When Money's Tight

Faith when facing off with unemployment and financial stress
When Money's Tight

I sat in shocked disbelief, trying to process the harsh truth behind the much gentler words my boss had just delivered. I'd been laid off.

With the downturn in the economy, I'd seen both friends and family members lose their jobs. And each time I'd prayed—for them, of course, but also for myself. "Please, God, don't let that happen to me." Suddenly my fear had become reality, and at what was undoubtedly the toughest financial time our family had faced in years. Our son was in college, and in another year our daughter would be as well. How could we afford one tuition payment on my husband's teacher salary, let alone two?

In the days and months that followed, as my attempts to secure another position failed, I experienced feelings of panic and insecurity. What if I couldn't find another job? How would we pay the bills? Keep our kids in school? I pored over my Bible, struggling to find stability and comfort in verses such as Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

But my faith wobbled. My problem wasn't that I didn't believe God was causing "everything to work together." It was that I feared God's master plan might take me through painful and difficult places before I reached that "good." Places I really didn't want to go.

The Next 24 Hours

Then one morning God took a familiar verse and hit me right between the eyes. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5, emphasis added). I realized if ever anyone was leaning on her own understanding, it was me: my understanding of what is best for me and for my family. From my point of view, that meant a comfortable, secure life.

As much as I like to think I'm the ultimate authority on who I am, however, God knows me better. Psalm 139:16 says, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." As a Christian I know that I need to give Christ complete control over my life if I'm to have any hope of becoming more like him. But I sometimes forget that placing God in charge has practical, as well as spiritual, benefits. God knows every single thing that's going to happen to me—the good and the bad—throughout all my days on this earth. It's as if he has the complete, detailed map (or these days, a really good GPS) to my final destination. By not trusting in him, by worrying about what each day will bring and "leaning on my own understanding," I'm basically refusing guidance from the One who has my route all planned out, stubbornly stumbling around in the dark instead.

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September 30, 2015
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