“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
In February 2020, we had the privilege of taking our youngest son Tim—who has Down syndrome—on his first ocean cruise. At that time, there were rumblings in the news about a concerning virus that was beginning to wreak havoc in Asia, but our chosen journey was thousands of miles from there. Surely, we had plenty of time to fulfill one of Tim’s long-held dreams. (A funny thing happened during our island-hopping expedition, however. Tim informed us that, when he said he wanted to go on a cruise, he really meant “the one with the little hotdogs.” Translate: Tim wanted a ferry ride on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, 45 minutes from our house. But I digress.)
Our adventure took us to four countries in the Caribbean over the course of a week. Tim absolutely loved it! (Probably because there were much grander meals than just “little hotdogs.”) One of the highlights of the trip was the dining experience. Not only was the food abundant and well prepared but the service was exactly as advertised: intuitive. Our dedicated server quickly discerned our personal preferences the first day, and from there on out, she anticipated our desires before we even expressed them. It was impressive!
Now think about your own life. As extraordinary as a quality cruise line is at anticipating the wants of its customers, how much more extraordinary is it that our heavenly Father actually knows the needs of his people with full certainty? He promises—faithfully and sacrificially— to meet us in our deepest dilemmas before we are even aware of the seriousness of our situation. Today’s passage in Genesis 3 is often referred to by theologians as the protoevangelium or, in plain English, the “first gospel.” Even before the effects of our first parents’ fall are clearly pronounced on humanity in the remainder of the chapter (see Gen. 3:16–19), God first describes a way of salvation for humanity as he addresses the serpent. Not only does God decree a solution—his Son Jesus is the solution. And this declaration happens before his image bearing creatures even fully understand the predicament they have entered into.
What if—no matter what our situation is in life—we could remember that God’s promised deliverance always precedes our difficulties? What if we could see that the pattern of salvation from the earliest passages of Scripture demonstrates that God is not playing catchup? What if God is always ahead of the circumstances at hand and fully prepared and committed to meet the future needs of his people?
In whatever comes your way this week—no matter how big or how small—consider the following:
- As you look back over your life, in what ways can you see that God was in your circumstances, making a way for you, before you were even aware of the challenges you would face? Remember: Seeing God’s faithfulness in our rearview mirror helps us to build confidence in God’s faithfulness for what we cannot yet see on our pathway of life.
- Do you find yourself surprised when God meets your needs? What would it take to change your perspective from being pleasantly surprised when God provides to fully anticipating that God will be true to his Word? How might you remind yourself that God both planned for and met your deepest need in promising Christ’s saving work and delivering on that promise through his life, death, and resurrection?
- When you encounter a specific need this week, or face a particular challenge, or find yourself at an impasse, can you pause to remember that our God is a God who keeps his promises to his people before we even know what our problems are?
For those of you who are more concrete, and maybe not as inclined to be self-reflective, you might want to try practicing this pattern next time you encounter some form of difficulty in your day:
1) Stop and identify the predicament you are facing.
2) Remember that God has already provided a way out for you.
3) Trust God with the needs that you have become aware of.
4) Look—with a positive sense of expectancy—for how God will provide.
No matter how daunting the situation before you, do not despair. No matter what challenge you are facing today, your God is already there before you, and he has already promised to provide. Perhaps the real question is this: Do you trust him to do it?
Editor’s Note: This post is an adapted excerpt from Stephanie’s new book: Parenting & Disabilities: Abiding in God’s Presence, used with permission. You’ll find the book 25% off this week at Simply the Gospel.
About the Author:
Steph served as Director of Mission to North America’s (MNA) Special Needs Ministries from 2007 to 2016. She currently works as a Research Fellow in Disability Ministry in partnership with Covenant Theological Seminary. She also serves on the Lancaster Christian Council on Disability (LCCD). Steph is the author of Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability and All Things Possible: Calling Your Church Leadership to Disability Ministry. She has been published in ByFaith magazine, Focus on the Family magazine, and Breakpoint online magazine and has produced a Christian Education DVD series based on Same Lake, Different Boat. Steph and her husband, Fred, have been married for 34 years. They have two deeply loved adult sons: Fred and Tim, the younger of whom has Down syndrome.
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