Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
I was sitting at our kitchen table. The one we bought with a credit card not too many years ago. Thank God we finally got it paid off, but there was more debt behind that. We had just come from Consumer Credit Counseling services where they set us up on a payment plan for the several thousand we had accrued over the course of our 10 year marriage. We didn’t have much debt, but we had enough to make me feel stupid for every pointless purchase. ‘I should’ve eaten on my lap for ten years,’ I thought to myself.
In my hand I was holding something I never thought I would hold; an application for government assistance. We trusted God to give us children (adopted or biological) when it was His time. We watched all of our friends have children and we felt like we never would. Lab tests came back great, and we were each others’ only partners, which reduced our risks substantially for any other issues. We didn’t use birth control, and went 7 years without children. But that day at our kitchen table I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that we now had our second child.
Not too long before this day, we moved into our modest home and made some financial decisions we should have made a LONG time ago. My husband was and still is an extremely hard worker. He would work all day and then come home to freelance design sometimes all night until 3am. We had heard God’s call years before for me to be a stay-at-home mother, but my heart was wrenched in two as I sat there with these papers in my hand. The bills were not getting paid. We didn’t tell our parents how bad things really were. We couldn’t. I knew the reaction I would get from my parents and I didn’t want to hear it. Why would God allow us to be in such pain? He called me to stay home… Is He going to provide?
Trust in God: Will He Provide?
I have always been opposed to the current government assistance program (as it stands) simply because there are too many loopholes and too many abusers who take it from those who truly need it. It was created for folks who need help on a temporary basis. We have several friends who have appropriately used the assistance during times of need and we saw that they were blessed through it. God had provided it to them at the appropriate time, and they followed His call to accept the help. We were qualified and we needed some temporary help now that we had started to get our life back on track. But yet I just couldn’t sign that paper. Was it me being prideful or was it something else?
I cried and prayed over this decision. We were qualified, but I thought in my mind that I would be taking someone else’s resources. I asked God to confirm in my heart what He wanted me to do. Let me be clear that I have never heard an audible voice from God. But He spoke to my heart that day in a still and quiet voice. That night when Rob got home from work, I told him we weren’t signing the papers. I had one word on my heart, and that word was TRUST. God had asked me to trust Him.
Now let me be very clear before we move on because I won’t be approving, or responding to, any negative comments We had decided that our issue with government assistance was not a prideful one. I believe with all my heart that it is a sound program for those who need it, and we have many needy in our country. I do wish more background checks, tests and other accountability (as is the case when we apply for certain jobs) would go along-side it merely to provide MORE resources to those who are truly in need. For us, it was that we had accepted help from family before. And while I truly believe that is how God often works, we knew in our hearts at that time that He was asking us to sit and wait, watch and let Him show His glory.
So that we did. Not too long after this, we found out we were pregnant with our third child. The world would think we were nuts. How could we afford it? I’m sure people rolled their eyes, remembering some of my Facebook posts and Twitter updates asking for prayer. Now what would they think? We were the couple who said only two children because any more would be environmentally irresponsible. We were the couple who scoffed at families who ‘didn’t use the brains God gave them.’ Now look. Boy, what goes around comes around. I wanted to be excited about the new bundle of joy but how was I going to explain this?!?
It occurred to us that we had been seeking counsel from the wrong places. Rather than simply trusting God to provide that counsel to us (via godly friends, resources, and most importantly, His Word), we had counted on advice from those who WE trusted. These were people who we loved and knew they loved us, but they did not emulate the life that God had set before us … The life He wants for us to live. These were people of the world (and yes, many of them were fellow Christians), just like us. God asked us to stop and do a little more digging.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWAL OF YOUR MIND, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is. – Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWAL OF YOUR MIND, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is.” Since meditating on this verse, I have grown to resent the phrase ‘God gave you a brain for a reason.’ This is so conducive to people like we were: people who wanted God’s provisions but yet still wanted control over their lives. But guess what? The Word doesn’t support that theory at all. In fact, the opposite is true. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding.”
But how far are we willing to take this? I suppose that falls on how we view the Bible. Do we view it as half-truth, symbolic, or a ‘good book’? Or do we view it as being God-breathed, truth, and our guide book to life. Rob and I believe, and teach it to our children, as truth. And while I’m sure many use Proverbs 3:5 as a way to sit back and do nothing (again, not a godly concept in the least), we choose to view it as a ‘check your brain at the door’ way of thinking. So that’s what we did.
In the months that have passed until the present, God has blessed us enormously. Are all of our problems resolved? I think not! Make no mistake, the life of a Christian who chooses to drop everything and follow Christ is HARD. It’s UGLY sometimes. But doesn’t that echo the life that Christ had? The point being, God is faithful through ALL trials and joy. My husband’s design business is doing well, and last week He started a new job that he adores. Many folks have helped us along the way (even in the form of an observant, anonymous friend from church). We pray daily that these ‘angels’ are greatly blessed for the work they are doing in God’s name.
But do you know what the most important lesson is that we have learned? All of this pain, embarrassment, etc was for a purpose. HIS purpose. We are willing to be completely subject to His will. I am human … I ache and cry. I complain and cry some more. But God bends us so that we will learn to rely on Him only. Not because He sits up on His throne wanting to see us squirm, but because our CREATOR ADORES US and has the very best in store for us. He allows us to go through things in order to hold us close to Him so that He can give us HIS best. When this world falls apart, when governments fail, when everything we know shifts and changes (as it inevitably does), He is the SAME God now as He has always been.
Wisdom comes to those who ask. Many are intelligent and educated, but few are wise. It will be a prayer of mine before my feet hit the floor each day: Lord, give me wisdom, as I have NO CLUE what this day will hold. And Lord, continue to teach me to TRUST YOU.
And to that, the most precious bit of knowledge is that He will.