How can I know God is providing when I'm the one working?
The question is: How is God providing for me when I am the one that is going to work and laboring to get the check to provide food for my family? Am I misunderstanding something here?
The answer is yes. Yes, you are misunderstanding. Just think, for example, if you said to someone else, “I'm hungry,” and they handed you a sandwich to eat to satisfy your hunger. Would you thank them? Would you say that they have provided food for you? I suspect you would. But wouldn’t it be odd, for instance, to say, “Well, if you're providing for me, you have to put it in my mouth, work my jaws, and make me swallow so it goes into my body.” That's kind of a crazy illustration. I'm even embarrassed to use it, but isn't this kind of like that?
Provision happens at a lot of different levels. God provides, often times, the means to accomplish the end, but we're not inert in the process. We are participants. We are players. When God created the garden and put Adam and Eve there before the fall, He said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and subdue.” He gave them an area to work and abilities to work it. He provided all of that for them so that they could get busy with the work that they were supposed to do. It is no less a provision that God didn’t move their arms to till the soil. He was making provision for them in a way that was appropriate to the kind of creatures they were.
God has made us as creatures that function well working. Now, the fall brought in toil but not work. Work is important for us, and if we stopped working, we would become couch potatoes, we all know – even if we have money and nobody else has to provide for us – this is not good for the soul. We are made to work.
God makes provisions at different levels, but we are to participate in that. It is no less a provision of God because we have to extend some effort in the process. Anybody who thinks otherwise is misunderstanding. God is the author of all good things, and every good gift that comes down from Heaven, from the Father of Lights, comes from Him. We thank Him for it. We make good use of it. We employ it for good ends based on the strength and energy that God has given us and the capabilities, gifts, and circumstances that are around us. That’s our job, that’s not God’s job.