Day 22: Adonai Jireh // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 22 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
The Lord is good – indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress, and he protects those who seek refuge in him. – Nahum 1:7
Can I get really real with you guys?
I wasn’t going to write about this today. I had another post all prepared, but sometimes my plans aren’t the best and God has better ones.
Some of you know we are going through some financial trouble right now in my neck of the woods. I may go into detail another day, but for now, I just want you to know that I am currently experiencing my own level of brokenness and craziness over here, and believing and writing through it even when I would rather hide. Your prayers would be so appreciated as we navigate these choppy waters together. Sorry for being so vague, but it is still so fresh and tender that I would rather leave the details for another time.
In the middle of all this, I remember: oh yeah, I have a blog post due. Then I think: whose bright idea was it to write 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness when I’m the one who probably needs to read it the most?! But maybe that’s exactly why God had me write it. Maybe this series is part of my healing, and maybe God’s extra-kind plan is that it would overflow and heal you a little bit, too. So this is what I have for you today – just know that I’m speaking from a place of right-now experiences. I can only tell you with such confidence that it’s possible to have hope in the middle of brokenness because I’m in that position right ever-loving now. Still, standing in this place, I know He will pull us through it, and I know He will pull you through it, too.
Over the next few days, I need to dive into several aspects and names for God because I need to remind myself who He is and what He is like. This is important for any healing, but I think it’s especially important if you, like me, find that your pain can actually block out your view of God so that you can no longer see Him, because all you can focus on is your problem or your hurt. This is for people who have blamed God for their problems (raises hand). This is for those who struggle with understanding how God can be good and allow these things to happen to them (raises hand again).
There is a story in Genesis 22 that you may already know if you’re acquainted with the Bible.
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, Adonai-Jireh, or The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” – Genesis 22:1-14
The name that Abraham gave the site of the sacrifice in Hebrew is Adonai Jireh – God provides. I have come to believe this over time because God has proven it true to me. My life nor my family’s life has never been characterized by an overabundance of money, yet we have never gone hungry. I have struggled and gone through uncomfortable situations, including brief homelessness, being on government assistance, and serious family crises, but through it all, God has provided. Still, so often I forget this when the latest setback comes. Panic sets in and fear blocks out His face from my view. I forget that He has always provided, and He has promised to supply all my needs:
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26
Looking closer at the Hebrew roots of Adonai Jireh reveals something deeper still. Adonai means “The Lord” and Jireh comes from the root word ra’ah, which means vision or to see.
Christopher and I make a point of stopping whenever we have the chance to bless a homeless person. We pass many with cardboard signs at busy intersections in the downtown area of our city, and we keep a permanent $5 bill in the change drawer in my car specifically for when we see someone in need and don’t quite have the time to take them to lunch or bring them supplies. We believe it’s not what the person does with the money that matters, as much as our hearts being willing to obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting of compassion toward a fellow human.
I will never forget the time we stopped to talk a little with a middle-aged man holding a sign that said “REALLY HUNGRY. HONESTLY TRYING.” For our measly $5 and 2 minutes spent chatting while the light was red, he gifted us in return with the most beautiful insight. He said, “Honestly, the worst thing about being in this position isn’t that people don’t want to help, it’s that people don’t want to see you. Nobody makes eye contact with me anymore. I’m more or less invisible and it gets really lonely.” More than money, this man wanted human connection. Even just the tiniest acknowledgement that someone sees him and bears witness to what he is going through. Isn’t that what we all need?
This is why Adonai Jireh is a reminder I need: it’s not just important that God provides. It’s important that God sees us. Just like Isaac’s precious life, just like the homeless man, we are not invisible. We are important to our Father God, and more valuable than many sparrows. He has promised to provide for our every need, even the need to know we do not struggle alone and abandoned. He doesn’t just drop money in our cup, He wants to be our friend.
He is the One who knows my need because He sees.
May you see His hand in every hard moment and know you are never left to struggle alone. May we hang on to His promises, even when, like Abraham, we really don’t know what God is up to or how He could manage to work it out for our good. May we try our hardest to trust Him anyway. May we hold on tight and remember that even when we lose our grip, He is holding on tight to us. And may we remember that we serve a God who in His kindness, bends down and sees us in our brokenness. And, seeing us, chooses to meet our needs. Hallelujah.