I guess we’re not in the wilderness any more.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that since about 2005 our finances have been a bit… sporadic. While Pete worked full time (and more), and I cared for my elderly dad, started a business, and continued with the volunteer ministry God placed me in, we’d only get a paycheck every few months. We used up our savings, we simplified our lifestyle, we prayed—a lot! And God provided.
He provided so well that now, eight years later, our only debt is our mortgage, and the house is worth more than we owe. Plus, we’ve never lacked the funds to pay our bills on time. We’re very grateful.
Now, once again, there’s enough money in the ministry account to provide for regular paychecks. We don’t make a lot, but at least it’s predictable. I had been dreaming of this day for years: being able to budget, being able to give more than a small tithe, being able to save for unexpected expenses, being able to pay our bills ahead of time!
Now we have an income again and it’s not quite what I had imagined.
You know that verse in Deuteronomy 29:5-6? The one that reads:
Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. … I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”
Well, that is exactly what God did for us. For all those years we survived on minimal resources, our shoes literally did not wear out. Our appliances are geriatric, yet they’ve needed only minor repairs (which my handyman husband was easily able to deal with). The cars purred like pussycats. We stayed remarkably healthy.
But we’re not in the wilderness any more.
The paychecks kicked in last fall. The very same month, our car started having conniption fits, idling erratically. The “check engine” light came on. Three repairs and five hundred dollars later, it’s still on. And
I wonder where that jagged piece of metal came from? It cut through the sidewalls so cleanly, I only noticed when I discovered the flat. At least the car handles snow-packed roads better with its new tires.
The same month, Pete was told the tendons and tunnels in his hand and arm had passed their warranty date. We have insurance, but it only covered part of the surgery and rehab expenses. Insurance only covered part of the dental bills, too, when my new, exceptionally awesome dentist repaired a mess left by my previous, inept dentist (who apparently had decided I was going to finance his tropical vacation).
Why wasn’t I surprised when the water heater imploded? Thankfully, my photos were spared the flood in my office. And I really like the new flooring.
Hey God, I know we’re got an income again, but we don’t make that much!
We had dreams about discretionary income. Instead, God decided that we still have lessons to learn.
I discovered it was easier to trust him to provide for our needs when there wasn’t any income. There was no other place to turn—He had to provide. We knew it was out of our hands. After all, we were wandering in the wilderness.
Now that we’re in the promised land of paychecks, we’re responsible to pray and ask how to allocate the funds we’ve been entrusted with. We have to listen to God, make budgets, and use self-control. You know, act like adults.
Of course, he’s still our provider. I know he’s our ultimate source of income. It’s just that now he expects us to act with maturity.
We’re not in the wilderness any more.