith.
7. Read Mathew 6:25-34. What kind of lack ― financial, relational, etc. ― are you most likely to fear? What verse in this passage offers the most comfort or encouragement to you regarding that fear.
8. Is there any fear of lack that you can identify in your life right now? What is holding you back from handing that fear over to God and trusting that He will provide?
Ponder and Pray
The opening Scripture for this lesson comes from Philippians 4:6, where Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Little fears of lack can come into our lives at any time, but we’re particularly susceptible to them during times of transition. Whether you’re moving to a new job, a new location, or a new stage of life, you may wonder, Is God going to provide? What does Paul encourage us to do when faced with anxiety? What prayers petitions, and thanksgivings do you want to offer right now?
Adapted with permission from Overcoming Fear, ©2007 Margaret Feinberg. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy for yourself, click here.