Have you ever asked a really dumb question?* I’m not talking about totally random or off-topic inquiries. I’m talking about straight up Dumb & Dumber-type questions.** These are the kinds of questions that, if we would only take a moment to think – to remember – the answer would be painfully obvious to us.
I had one of these moments a couple nights ago as the very first purchase offer came in on the house that my wife and I are trying to sell. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that the offer was a lowball. We’re talking, like, a grounder. Like a “4-year-old-swinging-at-a-t-ball-but-hitting-the-tee-and-the-ball-plops-forward-barely-in-play-but-the-coaches-yell-’RUN!’-anyway-because-they-feel-bad-that-the-kid-can’t-hit-anything” kind of lowball offer. It was a stressful and emotional evening as my wife and I talked through the options and looked at all the financial implications. No matter how things panned out, we would be taking a hit. And at the heart of the matter was one simple question:
“Will God provide for us?”
I was reminded of exactly how silly this question is as I read in the book of Numbers the very next morning. After being miraculously delivered from slavery, the Israelites turned into a bunch of malcontents while being led through the desert wilderness, and the following scene ensued in chapter 11:
“18 You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. 20 You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
21 But Moses responded to the Lord, “There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat for a whole month!’ 22 Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?”
At this point, I picture God half-laughing, half-rolling his eyes, half-ready to wipe them off the face of the earth.***
God’s response in verse 23 is perfect: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!’”
Needless to say, the Israelite camp was overrun with quail for the next month.
As of this moment, I don’t know if our counter-offer on the lowball has been accepted. I don’t know if/when our house will sell and for how much. When I start looking at all the have-nots and all the numbers in front of me, I have no idea how everything is going to work out.
But I do know that God’s arm has not lost its power. The same God that flooded the desert with quail; the same God that fed over 5000 people with just a few loaves of bread; the same God who has the power to conquer the grave; this same God is more than capable of providing for my needs. That is where my peace, confidence, and joy lies.
Are you trusting in his mighty arms today?
* I was a high-school English teacher for 10 years, and yes, there ARE such things as dumb questions.
*** Yes, I know that makes three halves. That’s trinitarian theology, right?