This past week has been one of “those weeks”; the kind of week that probably led to the invention of Murphy’s Law (all that can go wrong, will go wrong). Seen from the outside, all is pretty much lost. We’re broke. We’re dealing with physical issues…again. The car is acting up…again…but then when is it not? We need this…and that…and only God can provide it or make it happen. From a human perspective, we have many, many reasons to sit down and cry.
- My 18-year old son works at a well known department/discount store pushing carts. Sunday night around 10: 20, we received a call from the store. Seems they were calling the paramedics to come check him out because he was “shaking and couldn’t feel anything”. The diagnosis? Heat exhaustion.
- On Saturday my two youngest daughters got to go with their Daddy and their oldest brother to Grandmas and have a dip in her pool. The next day the youngest one was in agony with her ears.
- My husband woke me up at 4:00 this morning to let me know that his unemployment check hadn’t come through this week. When talking to the office about the checks just now, he was told there would be no more unemployment checks…at all (we had been told that they would last through August). He has to contact our Congressman to see if he can get them started back. If not, this spells complete and utter financial disaster for our family (as a very difficult situation becomes perilous).
- The churches that I wrote to in the new area and practically begged to help us look for a room for my husband have been, for the most part, singularly unhelpful. Those that haven’t outright ignored me (even though I sent along a Pastor’s phone number and other contact information as a reference) have basically dismissed me without trying (“Don’t know of anything. Sorry.”). I can’t help but wonder if, instead of a rather poor family seeking to make a new start, we had been a well-known rich family if we would have been dismissed in the same fashion. Somehow, I doubt it.
- Our car needs repairs…again. This time, it’s the fuel injector. Wonder what it will be next week?
- My 14-year old son was bitten by a mouse last night as he attempted to save it from a cat (he was outside when this happened). Yes, a mouse. Yes, it hurts…a lot.
- My husband has to be on the job next Thursday. That gives us one week to come up with a room for him (that we can afford) and sufficient money to send him. This is going to be fun.
- The fridge is giving us fits.
- Two kittens died.
- And…so on….
Okay…please excuse my sarcasm, it’s a family trait (on both sides) and our rather strange sense of humor. Sarcasm aside, the thing is, I feel so blessed. Yes, everything that can go wrong, is, to human eyes, going wrong. Yes, we are being ignored/dismissed again (but, having been poor for several years now, we are so very used to that). Yes, money is a major, major issue and without it, Charles won’t have a room and thus won’t have a job and without lots more of it, we won’t be able to move (we aren’t just sitting around hoping for money to somehow come, we are actively trying very, very hard to sell stuff to raise it…it just keeps being needed elsewhere…like paying the bills we’re somewhat behind on (comes from living on unemployment) and fixing the car (again and again)). And, yes, to lots of other, rather stressful, things happening…like no more income (which is what the unemployment was to us).
But, so what?
God has given my family a great gift these last few years: the gift of poverty. He’s let us see life in a way far too few American Christians get to experience it: from the point of being utterly, completely dependent upon Him for everything. When most folks pray “Give us this day our daily bread”, it’s just a rather pretty part of a rote prayer; for us, it’s fact. There have been so many, many times over this past six years (and even more over the last two years of his being unemployed) that, without God providing for us, we would not have eaten. I know what an empty cupboard (and fridge and freezer) looks like. We know what it feels like to be grateful for food that we don’t much care for. But, then again, we’ve seen God provide for us time and time again and, often, we’ve seen Him provide food that we have thoroughly enjoyed (and wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise).
God is good even when things go wrong. See, His greatest blessings aren’t things, it isn’t money, it isn’t position or power or being thought well of by others in the church. God’s greatest blessing is simply more of Himself. He is our greatest blessing: not just through salvation but through the act of knowing Him as a Father, as a Provider, as a Guide and as a Friend. My family knows that very, very well. God is good even when absolutely everything is going wrong…sometimes He is good simply because He allows every single thing to go wrong. He demonstrates His goodness by making us more and more dependent upon Him.
That’s where my family is now: completely dependent in a Red Sea moment, waiting for God to act.
A few weeks ago, when it looked like things were never going to move at all, when it looked like a job would never come for my husband and our unemployment would run out, I told the Lord, “If we are to be saved, it is You Who must save us.” He acted then and I believe He is going to act now…even though our unemployment has, in fact, run out.
I believe God delights in bringing us into Red Sea moments so that, when we are delivered, we know it was by His hand. I love watching Him act and doing the impossible: changing the night to day, providing where there is no way, bringing peace out of chaos…comfort out of pain…making right, and perfect, what is wrong. I love seeing Him get the glory by doing what few believe can be done.
Right now, by God’s grace, we are in such a position that, if we are to be saved, it is He Who must do the saving, if we are to be delivered, it is He Who must deliver us. I believe He brought us to this moment so that His glory might be revealed.
And I believe that He is very gracious and very good for having done so. May He ever be praised!
Soli Deo gloria!