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Performance and Providence

Last night, my family and I attended a recital for our oldest son. His music teacher showcased her students hard work from the last few months and years, and the students demonstrated what they had been learning. Our son has been learning piano, and for quite some time now, he's been learning "Do You Hear What I Hear." When it was his turn, he strode up to the keyboard, and began to show what he could do. The only drawback: he forgot his sheet music at his seat. In spite of this, he was able to play his song from memory; it wasn't perfect, but he did an excellent job. Why? Because his hours of practice had prepared him for that moment, and, as we all know, in the moment we're expected to perform, many things can and do go wrong, and the show must go on. He was disciplined, and, in spite of not having everything he needed, his practice gave him what was necessary to complete the task put before him when he needed to perform it. (He read this before I published it, and, consequently, he gave me permission to tell this story.) Why do I bring this up? Because, in many respect, this is what our walk with Jesus should be. We need to practice our faith in periods of rest. We should, of course, practice it at all times, but especially in periods of peace and rest because these moments prepare us for what is to come. If we are in God's word daily, when the moment of need comes, we have the tools from Scripture to rely upon God's promise and provision in our time of need. If we treat God as our provider in times of plenty, we will rely on His provision in times of need. We shouldn't be fair-weather friends of God, calling upon Him only in our need. Rather, we should be reliant upon Him at all times, so that in plenty and in need, we cling to the cross as our guide, standing upon God's word so that our dependence is on God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. We practice so that when the test comes, we perform. We trust God in the good times, so that when the trials come, we know who to cling to. Philippians 4:4-13 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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