Please allow me to slip into my “old man rocking on my porch” persona for just a moment. Back in my day, health in a video game didn’t magically regenerate just ‘cuz I was standing behind a wall, dagnabit. We had to scour the earth to find them there “medpacks”, or “rations”, or “health kits” to heal ourselves because in the real world hiding behind a wall doesn’t heal bullet wounds, son! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to grab my water hose and tell those kids to get off my lawn…
Ok, so maybe that’s a little tongue in cheek but the truth is that before we entered this glorious age of “auto-healing”, a gamer had to be much more cautious with their approach to a game because a mistake would send them on a long voyage to replenish their health. And in some especially challenging titles, these health packs were so scarce that a critical mistake could result in needing to completely restart the game because you could not regain enough health through the available supply to make it to the end.
Playing those older style games with limited health taught me to be cautious, strategic, and patient as I knew I had very little room for error. I avoided unnecessary exploration and kept to the safe routes as much as possible to preserve my life force. But something changed about my approach as I began playing titles such as Halo and Call of Duty that did not limit me to curing my damage via these Draconian methods. I could race into rooms and take on challenges that may be larger than my capacity because I knew that if it got too hot in there I could simply hide behind a pillar until my screen stopped flashing red. I became more confident, a little more daring, and quite a bit more adventurous since the rewards often exceeded the risks for the very first time in my gaming journey.
As a believer, I have spent the majority of my life wresting with this “medpack mentality”. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with discretion and caution in many aspects of life, when it comes to matters of faith in the Lord and His provision it is absolutely fatal to proceed in this manner. Throughout the course of my walk with Christ I have struggled with releasing control of my life, my thoughts, my actions, and my circumstances to the Lord. I yearn to roam carefree through each day just “leaning on the promises of God” and demonstrating faith in each and every challenge that comes up, but every time I try I feel the weight of the realization that I possess a finite amount of time, money, energy, and resources and immediately begin searching for “medpacks” to provide for myself.
I have found it is easier to trust God’s choice in destination than it is his method of provision. Like the nation of Israel in Exodus 16, I get very excited about the idea of traveling to the Promised Land. But like them after the first few hours I begin to worry… what will we eat? Where will the water come from in a desert? Do we even know the right direction? And when the the Father provided them with bread from heaven and a few simple rules of how much to gather each day as well as which days to gather they immediately demonstrated the “medpack mentality”. He said to get just enough for each day, some of them gathered extra just in case there wasn’t any tomorrow. He said there wouldn’t be any on the seventh day so grab double on day six, and some of them still chose to go look on the seventh day just in case they would have it all to themselves. Thanks for the regenerating bread Lord, but if it’s all the same to you I kinda want to keep some tater tots in my pants pocket just in case you forget about lunch.
This is still an area of challenge for me, but I will share what am I learning. My stress and anxiety doesn’t seem to be making this bread from heaven come any faster or taste any sweeter. As a matter of fact, it’s just getting my sandwhiches all sweaty. Hebrews 11:6 says emphatically that without faith is is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, and while it may seem reassuring to hold onto my backup plans and extra rations for a rainy day, the reality is God laughs at my meager preparations because they would never be enough to save me anyway. Like a child obsessing about a single dropped M&M while an entire one pound bag lies available at their side, there is so much more health, life, and provision when we walk in faith than we could possibly store up or conjure with our own capabilities. And since only God knows our path as well as our destination, He is the only one who knows exactly what it will take to get you there.
I still find myself tempted to solve my problems first and ask God about His opinion later, and when He provides guidance it is a constant struggle for me to not simply say, “Thanks Lord! Now you go get some rest while I plan this out for us.” But if I want to experience the joy of operating in the freedom that only true faith in God provides, then I must relinquish my feeble stack of medpacks and trust that his auto-regenerating powers will be enough to sustain me even in the places where I fear to go. It is a bit scary to boldly run into the next room and see what happens, but it is only a fool-hardy move if you are acting on your own volition. Where He guides, He provides… and if He said charge into that room with nothing but a plasma pistol then you can bet your last token it will be all you need to bring.