by THE SET APART GIRL TEAM
By ANNIE WESCHE
TO KNOW HIM AS PROVIDER
Her hand reached up into the cupboard and pulled down the jar designated for grocery money. As she peered inside, I saw a flash of anxious concern on her face. The jar was empty. Unaware that my young eyes were watching her, my mum set the jar back up onto the shelf, closed the cupboard door, and turned around. Any expression of anxiety was gone and a small, trusting smile rested on her face which grew wider the moment her eyes met with mine.
My mum was a praying woman. She taught me to bring every need to the Lord — humbly, earnestly, and expectantly — and to never be timid in asking big things of God or in bringing Him the smallest of things. In that moment, she didn’t hide the need from me. She shared that we were a bit short on grocery money for the remainder of the month and invited me to join her in asking God to provide.
Later that day, Mum came in from the mailbox with wet cheeks, eyes glistening with tears, and an overflowing love for the One who had faithfully provided for us once again. Resting on top of the mail had been an envelope of cash! Only three of us knew of the empty jar — Mum, myself, and our God. But God had stirred someone’s heart to meet our need, even before we had come to Him with it!
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
This moment in our family’s story of faith was just one of many that laid a strong foundation in my life for knowing God as our Provider. And as I’ve grown into adulthood and the needs have grown far greater, I have continued to see His astonishing, loving, timely, and purposeful provision.
When I was finishing high school, our family lost our home, and we found ourselves unsure of where we would live. After weeks of going to our knees each night to ask the Lord for His help, His provision came through an invitation to live in and care for a million-dollar mountain home! God’s answer not only met our need — above and beyond — but the home He provided for us also served as an amazing place of ministry for others in their own seasons of need.
When my dear mum was walking through her battle with brain cancer, the financial needs rapidly piled up. Our only hope to meet them was in God’s promise to provide for our needs. One day, someone sent us a check for $10,000 to use wherever we had need … with the encouragement to use some of it for making sweet memories with Mum during that time! It was far beyond anything we would have thought to ask for, and we were overcome by God’s goodness through the generous, compassionate heart of another.
This past year, I found myself under a weight of debt that I had been laboring to pay down for several years. I sought out a godly couple at church for their counsel and began fervently making it a matter of prayer. I was taking steps to take on some extra work and tightening my budget further, but God met my efforts with His astounding lovingkindness and mercy when people within the Body of Christ came forward to pay it off in full!
Beyond the material and financial needs I have faced, I have also seen God give me needed courage, discernment, wisdom, joy, hope, guidance, strength, words, grace, and creativity — teaching me that wherever I have need, He is my Provider. And so far, I have yet to find the boundaries of His supply!
In Genesis 22:14, God introduces us to His name Jehovah-Jireh, which means The Lord Will Provide. When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son out of obedience to the Lord, God stepped forward with His timely provision — a ram in the thicket as a substitute sacrifice. What a sobering and epic moment for God to reveal Himself as our Provider and a profound foreshadowing of the provision of God’s own Son, Jesus, to be the sacrificial Lamb provided to pay the penalty of our sin.
Something I long to train my heart to better remember in moments of need is this: God has already provided for our greatest need — paying the debt of our sin through His own Son, that in believing upon Christ as our Savior, we obtain His forgiveness of our sins and receive eternal life! If He has already provided for the greatest need we shall ever have, would He not also be willing and able to meet all the lesser needs we will undoubtedly face in this earthly life? (See Romans 8:32.) And as He has made a way for us to enter into a personal, intimate relationship with Himself, would He not then also delight to care for those He has created, chosen, redeemed, and drawn near to Himself?
We may not always receive what we are asking of Him, and His timing isn’t always in step with our own. But we can trust in the unchanging nature of our God — that He is Jehovah-Jireh. (See Malachi 3:6.) What He may provide for us while we wait upon Him goes far beyond what we would even know to ask for — perhaps deeper intimacy with Him, the strengthening of our faith, or a maturing of our heart’s desires. He may also be protecting us from things we cannot see. Or He may provide us with a far better provision — something we didn’t even know we needed.
His name and character must reign over our perceptions, longings, disappointments, or fears. As women of faith, we must trust Him with what we cannot yet see and be fully expectant for how He will provide. And may we also remember that our life is not our own, but His. Each fresh need that we have — whether emotional, spiritual, physical, or material — is an opportunity to know Him more and for Him to be more fully glorified in our lives.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
TO KNOW HIM AS HEALER
One Sunday morning, I set about my kitchen simply thrilled at the task before me — to make my new husband a piping hot bacon breakfast. My goal was, first, to bless my dear husband with one of his favorite foods and, second, to not smell like a piece of bacon myself by the time breakfast was served. I decided to bake it in the oven and streamline my order of operations. Quite satisfied by my solution, I stepped up to the task at hand.
How quickly a scene can change! Minutes later my newlywed moment was marred by hot oil that overflowed the warped cookie sheet and spread over my hand, disfiguring it instantly in the process. My mind went blank at the sight. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. This was more than a tidy burn that you plunge underwater or slather in aloe. My skin began rapidly showing signs of a second-degree burn, and the pain began to surge beyond what I could control.
I called for my husband. My husband called for Jesus. Together, we slowly stabilized my hand. Standing at the kitchen sink, Nate reassured me that this accident was not my fault and that it would be okay. He interspersed words of comfort with earnest prayers of healing for this ugly wound. My hand looked anything but lovely as it ballooned to accommodate the swelling blisters. I girlishly thought of how many times I took having a matching set of hands for granted and wondered if the scarring would be severe.
