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I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (NIV)
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 (ESV)
With anxiety in her voice Carrie shared, “Thomas gets so stressed out when it comes to the bills. It seems like just when we get ahead, something happens and the money just disappears. There is so much on his plate, he is ready to burst!”
Her friend Annie listened, understood…and remembered. She too knew that kind of dry-mouthed, stomach wrenching fear…how would we pay all the bills this month? She recalled choosing between paying the mortgage and buying groceries…alas – it was PBJ sandwiches for dinner….again. Things can be so topsy-turvy in the world that most folks are just a few missed paychecks away from financial wipe-out. Carrie was feeling that right now.
Annie reached out to hold her friend’s hand, “Carrie, I do understand. It is exhausting to deal with this day in and day out. I have been there and I may some day be there again. I remember getting really ticked off with God when I was facing this kind of anxiety- especially once the kids came along. It just didn’t seem fair! I ranted to Him about how hard we worked and tried to live below our means. It just wasn’t always enough. I never minded sucking it up for me – I am an adult. But I just couldn’t stand having my kids missing out because there wasn’t enough money to go around.”
Carrie nodded in silence, weeping softly. She wiped a rolling tear from her cheek.
“I am exhausted. Thomas is too. It is fraying him, fraying us! I just don’t know what to do. We are trying to run a business, home school, support extended family, raise our kids – all the while honouring God”! Carrie complained.
Annie held her friend tightly for a moment. Then she gave her a tissue and took a big breath, and said to her friend…
“WHAT? Carrie asked.
“But God”, Annie answered again. “Carrie, this may sound like a pat answer but there is something else I remember…and I have lived long enough to see it happen again and again. Trust God. Bring it to Him everyday, all the day in prayer. He will show up”. Carrie looked confused.
Annie explained, “Years ago we moved out of state – we had two young children, no family and no friends to speak of. It was just the four of us – all for one and one for all. It was tough. We had large bills and small income. We had moved our family for a job and now the job was at risk because of a re-org. I was a new believer at the time and truly thought that our troubles were my issue to solve, not God’s. But I misjudged Him. Well I remember the day that a woman I barely knew at my job came up and handed me a typed out verse. Here is what it said:
“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? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
I was so flumoxed when she handed this to me. I was also angry and wondered what she knew about me. Really, she knew nothing at all. She was just being led by God – and HE KNEW I needed to hear what HE had to say to me. I was not seeking Him in prayer with my troubles, I was just trying to fix them myself (rather unsuccessfully I might add). Things eventually turned around. God protected our jobs. He got us back home. He strengthened our family and blessed us in so many ways after that. But I can tell you the stress level was almost debilitating for both my husband and me. Indeed, migraine was my middle name.
In hindsight, I can look back at that time and see what God was doing in our lives. He was pruning. He was molding. He was changing us. He knew that we would need to develop spiritual muscles for other challenges in our future….and He accomplished just that. If we had not experienced that time in the wilderness together, we would now be very different people and our faith would be anemic. Our God is worthy of mighty faith and trust. We hard-headed humans seem to only get to a point of understanding that when we finally learn that when all we have is God – then we realize that is all we need.
Carrie began to nod. Yes, she understood. She had been carrying it all on herself and had not carried it to God. She hugged her friend and said, “Thank you. I really needed that.”
“Don’t thank me honey, thank God. Just know this,
Whatever God orders, He pays for … and just like the Good Book says, ‘He owns all the cattle on the hill’, surely He will give one to you when you need it…
Annie smiled and wiped that last tear from Carrie’s eye.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 50:10-12; 14-15 The Message (MSG)
Every creature in the forest is mine, the wild animals on all the mountains. I know every mountain bird by name; the scampering field mice are my friends. If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you? All creation and its bounty are mine…
Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of kept promises, And call for help when you’re in trouble— I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”