Is there anything other than feast or famine?

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I have written here before about some of the challenges my wife and I are facing while she battles breast cancer, including the obvious financial difficulties. This has been a great time of faith-building for us – trusting God to provide all the needs, and He has not let us down (although the lessons on the real definition of “needs” have been moderately painful…I never knew exactly how selfish I am, until now.) Now I am facing one of my greatest personal challenges – a time of success and prosperity.

All truth be told, by American standards I have been poor most of my life. My dad made a decent salary, but he lived a frugal life in general…what we had was good quality, we just didn’t have very much…so I learned to be content with only a little, and never saw him deal with money in any real way…he just said, “We can’t afford it,”, or “We don’t need it.”, and that was it. ( I still prefer reading a book to seeing a movie, and my taste in clothing runs toward the cheapest jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes I can find.) The problem was, I didn’t stay poor. I spent eighteen years learning and moving up in a construction trade, with the salary increases that come with that kind of longevity, and I have nothing to show for it and almost no idea how to manage it. I have defaulted on credit cards twice, and now live exclusively on cash, because I am just a little afraid of money. Years ago, I placed my faith in my bank account and my ability to earn a living, and both of those let me down every time. Recently, I placed my faith instead in the Lord, and He is good, all the time…but I don’t trust money any more, and I have trouble using it wisely; sometimes I get amnesia and start trusting in my own abilities again. That’s about the time catastrophe strikes, and all the money goes away, and I am reminded again where my life comes from. Many times, soon after this some situation comes up that tests me spiritually, and I realize that, had I still been running on my own strength, I would have badly failed…but because He had quickened me in repentance, I was focused on Him, and able to endure. This happens so often, I now view every financial crisis as a precursor to spiritual attack!
So being broke during Karen’s illness has not been a terrible hardship. We know that we are remembered and cared for, and that is enough. But just as the tide which goes out must at some point come in, work is picking up, and the money is coming back, and I am terrified. My inner man, “the flesh”, as Paul would say, responds to this news with indignation: “I much prefer not having to be faithful with my finances, because there aren’t any… it’s so much easier that way! Having wealth brings more work and more responsibility, don’t you see?” I am appalled at how many times I agreed with that voice, and set about ruining my life to make the money go away. I no longer need to do that, but learning new behaviors is hard.

I am not expressing any profound insight, today – I wanted to share a real struggle I face, and ask for your prayer. I feel we need to confess the areas we are weakest in, to open ourselves to receive God’s healing and grace, and that is what I am doing. I invite you to do that also – seek out some area of your own life, where you know the right thing, and you try, but it’s scary and you don’t believe you have the hang of it yet, and confess that weakness to God and to your brother. I encourage you to give it a look, and comment here if you like: we can pray for each other, and share some stories of how great God is!

Following hard after Him,

Nicky

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