As family and friends shared natural remedies and trusty salves that promoted healing, we discovered that God had already provided a wealth of treatment options for us in and through His creation! I marveled at how honey instantly took the pain away while simultaneously providing an antibacterial barrier to prevent infection. But there was nothing so natural and powerfully effective as prayer.
Prior to my accident, I had experienced mild encounters of needing to rely on the Lord for physical healing. I was used to praying for a runny nose or for a stomach bug to pass. While I had taken stands for bold healing on behalf of others — cancer, chronic illness, and major surgeries — this was different. Never before had a need for physical healing been so up close and personal.
In the weeks that followed, the inflamed tissue angrily defied my faith to trust that the Lord would heal my hand without a scar. But I knew this was how the Lord was calling me to boldly pray in accordance with His character and nature. He was health! He was life! Hidden beneath sterile bandages and a thick layer of salve, the Lord was deeply at work … not just in bringing dead tissue back to life, but in something far deeper. God was strengthening my faith to watch what He could do.
The promises in Psalm 91 shone in a new light: “Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place … no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:9–11 ESV, emphasis added).
The Lord was my dwelling place. My position was in Christ, and as such, I was tucked close to His once- wounded side — the location of healing. (See Isaiah 53:5.) Each day presented an opportunity to find refuge in the Lord as the bandages were changed and a fresh round of prayer encircled my healing hand. As those days turned to weeks, my ever-present reminder of the need for physical healing turned my heart to meditate on how much we all need spiritual healing.
God’s Word says that Jesus came to heal broken hearts as well as broken bodies. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus proclaimed, “…He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…” (Lk. 4:18b), and we are told that He, “…went about … healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matt. 4:23, emphasis added).
However, Jesus used physical healing to serve as an external expression of an internal spiritual need. The greatest healing each of us need, and can ever experience, is that our souls receive healing from death-producing sin and are given eternal life in Him. This is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Lk. 5:31–32). He truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Sin is a sickness of the soul — one that brings death. But those who are made righteous in Christ are restored to wholeness, or healed! Praise be to Jesus that His blood washes away our sin and clothes us in His righteousness alone. Whatever the outcome — whether my hand would remain scarred or not — I had already received the greatest healing of all!
That unforgettable moment unfolded months ago. Today you can barely see the faint outline where fresh, new skin merges with the old. Jesus healed my hand without a scar — just as I prayed. What a beautiful healer is He!
By MANDY SAELER
TO KNOW HIM AS SHEPHERD
It was a cool autumn evening when crimson, rust, and cinnamon colored leaves had finally fallen to their rest. And a season of my life had done the same. I now found myself in the crux of a key decision concerning my future. I was prayerfully navigating the opportunity before me and began to feel that I needed to gain some outside perspective. As I sat down with trusted counselors, I laid out the decisions before me and shared the tug of war that was taking place in my heart. As my eager eyes peered across the table for their response, I truly didn’t expect what was returned to me, “We don’t know what to tell you…”
My eager eyes glazed over and a strong wave of helplessness flooded my heart. I had been diligently praying about the decision before me. And I had felt that it was the appropriate time to seek wisdom and input from godly mentors, only to be met with this. Even if my mentors didn’t have a clear directive to share, my lonely heart was aching for simple encouragement from the outside. And yet, there was silence.
My soul inwardly let out a sigh of disappointment and discouragement. Later that evening, I sealed myself away where my prayers could mingle with the frustration wrestling in my heart. I immediately reached for my worn brown leather Bible and opened to the Psalms, seeking consolation and a lift of truth for my disappointed heart. God met me as I resonated with the cry of the Psalmist, “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me … Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help…” (Ps. 28:1–2 ESV).
My heart bent beneath the yoke of His Word as I surrendered afresh to His leading, and through misty eyes I thanked Him that even when human help had seemingly failed me, He never would. I rejoiced in the reality that, “The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!” (Ps. 28:8–9a ESV). In the midst of making the decision before me, my heart longed for the comfort of His clear direction that would lead me in the way of His blessing and best.
As my eyes glanced over the very last sentence of the Psalm, the restlessness of the decision at hand lost its power and my heart came to its desired rest. “Be their shepherd and carry them forever” (Ps. 28:9b ESV, emphasis added). Imagery of a lamb being carried on the strong shoulders of its shepherd flooded my mind in that moment when my heart was weary and sought-out counsel was silent. I felt as though God was extending an invitation to my heart, to rest as a lamb in His fold, safe upon His shoulders and secure in His unfaltering footsteps. Above the noise of my circumstances, the invitation to rest in Him — trusting Him as my Shepherd — gave me renewed perspective as His Word infused my soul with heavenly peace. And there, in His Word, I found the encouragement my soul desired.
I was safe upon the shoulders of my Shepherd. He would lovingly carry me to His desired place. In Him, my heart was helped.
After spending time with Him, I rose from my seat with the song of the Psalm in my heart, “Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Ps. 28:6–7 ESV).
He had been my Rock in my time of weariness and weakness. He had been my Shepherd to carry and lead me in His way. He had been my Counselor who consoled and fortified my heart. Truly, my heart had been helped. And with a singing and refreshed heart, I gave Him thanks. Perhaps even more than settling on a decision about my future, or even receiving the counsel I had sought, this was what my heart needed.
On that cool autumn night I learned a valuable lesson. Even when our motives are honoring to God, humans can fail to meet us when we feel we need them the most. But God, our God, never will. He will be our Shepherd and carry us — forever.