It can be easy to only remember the problems in our lives and not what happened yesterday that made us smile, or the fondest memories of time spent with our families. My problems amount to a car payment, rent, tuition bills, and other financial burdens. These all combine to create a great wall of doubt, uneasiness, and anxiety in my life.
Recently a trend amongst my generation has been the phrase “first world problems,” which is a telling statement. Even in the affluent “first world,” we never completely find contentment, whatever economic situation we seem to find ourselves in. Whether its living overseas and losing power during the winter, (as happened frequently to me during my childhood in the “third world”) or if its the fact that my assignment is one page shorter than the required length; things never seem to go exactly the way I think they should.
Yet, when I reflect on how God has provided for me over the years, one distinct story always seems to slap me in the face and give me the perspective I need.
At the beginning of summer, 2010, I was desperately seeking to come out to California to go to school at Biola University, but it was starting to look financially impossible. Despite this, I still felt called to go. I prayed and prayed, and God delivered in the form of 3 jobs all at once.
I worked for the U.S. Census bureau 30-40 hours a week, worked as a busboy at a seafood restaurant for another 5-10 and did yard work occasionally as well. After working for nearly 60 hours a week for the whole summer, I was $1,000 short of what I needed. Classes started in a week and I was still in Richmond, Virginia.
Dejected, I went to church on Sunday night, planning to cancel my already-purchased plane ticket. Then a man walked up to me and said that after much prayer, he was going to give me $1,000 for me to use for school.
I never had told this man about my school needs, nor the exact amount I needed, and yet God told him the exact amount to give.
What is your greatest memory of when God provided, or when you were so dejected and He pulled you out of the mire? If you are still in one of those situations, turn to James 1 and read it over and over again:
“Count it all joy my brothers when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2; and 1:12).
The book of James in my Bible is covered in notations, wrinkled and ruffled due to my constant referencing of its lessons. Yet, I thank God for this. I thank God that he gives me financial tests, and that I am constantly having to trust in the Lord because it always reminds me that I can’t do anything on my own.