“When I first became a Christian, I identified with Moses, leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt. The longer I walk with God, the more I identify with the Children of Israel who, despite the miracles they’d already seen, became convinced that God would not provide them with food and water in the wilderness.”
God held a mirror up to me today, and I was appalled by what I saw.
I’ve mentioned before that Jon and I don’t have a savings account. We decided long ago that we would take God at His word when He says “give and it will be given back to you” and rather than keep resources in case we need them in the future, we give our excess away to those around us who are in need now. Granted, there hasn’t been an abundance of “excess,” but when there is, we’ve always used it to help others and we’ve always felt secure in that decision. Until recently.
Recently, Jon and I made a purchase that, without going into a lot of detail, has left me incredibly worried about our finances. My faith that this purchase was God’s will for us was recently shaken and despite my prayers and talks with Jon over the matter, I have not been able to get any peace regarding this issue. Since then, I’ve been terrified. Terrified that we won’t be able to pay for it. Terrified that we won’t be able to pay for other things we need, now that we have this payment to take care of. Terrified that we’ve taken ourselves out of God’s will and put ourselves in a position that is going to cause heartache, not just for us, but for our children.
Today something happened that really brought to the surface just how worried and lacking in faith I’ve been. Today, a friend came to me with a need. A need that we could easily meet: she needed an appliance that we happen to have two of. We don’t use both of them, we just happened to have two of them, one of which I’d planned to keep as a back up in case the main one stopped working (when you have eight kids, nothing lasts as long as it’s “supposed” to!)
So when my friend asked if she could buy this extra appliance from me, I told her no. I was “kind” enough to tell her she could borrow it, but I made pitiful excuses as to why she couldn’t keep it. Just after hanging up the phone with her, however, my son reminded me that the extra appliance I wasn’t going to let my friend buy from me was one that she had bought for us us a few years ago.
I can’t begin to express how I felt. “Shame” doesn’t touch the surface of it.
And now I see just how far my complete lack of trust in God has taken me. I see the results of my faithlessness. I see how fear can keep us from loving those around us and make us selfish, hateful and greedy.
The timing of this is significant. Just last night, Jon and I were talking about our finances and I was expressing to him my concern that (out of fear) we might stop giving the way we always have (you may recall that I wrote about this a few months ago.) We sat there trying to figure out ways to keep this from happening, and yet the very next day, I told one of my best friends she couldn’t buy something from us… something we don’t even need. After sharing this with the kids, my oldest daughter – who had not heard the conversation Jon and I were having the night before – told me she had been praying about this very issue (my fear in regards to finances) this morning.
I am so thankful that God taught me this lesson today. If the purchase we recently made serves no other purpose but to show me this lesson, I am thankful. If we struggle financially because of this purchase, I am thankful. For no matter whether this purchase was God’s will, or a horrendous mistake on our parts, one thing I know: We belong to Him, and He is always good, always loving and always working to draw us closer to Him. Whatever He chooses to teach us regarding this situation, however He chooses to ensure we learn, we still belong in the palms of His hands, under the shelter of His wings, in the refuge of the Rock.
I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
– Psalm 37:25