Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Other "F" Word

I hate filthy language, but the other "F" word is not something profane.  It is profoundly annoying, however.  The word I refer to is finances

For many of us, finances, or more specifically the lack of them, can irritate us like nothing else.  Those of us who find ourselves in debt, trying to dig our way out with a plastic spoon instead of a titanium shovel, know that we are easily defeated by the setbacks we don't see coming.  We live paycheck to paycheck with nothing to sustain us in an emergency except a credit card (if we haven't maxed them all out).  With the constant fear that an expense will arise we cannot possibly meet, such as a roof replacement, root canal, or heaven forbid, expense associated with a terminal or chronic medical condition, we feel the oppressive weight of the financial stress that keeps us from living in the true freedom Christ desires for us.

Some of us have contributed to our own financial lack by making the bad choice to use credit to purchase things we don't really need.  But some of us are simply waylayed by the accumulation of unavoidable expenses that are a part of everyday life.  Before we know it, we are filled with self-pity because of the burden we carry and the restrictions that lack of money places on the good things we wish to do and enjoy, including the desire to give to those in true need.

What can we do to maintain our joy when our finances turn from friend to foe and keep us from doing what we need and want to do?  First of all, we must remember Who owns everything we have in the first place.  God owns it all; we are simply His caretakers.  Although I can't imagine that God would want the roof to leak, I know that He desires that I trust Him even when I cannot afford to fix it.  What would happen if roofs never leaked?  There would be a whole lot of unemployed roofers, and He is their provider too!

We also need to know what God's Word says about His provision and understand that He doesn't necessarily provide according to our desired time frame but always provides in His.  We will never be able to understand His methods for doing things, but we can always trust that His plan and purpose for our lives are for our good, not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).  If we experience a setback of any kind, we can trust that God will work the circumstances of it for our good because we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

God's answer for our needs and wants may not always be "yes," but His "no" will ultimately lead to a greater yes and a deeper knowledge of Him as we persevere through our trials.

Instead of fretting over the other "f" word, try thanking God in spite of your finances.  Don't worry about the vet bill that is coming due in three weeks; thank God that today you have all you need.  He promised to supply all our needs, one day at a time.  If we will simply look back and remember His faithfulness during those times when our limited faith could not see Him at work, we will know that the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever will be faithful to keep His promises and meet our needs.

God knows we are prone to worry, but He loves us anyway.  Don't let your financial worries keep you from enjoying His presence today or seeing the many blessings He has placed before you.  Instead give Him thanks for the food in your stomach, the roof (leaky or not) over your head, and the knowledge that in heaven, you will not lack anything.

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