Posted by: Rex Boyles | August 24, 2008

The Lord Provides …

Abraham stood over his son … ready to sacrifice him, but the Lord stopped his hand. Instead … Abraham saw a ram stuck in a thorn bush. Abraham confesses what we all want to believe – “the Lord provides”. (My “real” Bible calls the name of that place – “Jehovah-jireh” – the Lord provides.) 

I love the story … though there are certain parts that cause me some angst … but I confess – today – that I have experienced that “the Lord provides”.

One of my teachers taught us that the word, provide, comes with this meaning; “pro” – “video” (to see before). In other words, God saw beforehand that Abraham would need another sacrifice and worked it out so that the ram would be there in the right place at the right time.

I do not know how long the ram was stuck there … before Abraham needed it – not that it even matters – but I suspect that God was working on such an arrangement from at the least the very first mention of the sacrifice by Isaac (“We have the fire and the wood, but where is the sacrifice?”), when Abraham replied, “The Lord will provide.” God works with faith that way …

I do not know how long ram was stuck there … or how long God had been working on this deal … but I know that fifty-nine years ago, today, August 24, 1949, God “saw before” and provided Doug Oakes for me.

Before I was ever born – long before 🙂 – God knew that I would need a brother … a friend … a buddy … a co-worker – a “knit to my soul” companion … like Doug.

He was born in Ohio … I was born in Texas

He was raised “in town” … I was raised “in the country”.

He didn’t like school so much … I loved school.

He believed in Jesus early in his life and wanted to preach – I believed in Jesus early in my life, but I never wanted to preach.

God stuck him in a school of preaching … just as I started the same school – the same class.

I knew immediately (no exaggeration) that I wanted him to my friend (everyone did) … and from the moment we first met – we became David and Jonathan-type friends.

God saw before … that I would need a friend, like Doug, in that school … someone to help me understand some of the more insightful truths of the Word … someone to help show me how to treat others … someone to help me learn to be a friend.

God saw before … that I would need a co-worker, like Doug, in the church where we first worked together … someone to help  me find my way around the big city … someone to help me learn how to work with church leaders and church politics … someone to help me become a real “youth minister”.

God saw before … that I would need a soul-mate companion, like Doug, in the years that we would live and serve apart … someone to help me withstand the pressures of “brotherhood” schedules … someone to help me plot or plan for a new course for ministries … someone to help me believe that God could use even me.

God saw before … that I would need Doug Oakes, especially in the years of my shame that continue even til now … someone to help me believe that the promises of God for David were also meant for me … someone to help me pay a few bills, when there was no money to pay bills … someone to help me enjoy laughing and loving again – as I watch God bless his tribe and multiply his grandchildren.

I do not know how long God had that ram stuck in the bush for Abraham … but I am convinced that He had Doug in mind – for me – from glory to glory.

I love you, Doug Oakes … and I am blessed “immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine” through you … and I count myself as favored by God for your friendship …  fellowship … and “knit-ship”. (And I realize that I am just one of a multitude of people who thank you for what you mean to them – and thank God for you.)

I hope others will join me … at this place … to honor you as they praise God for you. Me first!

p.s. You can read of Doug’s love for the Lord and the Lord’s wisdom in Doug at www.acornsfromoakes.wordpress.com

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