Seth Carter – CLI Intern for Student Ministries
Just last month I found out I was receiving a financial gift. My excitement, however, was short lived. After going over my family’s monthly budget, I discovered we had some unexpected expenses, and regular funds we were counting on had unexpectedly stopped. I remember feeling stressed—and to be honest, a little angry! I mean, come on! It felt like just when I could visualize us getting ahead in the financial game, something would happen and it would break… again!
I had these angry feelings for a couple of days until I felt God impressing two major lessons on my heart. First, I had been praying for God to help me grow in my capacity to trust and rely on Him. So many of us pray for character growth, hoping to wake up one day completely transformed. What I didn’t realize was that by asking God to help me grow my trust in Him, He would then give me situations where my trust would be tested and built. Rats!
The second lesson I learned was that I really had to examine why I wanted to be ahead financially. I had a very good “Biblical” answer for this: I wanted to be able to help others in need. My true motive, I realized, I wanted to be able to handle unexpected events. I was hoping for stability on my own. I wanted to be ahead financially so I did not have to need or rely on God.
A quote I love says, “Prepare like it depends on you, but pray as if it all depends on God!” God has given us the faculties to work and to do what is necessary to take care of our families and ourselves. But even our best preparations can fall short of our expectations. When this happens—because it will—we are never to take our focus off of God. This has been a huge, life-changing lesson for me. Hoping it encourages you too.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)