I’ve confessed many times that I’m not especially skilled for DIY projects, but I’m more willing than I have been at times to just give it a go… as long as it doesn’t involve plumbing. I’m terrified of plumbing.
I was trying desperately to finish trimming out our bathroom that has been out of commission for about 10 months and is finally operational again. I had already made a second run to the lumber yard to get what I thought would be enough lumber to finish the trim work. I was, of course, incorrect.
It came down to the last piece of wood I needed for this phase. The lumber yard had been closed for about an hour already. I needed one last 1×6 board. I find the last piece I have in my stock that is 47 5/8 inches. I need it to be 50 1/4 inches.
There are skilled craftsmen that can take a piece that is almost long enough and carefully splice another piece onto it in such a way that you would never know it was not a solid piece—especially since this trim would be painted. I am not that skilled craftsman.
So as I’m trying to figure out if I’m brave enough to try or simply willing to compromise the finished look enough to just put another short piece in to make up the difference… it occurs to me to dig through my scrap lumber stack. And there I find an old 1×6. I dig it out of the pile and anxiously put a tape measure to it.
I step over to the miter saw and trim it to the exact length I need. But you have to see this picture to understand.
This is the piece I cut off of the board that I dug out of the scrap pile.
This tiny piece of wood—this sliver of abundance—was the extra from a provision made long ago for a need I did not yet have.
I know it’s just a tiny sliver of wood. It hardly merits bending over to pick it up and toss it into the trash can. And how in the world could I use the word ‘abundance’ when it’s such a minuscule amount? But it spoke to me in a strange way.
I realized as I stood there with this sliver in my hand that anything beyond what I actually need is truly abundance. I had this piece of wood that was more than I needed and I was grateful in this moment for the fact that, somewhere along the journey, I had stuck this board in my scrap pile as simply an extra piece from a project long past. It may have even been a piece from something I had dismantled. I honestly have no memory of it. But it was a provision from a seemingly insignificant moment in the past that met a need for today that didn’t even exist then.
Here’s the thing: I am convinced that God is continually providing abundantly for us day after day for needs that we may not yet even recognize or are yet to experience. Just like I have this pile of scrap lumber that has many times lately provided a piece that kept me from having to make another trip to the lumber yard or that has helped me keep going instead of waiting a day or two for more supplies, He has provided what I need.
When I begin to think about the ways God has provided for me and the countless times I have recognized my need only to find God’s provision already at hand, I find that He has been working all along on a level I simply cannot fathom to meet needs I could not even see or imagine.
So I find myself sitting here with this tiny piece of wood in my hand and realizing it is more than a piece of wood. It is a sliver of abundance that speaks peace in a season of uncertainty. It is a reminder of His faithfulness even in days gone by to look to the needs I will find tomorrow.
Paul the Apostle penned these words centuries ago in his letter to the believers in Philippi:
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.Philippians 4.12
By the time he wrote these words from his house arrest in Rome, Paul had been through some rough stuff—shipwrecks and prison cells and beatings and even a stoning—and had learned that dependence upon God and His faithfulness was the only way to approach the uncertainties of this life. And, as he was closing his address to these dear folks in Philippi, he reminds them—and us—of what he has learned to be absolutely true:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4.19
Whether it’s a tiny piece of wood that was more than I needed or a couple of bites left when my stomach is full or $7 remaining after the last bill is paid… God has and will faithfully provide.