“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV).
“A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.” ~Mark 12:42 (NRSV).
The poor widow may have been bereft of resource, of visible means, though there was prospect aplenty.
Her faith portrays belief in good prospects—she acts in belief of Jeremiah 29:11.
It wasn’t the chink of those copper coins hitting the other currency in the offering box that made the statement. What spoke loudest was the size of the faith-laden hope in the movement of those coins from the widow’s hand into the receptacle.
We Don’t Know Faith Until We Give, or Are at, Our Last
There is a fundamental truth at the end of things.
The darkest valley, the lowest ebb; this is where we find Jesus. This is certainly where the poor widow has found Jesus. Or did he find her? The Lord was clearly endeared to her marvellous, solemnly-requited faith.
The trouble is, for many of us, those darkest valleys and lowest ebbs come sporadically, if at all. Yet, they only need come once; then our minds are transformed by just what the Lord, by our faith, can do.
Then we know faith.
It was when we were poor in spirit that we were truly blessed, and as the mind travels back in time to that situation there is a strange imperiousness we feel; we envy ourselves over those times. However thankful of delivery are we doesn’t make up for the comparative sense of distant intimacy that characterises our relationship with God now.
We knew God better under the severest of conditions.
Not Just a Stormy Weather Faith
The foregoing, despite its truth, perhaps depresses us in a self-conceited way. Rather than lamenting a diminished intimacy with the Lord, we ought to be resplendently thankful for our present highly-favoured circumstances.
Faith is not just for hard times; it’s a beacon, a light of truth, toward the extension of service in the name of God. That service, by its very nature, will demand more faith of us than before. This is the will of God.
God’s Plans Are Good in Plenty and in Want
In spite of all circumstances in life—the tumultuous, the trite, and the congenial—what stands static, by the nature of provision, is the Lord God.
Faith is a marvel despite life’s intention—for and against and in between.
There may be no link between our life circumstance and our sense of contentedness. This bemuses and perplexes us, unless we understand that God’s plans are good no matter how we feel.
As the poor widow showed, a simple expression of faith provides hope. And whether we are in plenty or in want we need hope. The circumstances of life don’t discriminate. The rich person is not necessarily happier than the pauper.
When life has explained this understanding to us we are better for it.
The Lord’s plans are good despite our circumstances. They are sufficient for us. For better and for worse; there for both, is God.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.