I heard a powerful story this last week about why God does not always answer our prayer requests for provision immediately :
A rabbi was once asked why God did not give the Israelites manna in the desert for more than one day at a time except on the sixth day when they were given enough for the Sabbath. He replied in the form of a parable:
Once there was a king whose son came of age. The king decided to give his son a yearly allowance. But a whole year went by before the king saw his son - until the day that the money was to be given him for another year. Even though he had not visited his father for twelve months, the son showed up on the very day he knew his father would be giving him his money. The king was lonely and longed to see his son everyday, not just once a year. He decided to make some changes. He decided to give his son only enough for each day and watched to see what would happen to their relationship.
An amazing change started happening. The once-absentee son came daily to receive from his father what he needed. The son realized his need for his father's companionship on a daily basis. Their relationship became close, just as the king had wanted.
That’s a picture of me and my heavenly Father, the king of Kings, who knows that I will not be desperate for Him and His provision if my coffers are full to overflowing. If all my relationships are perfect, if my health is vigorous. He knows, in His perfect wisdom and justice, to give me enough for today. Just today. Not tomorrow. Tomorrow’s trouble is for tomorrow. Not today. And He will there tomorrow because He is the King of the universe and the whole earth and everything that is in it is at His disposal. But I will miss the greatest treasure of all if I had a perfect life. I would not know that the Lord my God is with me, that He alone is mighty to save. That today, right now, He takes great delight in my need for Him, that He alone has the ability to quiet me with His love and that He is rejoicing over me with singing!
"...Who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end."
Deuteronomy 8:15-16 (ESV)
The number one goal my God has for me is intimacy with Him. My heart of stone can only be turned into a heart of flesh by meeting with Him daily. My trust will only deepen as I see Him provide for me today. The King of the universe can change my circumstances in a blink of an eye, but developing intimacy with my heavenly Father can only happen through a lifetime of trusting His provision on a day-by-day basis.
So instead of worrying or complaining about my need, I am going to count it all joy that I have the opportunity to see His hand in my situation as I cast my burden on Him today, knowing that He cares for me. I am going to praise Him that He wants intimacy with me-a staggering thought-and that these very circumstances I face that can so terrify me, without the right perspective, are going to bring me closer to Him as I trust His promises to never leave me or forsake me in my trouble. I am going to take Him up on those mercies that He offers me every morning. Great is His faithfulness to me!