God’s Rainy-Day Fund
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In the blessing of Moses pronounced before his death upon the several tribes, there was this among other things for Asher: “Thy shoes shall be iron.”1 A little geographical note will help to make the meaning plain. Part of Asher's allotted portion was hilly and rugged. Common sandals, made of wood or leather, would not endure the wear and tear of the sharp, flinty rocks. There was need for some special kind of shoes. Hence the form of the promise: “Thy shoes shall be iron.” …
This old-time assurance gives some important suggestions. For one thing, it tells us that we may have some rugged pieces of road before we get to the end of our life-journey. If not, what need would there be for iron shoes? If the way is to be flower-strewn, velvet slippers would do. No man wants iron-soled shoes for a walk through a soft meadow. … Asher's portion was not an accidental one; it was of God's choosing. Nor is there any accident in the ordering of the place, the conditions, the circumstances, of any child of God. Our times are in God's hands. We should not doubt, then, that the hardnesses and difficulties of anyone's lot are part of the divine ordering for the best growth of each person's life. …
Shoes of iron are promised only to those who are to have rugged roads, not to those whose path lies amid the flowers. There is a comforting suggestion here for all who find peculiar hardness in their life: peculiar favor is pledged to them. God will provide for the ruggedness of their way. They will have a divine blessing which would not be theirs but for the roughness and ruggedness. The Hebrew parallelism gives the same promise, without figure, in the remaining words of the same verse: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”2 Be sure, if your path is rougher than mine, you will get more help than I will. There is a most delicate connection between earth's needs and heaven's grace. Days of struggle get more grace than calm, quiet days. When night comes, stars shine out which otherwise never would have appeared if the sun had not set. Sorrow draws comfort that never would have come in joy. For the rough roads there are iron shoes.
There is yet another suggestion in this old-time promise. The divine blessing for every experience is folded up in the experience itself and will not be received in advance. The iron shoes would not be given until the rough roads were reached. There was no need for them until then.
A great many people worry about the future. They vex themselves by anxious questioning as to how they are going to get through certain anticipated experiences. We had better learn once and for all that there are in the Bible no promises of provision for needs while the needs are yet in the future. God does not put strength into our arms today for the battles of tomorrow; but when the conflict is actually upon us, the strength comes. “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.”
Some people are forever unwisely testing themselves by questions like these: “Could I endure sore bereavement? Have I grace enough to bow in submission to God, if he were to take away my dearest treasure? Or could I meet death without fear?” Such questions are unwise, because there is no promise of grace to meet trials when there is no trial to be met. There is no assurance of strength to bear great burdens when there are no great burdens to be borne. Help to endure temptation is not promised when there are no temptations to be endured. Grace for dying is nowhere promised while death is yet far off and while one's duty is to live.
There is a story of shipwreck which yields an illustration that comes in just here. Crew and passengers had to leave the broken vessel and take to the boats. The sea was rough, and great care in rowing and steering was necessary in order to guard the heavily-laden boats, not from the ordinary waves, which they rode over easily, but from the great cross-seas. Night was approaching, and the hearts of all sank as they asked what they should do in the darkness when they would no longer be able to see these terrible waves. To their great joy, however, when it grew dark they discovered that they were in phosphorescent waters and that each dangerous wave rolled up crested with light which made it as clearly visible as if it were mid-day.
So it is that life's dreaded experiences carry in themselves the light which takes away the peril and the terror. The night of sorrow comes with its own lamp of comfort. The hour of weakness brings its own secret of strength. By the brink of the bitter fountain itself grows the tree whose branch will heal the waters. The wilderness with its hunger and no harvest has daily manna. In dark Gethsemane, where the load is more than a mortal heart can bear, an angel appears, ministering strength that gives victory. …
The lesson is that we cannot get along on our life's pilgrimage without Christ; but having Christ we shall be ready for anything that may come to us along the days and years.—J. R. Miller3
Too often, we think of a shelter against a rainy day as a roof over our heads, a retirement portfolio, a savings account or, at the least, our social security payments. But material things will all disappear [eventually]. The Old Testament character Job said something about coming into the world naked and leaving it the same way. Indeed, the Bible says we won’t be taking anything with us.
There is a wonderful axiom about the three things most people really want out of life: happiness, freedom, and peace of mind. … When we are fortunate enough to have them, the three are also a form of shelter. The life we lead and the friends we make can be shelters, too.
My dad talked [to me] about the need to build a shelter, but he never told me what kind of shelter he was talking about. He left that for me to discover. But he pointed me in the right direction.
I don’t think my dad was talking about any form of earthly shelter when he told me to build one against a rainy day. I think he was referring to a more lasting shelter. Specifically, I think he was talking about ensuring a place in heaven.
Through Christ, I have built that shelter.—John Wooden and Jay Carty4
God’s Word and His guarantees have no restrictions, no limitations, no qualifications except our faith. He is not bound by time or space or land or place! “Forever His Word is settled in heaven,” and His promises are forever!5 Our future is as bright as the promises of God, as long as we obey and trust Him.
When we obeyed, He kept His promises, He fulfilled His guarantees, and He supplied all of our needs according to His riches in glory. We only have to depend on God and His riches. He’s a big God and He has great riches and will never fail!—David Brandt Berg
God Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness, which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity.—2 Corinthians 9:106
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you.—Luke 12:22–287
Published on Anchor July 2014. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
1 Deuteronomy 33:25.
2 Deuteronomy 33:25.
3 Making the Most of Life (T. Y. Crowell & Co, 1891).
4 Coach Wooden One-on-One (Regal Books, 2009).
5 Psalm 119:89.