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The following entry is by Susan Moore.
During the course of our soon-to-be-23-year marriage my husband and I have faced some pretty serious financial trials. I have often asked God why we continue to have certain struggles, and even am sometimes able to joke that surely I have learned some important truths and should be ready to graduate from these lessons!
I firmly believe that we all go through various hardships in order to draw us closer to Him, and also to be able to use what we have learned to minster to others facing similar circumstances and come alongside them and say “I’ve been there. Here is what I learned.”
I have not been blessed with abundant finances or ways to take meager funds and turn them into comfy cushions of tangible blessings. Nor do I have neat tips on how to structure your portfolio or how to transform your household budget with frugal ways to live. But what I have been blessed with is hard-earned wisdom on how to move through the months and years of times of doing without, seeing no hope for financial healing, and the embarrassment that comes with it, while still being able to grow as a Believer.
We didn’t arrive at this place overnight. One of the underlying causes of our hardship was that we did not make intentional decisions to place our finances under God’s headship. When we were first married my husband had a well-paying factory job and I was a naïve college student who just assumed that our financial picture would always be quite rosy, and that we could just continue on without worrying about planning or committing.
Through our own lack of intentionality, not truly putting God’s precepts into practice with our finances, and by not making wise decisions we found ourselves in a seemingly insurmountable situation. I guess I should also mention what I call our Trifecta of Stupidity: quitting a steady job with benefits, purchasing a business against wise counsel, and deciding to build a new house; all within about a year. The results were not pretty.
The “fix” has not come quickly, and we are far from being financially stable, but God has been faithful and has miraculously delivered us through this with our marriage and health intact. We’ve actually been able to bless a few people along the way.
I learned to weather this storm by clinging to His word, and particularly to this passage:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
These are my observations on this passage:
- Do not be anxious about anything: New Living translation says “Don’t worry about anything”. I found that to be so freeing. When going through financial trials, it almost felt irresponsible to NOT worry. How wonderful to know that God instructs us to leave such negative emotions behind.
- But in every situation, by prayer and petition: God wants to hear from us, no matter what is going on, we should never stop turning to Him in prayer.
- With thanksgiving: Taking time to think about things to be thankful for is a wonderful way to grow in fellowship with the Lord. When I take time to truly fill my thoughts with the things I am thankful for, I begin to see the ways God has taken care of me.
- Present your requests to God: Take the time to ask Him for what you want. Our Father really wants to hear.
- And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding: Peace. What a welcome rest! It doesn’t make sense that we can have a peaceful feeling during unsettling circumstances, but this scripture tells us we can have that peace. God provides it for us even when we can’t fathom how it is possible!
- Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus: This is my favorite part. There are no promises here that my situation will be radically changed or that my problems will go away, but I have a GUARD for my heart and mind! All I have to do is trust in Him to be there.
My prayer for you is that no matter what your circumstances, that you will be able to find that “Peace that passes understanding”, as the old Sunday School hymn goes, and know that you do not have to worry. Your Guard is on duty!