The Hope of "Boring" Provisions

I recently jogged a 5K with my family. I know for a lot of guys, that’s merely a warm up, but I’m not one of those guys. From about the halfway point onward, I was struggling, and it was difficult to think about anything else other than the pain radiating from my left knee and my right ankle. We jogged through a park thick with beautiful trees on a delightfully brisk morning in mid-March, but my thoughts were fixated on the ache I felt and my desire to be resting at the finish line. I allowed the pain to draw my attention away from the glory that surrounded me.

Our trials can provoke us to a similar response. When life hurts, we can become so focused on the pain and the desire for it to end that we experience a kind of spiritual tunnel vision. Our gaze is only filled with the problem and getting out of it, so we miss the evidence of God’s goodness that surrounds us. Think with me about David’s words in Psalm 37:25:

I have been young, and now am old,
   yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
   or his children begging for bread.

He writes these words against the backdrop of the trouble experienced by the righteous at the hands of the wicked. This context helps us to see the importance of David’s observation for suffering Christians. Dale Ralph Davis explains, “I think contemporary servants of Christ can sometimes be rather blind to such crass, physical provisions.… I may be in the pit of despair, but am I, in that despair, at my kitchen table staring down at a bowl of cereal?... I may be at a loss in some dire turmoil, but do I still have a non-leaking roof over my head and a mattress underneath my restless body?”¹

Tunnel vision in our trials keeps us from seeing the grace of “boring” provisions like a mattress or a bowl of cereal. The problem with this is that these provisions are signs pointing us to the Provider. When we don’t see cereal as a gift, then we miss out on an opportunity for our gaze to shift from our trouble to our God. That cereal tells you something about God that will bring you comfort as you see it with eyes of faith: He cares, and He is faithful to give you what you need to serve Him with your life. Your food is a sign that God values you more than the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26). Your clothing is a sign that God values you more than the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28-30). This is no less true when your life hurts.  

When you are suffering, purposefully take time to look up, down, and around you. What boring provisions do you see? Are you wearing a clean shirt that you pulled out of a closet with a variety of clothing options? Were you able to put gas in the tank of a car that you own? Did you get something to drink simply by walking into the next room of your house? We may think that such things are boring, but that doesn’t mean they’re not deeply important. They are undeserved gifts from the God of the universe whom you call “Father” because He chose to love you eternally in His Son. Don’t let spiritual tunnel vision keep you from recognizing them. They are there to give you hope that the Lord has not stopped loving you in the midst of your trial, and He will provide you what you need to persevere.

¹ Dale Ralph Davis, In the Presence of My Enemies, 210

Note: This article originally appeared on We encourage you to visit The Center for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship where you can find helpful, biblical resources by a number of trusted pastors and authors.

Brent Osterberg




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