Once upon a time, back when we were newly broke, back when we hit our first batch of financial desperation, I prayed a prayer that embarrasses me to no end: God, don't let this happen. Don't let us go broke. I don't know how to live this way.
That's not the part that embarrasses me. It was what followed: God, tell me this won't last long. Will we have money again? We were once rich; will we be again?
And then I heard a clear swoop through my mind: You will be richer than you can ever imagine.
I smiled at the answer.
Good, I thought. Then I can deal with this for a while.
Did I hear you right, God?
But then the "while" turned into years. And as we moved sharply and swiftly away from any unimaginable wealth, as I became resigned to our relative poverty and to my prayers that God would simply meet our most basic needs, I figured I must have heard wrong. Even as I grasped that God was using this time of financial desperation to shape me, change me, remake and mold me, I wondered if I'd really heard from God at all.
Because God wasn't making us rich. And after I realized how much Jesus-ier I was as a human—how much closer to God I was in my desperate state—I was pretty sure he wouldn't.
But then I wrote a book about this journey called, tellingly, Broke, and my editor suggested a subhead should be "What financial desperation revealed about God's abundance." And I balked, initially, at the word abundance.1