How Does God Provide for Your Practical Needs When You Are Ill?

“During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.” (Deuteronomy 29:5)

I have a family history of poor feet and mine, along with hammer toes and nearly two decades of rheumatoid arthritis, have left my feet quite a mess. About ten years ago I was down to one pair of sandals. I literally could not find one pair of shoes that my feet fit into or that I could put weight down onto my foot. I wore those sandals every day for over six years. Thankfully I live in San Diego, but even in the rain I would make a dash for shelter, as a few drops of rain could make them fall apart.

By the time a doctor helped me find a pair of shoes that fit, I had glued the straps over and over and had literally been putting duct tape on the bottom of the soles to try to keep the little rocks out of the holes. I will forever be grateful for the doctor who took the time to find me shoes (though I am in need again and those shoes are out of stock!)

When you live with any chronic condition, things like finding shoes that fit before your sandals wear out can be a major concern. So when I read this verse about God not allowing the clothes these people wore–or even their sandals–it warms my heart. God did punish their actions by keeping them in the desert for forty years, rather than seeing that Promised Land. However, God was still concerned about them.

Most of us are familiar with how God provided nourishment through the daily manna, but God also knew that the practicalities of shoes and clothing were vital. It was important to their health and well-being (lack of shoes could make one susceptible to infections), but it also was proof that God understood their daily needs and nothing was too little to ignore. When you have to walk dozens of miles each day (the line of Isrealites alone traveling was approximately 150 miles long*), sandals that don’t fall apart most certainly should have helped their attitude.

Our illness can feel like that desert. And when you look down at your shoes, like me, you may see straps that are barely held together. perhaps that miracle of endless clothing durability is not occurring in your life. But I encourage you to see what “should be” falling apart in your life, based on your circumstances. What has God been holding together in your life that you may have been taking for granted?

Has your car started on mornings when you were positive it was nearing its end? Have you expected a medical treatment and didn’t need to have it? Did you meet someone who became an unexpected best friend? Did you find a coupon for something you had to buy, but didn’t know if you could afford?

God always provides, just like He always heals. But how He does it may be happening in ways you have yet to discover in your life.

Prayer: God, sometimes I become so focused on all of my needs that are yet unmet that I forget to notice the things that You have taken care of. James 1:17 tells me that every good and perfect gift is from You. Remind me each day of all the practical needs in my life You meet. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.

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What practical need has God met for you? Can you think of something that you hadn’t recognized before, like sandals that don’t fall apart, that other people with chronic illness may think, “oh, yeah. I completely forgot about that need that God meets!”

* According to Exodus 12:37-38, the Israelites numbered “about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children,” plus many non-Israelites and livestock. Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550. The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the “mixed multitude” of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people, compared with an entire Egyptian population in 1250 BCE of around 3 to 3.5 million. Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.

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