Ketchup Packets and Jehovah Jireh

July 26, 2023 | Melissa Riggs

When I was growing up, there was always a plethora of fast-food ketchup packets and single-use coffee creamers in our refrigerator. My grandfather had lived through the Great Depression, and because he knew what it was like to go without food, he could not bring himself to throw away anything usable (even when he was at our house). If any of us ever threatened to throw the packets away and reclaim the butter compartment, Grandpa would get upset. For him, ketchup and creamer were provisions in case anything was to ever go wrong. He saved them “just in case.” 

Provision isn’t a word I have used a lot in my lifetime, but it is a word God has taught me a lot about in the last fifteen months. God has provided a lot for our family in bringing us here to Fellowship, and I am keenly aware of His kindness to us. However, if I’m honest, in starting my job here, I was afraid that His provision wouldn’t always feel like enough. Children’s Ministry in the local church is notorious for needing lots of volunteers and struggling to find them, and the volunteer piece seemed daunting. As I stepped out in faith with a new job, I had a poster made for my office of Philippians 4:19a: “My God will supply every need.” 

Knowing that I needed to look for God’s provision and trust in it, I have intentionally watched for His benefits and asked Him to help me trust Him. I have been blown away by what He has allowed me to witness in the last year. I can confidently say that not only does He supply our every need, but He supplies abundantly. Sunday mornings are a beautiful example of this every week. Sometimes He supplies the right person at just the right moment, and sometimes He shows us that closing a classroom is our only option. Still other times He asks a leader to step in and sacrificially make things work. But each and every time, He is in it, and His grace is evident. Here is a great example: 

Last Sunday morning I was getting ready at 6 AM and found out that a few people had called out and we needed three more teachers for that morning. A few conversations, phone calls, and prayers later, God had filled those spots in a remarkably specific way by allowing two people who had been trained the day before to serve in a class, and another person shifted to a different room where she will be serving this fall. In one hour, the coordinator and I had a role to play in figuring out the puzzle, but only God made the pieces fit so perfectly. He allowed us a front row seat in watching Him work. And that is the thing about God’s provision: He gives us what we need, and although we are given a role to play, it isn’t our responsibility to make it happen. 

Learning to look for provision has trickled over into other areas of my life, too. In the last year or so, I have been dealing with severe anxiety in the middle of the night. I sometimes wake up multiple times per night from a dead sleep and feel my heart and mind racing. In this place of dependence, I desperately grasp at what I know to be true. On numerous occasions I have been comforted by words of Scripture – oftentimes ones I didn’t even realize I had memorized – that lulled me back to a place of rest. Last week when this happened, it occurred to me that these words were God’s provision for me. Each time I woke and felt waves of panic, my immediate next thought was Scripture, followed by, “Father, help Your daughter to sleep.” And that’s the last thing I would remember. The whole experience would last maybe a minute each time. In fact, God’s provision was so thorough that when this happened last week, I got up to shower in the morning and thought, “I should really look up that verse and see exactly what it says.” (My scripture memory skills are not what they used to be.) By the time I had finished my shower and poured my first cup of coffee, I could not remember the verse at all. I had absolutely no idea what words had comforted me or even the general topic. He gave me what I needed, when I needed it. I didn’t comfort me... God did. 

The theme of provision is all over Scripture. One of the most famous examples is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was asked to trust the Lord and sacrifice Isaac, but at the last moment, God provided a ram in Isaac’s place. When God provided the sacrifice, Abraham named the mountain Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14). Jehovah or Yahweh, means, “The existing one,” and Jireh means, “To see.” But when you put them together, Jehovah Jireh means “The Lord will provide.” This is such a beautiful picture of a God who sees us, considers our needs, and provides for those needs. His provision isn’t general; it is specific. It isn’t stingy; it is abundant. He is the God who knows the condition of our hearts and gives us Jesus, the ultimate Provision. He is also the same God who gives us words of comfort in our fear and classroom teachers for His church. He is good. He is trustworthy. 

Where do you see God providing for you today? Praise Him for His generosity! Where do you struggle to trust His provision? Ask Him to teach you to trust Him and start looking for opportunities to surrender your “ketchup packets.” He is Jehovah Jireh, and He sees you.