Merging with the dwindling rush of people moving systematically down the stairs, conversation hummed and lulled up and down the dim stairwell. I listened intently to the friend next to me, both of us hopping quickly down the steps, on our way from class to chapel.
Finding our places in the vast auditorium, we let our bags slide off our shoulders and sunk comfortably onto the red, flip-down seats. Scant minutes passed and the worship band appeared on stage. The chapel was filled with the sound of seats flipping up as the student body rose to worship God.
Songs sung and hearts refreshed and encouraged, we took our seats once more. As the main speaker was first introduced and then took the stage, my mind briefly wandered to an interaction had not fifteen minutes earlier. In a matter of seconds, my upcoming Thursday evening had become much less hectic, as I was offered the opportunity to not take the two final philosophy tests, and instead collaborate on a group philosophy project.
God is so good, I thought to myself, marveling at His provision. He provides for me, giving breaks just when I need them most. I am amazed by His provision.
But then another thought struck me. I don’t just provide for you in classes, God seemed to be saying.
Oh, I know that, Lord. You provide for me in so many other ways.
I provide for you in relationships.
I paused to consider this statement. God providing for me, caring for me and my heart in the way my classes unfold? Yes, absolutely. God giving me His best in my work situation, my school living situation, and my family? For sure. But my friendships and relationships a vehicle through which God provides for me? Harder to swallow.
But God, friendships are hard. There’s miscommunication and confusion and hurt. I explained to God, because He was clearly out of the loop on human relationships. And even if everything were to be perfectly clear; no mistakes, no miscommunication, to love someone is to open your heart up to ache. Ache when they leave. Ache when they change. Ache when it’s over.
That’s not your provision, LORD. It can’t possibly be.
But it is. I give you relationships for you to grow, to learn, to love, to hope. And I give them to draw you closer to me. I provide for you in your relationships with others.
And suddenly, sitting in chapel, tucked neatly into a soft, red seat, hundreds of my classmates scattered in identical seats all around me, I understood a little bit more about relationships. Because God does know what He’s doing when He puts people in my life, and He does actually have a clue when He seems to be taking them away, too. He provides for my heart, He provides for my needs, and He provides for me to grow.
And I can trust Him on that.