What’s going on when we do everything right, and bad things still happen?
“What do you want from me, Lord?” we cry. “I’m doing the best I can. Isn’t that enough for you?”
A single mom whose family is struggling for every dollar tries to be faithful, prays, forces herself to have good thoughts about those who have harmed her. And then her work hours are cut.
A man who has experienced grief and loss now advocates for those suffering in his community. And yet his advocacy is ineffective when his own family is in need.
In our home, a day came some years ago when my husband and I were in this position. We’d lived by the adage, “God helps those who help themselves,” but things just kept getting worse.
We’re trying, Lord, I cried. What are we doing wrong?
I searched scripture for that verse, but it wasn’t there. In fact, I found the opposite.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
For us, trusting God was a last ditch effort. To be honest, we didn’t cast our cares on the Lord because we believed he’d sustain us. We did it because we had no other option. Unable to find decent work, having to use the food bank to feed our kids, my husband and I were broken.
We knew what scripture said when it came to finances.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3
Test God? Fine. We’d take him at his word. Still, I fully expected our next step would be to lose the house, and prepared myself for that.
I don’t know about hubby, but I came to our agreement like the widow in 1 Kings:17 who said to the prophet, Elijah, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah told her to go home and make him bread from what she had, to serve him first, then make something for herself and her son with what was left.
So we did the same. We began to pay tithe to our church, taking 10% off the top of hubby’s E.I. income and $4 a week from the $40 I made cleaning a neighbour’s house. Space doesn’t allow me to describe all that happened in the ensuing months and years. Suffice to say we didn’t lose our house. We never used the food bank again. Ten years later we had an emergency fund, RRSPs well underway, and decent vehicles to drive.
We would not have taken this seemingly foolish step had we not been brought to the end of our own resources. It was only in giving up, giving in and doing it God’s way that we discovered God could be trusted.
Do you trust him?
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