How to Find Biblical Joy When God Does Not Provide the Way You Want Him To

"God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to." Elisabeth Elliot

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were struggling financially because my husband's organization didn't have the funds to pay us that month. Not sure how we would pay our bills, we prayed for God's provision and tried to remain faithful to what He had called us to do.

This wasn't the first time this had happened, though, and I was tired. Yes, I desired to trust God with this, but if I'm being honest, I was weary and fed up with the organization's weaknesses. I wanted that paycheck. I wanted to hold it in my hands, see the correct dollar amount written on that check, and feel the stability that came with that!

One evening there was a knock on the front door. When my husband opened it, there stood some dear friends, their arms filled with boxes of food. "We went to Costco and bought you some things!" For the next few minutes, my husband helped our friends unload the back of their car of all the different kinds of food they had purchased for us. Meat, produce, snacks, and all sorts of things we needed and didn't have the money to buy. I stood and watched as my living room was filled with boxes. My husband fought back tears of gratefulness. Me? I fought back feelings of disappointment. Why? Because this is not how I wanted God to provide for us. I wanted the paycheck! I wanted money in the bank. I wanted to pay our bills and be done with it.

God had another plan. He wanted to provide in his own way. He wanted to build and strengthen our faith.

Verses to Help You When God Does Not Provide the Way You Want Him To

Psalm 37:25 "I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread."

Psalm 37:25 is the verse my husband quoted on a regular basis during that season I shared in the introduction. It is the verse he clung to and encouraged me to cling to. We can trust God to provide for us. Why? Because, as you see in this verse, he says he will. As in my case, his provision may not always look the way we thought it might, but he provides. We will always have what we need.

Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"

We can be assured that our needs are important to God. We do not need to be anxious about if or how our needs will be met. When we do not know how to make ends meet, we are reminded that he wants to do more than provide for just our physical needs. He wants to use the times of unknowns to help us learn to trust in him. He wants to grow our faith.

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus."

God controls all things and is the one who owns everything. He uses everything for our good and his glory. He is glorified when He gives us the gift of providing for our physical needs, and we have been depending and waiting on him. When He uses those times of waiting and depending on him to grow us up more into his likeness, he is glorified. His provision is used as a springboard for the world to see his faithfulness and bring him glory!

What Good Comes When God Does Not Provide the Way You Want Him to Provide

  • When we look to God to provide for our needs, we are given an opportunity to see Him provide in creative ways and in ways we do not expect him to. We will grow in our faith because we see God provide in ways we never imagined.
  • Our need for God to provide for our needs allows others to be used by God to meet those needs. The body of Christ has a calling to help meet the needs of those around them, especially other brothers and sisters in Christ. It is encouraging to feel prompted by God to meet another person's needs and to see our needs met by other brothers and sisters in Christ. The way others have served me, and my family, has been such an encouragement and has been an example for me to follow as I seek to serve others. Experiencing the blessing of others being used makes me want to be used in that same way.
  • When our needs are met in ways we did not expect, we are given so many unique stories to share about God's provision for us and his faithfulness. One of our highest callings is to proclaim God's faithfulness. When we share all the ways that God has provided, especially to those experiencing needs, it can give them hope that God will provide for them as well.

Find Biblical Joy by Focusing on God

Thank Him for Who He Is:

Father, thank you for being Yahweh-Jireh, "The Lord Will Provide." In the same way, you provided for your children in the many accounts in the scriptures, you have promised you will provide for me. Help me to cling to your promises and be encouraged by the testimonies of others.

Thank Him for His Faithfulness:

Father, all I need to do is reflect on my life, and I will see example after example of how you have provided for me. Cause me to remember all the big and small ways you have provided for all my needs and then fill me with hope for the future. I know that you will continue to be faithful.

Thank Him for His Promises:

Father, thank you for your promises that tell me you will provide for all my needs, whether they be physical or spiritual. I know you will provide because I can trust you to keep your promises. I am so grateful.

Thank Him for His Provisions:

Father, thank you for all the unique and creative ways that you have provided for me over my entire lifetime and thank you for the opportunities that you have given me to turn to you, trust your promises, grow in my faith, wait on you, and then experience your provision. You are good. You are faithful.

To learn more about how to choose biblical joy, check out Gina's book, Everyday Prayers for Joy!

For weekly encouragement on how to choose biblical joy in all circumstances, subscribe to "Choose Biblical Joy Today."

This article is part of a series by Gina Smith on biblical joy. Here are more of her articles:

How to Find Biblical Joy When You Battle Depression

Finding Biblical Joy in Loneliness

How to Find Biblical Joy When Life Doesn’t Look the Way You Thought it Would

How to Find Biblical Joy When the Church Disappoints You

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes

Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 34 years to Brian, a college professor, and athletic trainer. For 25+ years she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington DC and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, and one son-in-law. She recently authored her first traditionally published book Everyday Prayers for Joy, available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following:, Instagram, , and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer. 

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