We received the news of Clay’s diagnosis on a Tuesday afternoon around 3 pm. Right away, we told our family they all needed to come as soon as possible so we could tell them the news. Almost immediately, there were about 20 people in that little hospital room with us. We were surrounded by love and strength and support. It felt so good to know that we had so many people ready to hold us up and walk with us through what was sure to be the most difficult time in our lives. It felt so surreal. So untrue. So impossible to believe. But, the love we felt within minutes was amazing.
But, soon enough, everyone left, and Clay and I were alone in the room, laying in that little twin size bed in silence. I was holding him in my arms and crying out to the Lord in the dark. One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was Philippians 4: 10-20. Now, before I tell you the entire passage, let me tell you why this was in my thoughts. I was laying in that bed thinking about how much we were going to need. My thoughts started spinning as I imagined having to manage all of our affairs on my own. We have a big house that always needs work, I didn’t know what would happen with Clay’s business, I thought of my kids and how many things they are involved in, I thought of medical bills piling up, and many more necessities that would need to be met right now.
We often cling to verse 19 of this passage, which says, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I have a wise pastor who once taught on this scripture and he showed us how, often times, we take this passage out of context. When you read the entire passage, you will see that Paul is specifically talking to the Philippian church who supported him financially when he was in need. He even says that they were the only church who gave him financial support for a while. He tells them that he is not bringing up this subject because he needs anything from them at the time, but because he wanted them to know that God would bless them for their faithfulness in giving. He states this promise (that God will supply all their needs) to the people who supplied his needs. Not just to every Christian. It is a specific promise to people who gave when they had excess and when he had need.
Now, don’t get me wrong. God is good and He is sovereign and He can do whatever He wills to do. So, for people who have never given a dime in their lives to someone in need…God can still supply their needs. Never allow yourself to limit God. But, if you want to pray this scripture and claim it as a promise, you must be a giver. You must be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and do what He puts on your heart to do. He may tell you to supply a need for someone that no one else is going to be willing to supply…just like the Philippians did for Paul.
So, back to the dark hospital room. The thought that was going through my mind as I was laying there was…..God, did I give enough? Was I faithful when I had much? Did I listen to your voice when I had plenty? Was I a giver?
Because I knew that I would have great need right now, I was asking the Lord to show me if I was a Philippian (in this case) and if I could actually claim that promise. (Keep in mind that none of this is about works. It is about obedience to God and a willing heart that desires to do His will. I think that may be an entire blog topic soon, but we’ll say on point for now.) God is so sweet to us. In my moment of panic and self doubt, it was literally like the Holy Spirit came and just hugged me. You know how, when you are really upset and crying and you have that friend that just hugs you in silence and it comforts you? How they don’t say anything and they just hug you??? Well, that’s what the Holy Spirit did to me. He just hugged me and it hushed me, so that my thoughts settled down. He didn’t really answer me. He just calmed me.
Well, the answer came the next morning and it is still coming. You all have showered us with gifts, thoughtful gestures, prayers, your time, financial gifts, and much more. The Holy Spirit has answered every single prayer that I have prayed regarding a need that I had. Sometimes He answers me before I even pray it. It can just be a thought and within minutes, I have a text or an email saying that someone is doing it for me. I’m not kidding, y’all, there have been at least 30 different stories I could tell you where God has met my need before I even spoke it. He just keeps using so many of you to provide the things we need right now. I would never be able to thank you enough or list everyone on this blog. But, I wanted to share a few pictures with you that will represent how blessed we have been over the past few weeks.
Like Paul, in Philippians, I don’t tell you this because of a need we have right now. I tell you this to say that as you are allowing God to use you and as you are being a faithful giver, you can now claim this promise in Philippians 4:19. You are being blessed because of your faithfulness to God. The Lord showed me, on that same night in that hospital room, that I should allow people to bless us right now. It was like He said, “Don’t argue. Just accept what I tell them to do.” Like the Philippian church, you are being used by God right now and it is so that you can be blessed. When you find yourself in a place of need, God will supply it because you have been a giver.
So, I went from wondering if I had done enough, to feeling so completely humbled by all that you have done for us. I was expressing this to the crowd of people at our house on the Saturday after we heard the news. There were over 100 people crammed in our living room, just to pray over us and cry out to God on our behalf. The only words I could form into a complete sentence, were to say how humbled I felt by the love. I felt like God was giving me so much more than I’ve ever given….just in a few days. After people started leaving, our dear friend, Barry Ivey, pulled me to the side and responded to my comments. He said, “Kristy, all these years that you have been giving to others….you’ve been planting seeds. But, when the seeds get returned to you, they don’t come back as seeds. They come back as plants. As trees. You don’t reap seeds. You reap plants.” How true! How profound. Thank you, Barry. It gave me words to describe what I was feeling. It gave me a way to express what I’m experiencing. God is returning to me, 100 fold, everything I’ve ever sown. Isn’t He so good. Isn’t that the kind of God you want to serve?
So, I’ll say this one more time. This blog is not about me. It is not us. It is not about a need that Clay and I have right now. It is about you. It is about celebrating what God is doing through you as you are being faithful to give. God will bless you in return. He will. I promise. My life is living proof of this right now. I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Ask Him to speak so that you never miss an opportunity to serve Him or be used by Him. Sow your seeds. There are people all around you in need right now. Let God show you which lives He wants you to touch. Bless them. Then, when you find yourself in need, He will provide for you in abundance.
We are preparing to leave for Houston tomorrow. Thank you for the visits today. We have been so blessed by your love.
We will keep you updated as we meet with the doctors. Thank you for your prayers for wisdom and discernment. We believe God will continue to part our waters and lead us where He wants us to go. Amen.
One last thing. Here is the entire passage from Philippians, if you want to read it. I hope you do.
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.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.