Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Expenses Paid.

By Hamed Saber from Tehran, Iran CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

We just arrived back 'home' from another interview. The best thing about the children and I going along for my husband's interview process is that we gain a greater understanding, a better mental picture of the scope of God's kingdom being spread through every tongue, tribe and nation. The hard part is waiting to hear if they 'want' us and us discerning God's will.

I must say the struggle, the waiting, the financial stress is exhausting, but I know He means for this uncomfortable stretching of my spirit for His purposes, His good.

Looking back over the past five months of having no steady income, I am humbled and amazed at God's provision and honestly, on paper, have no idea how we've survived. We have been astonished by surprise checks in mail, generous parents and friends being servants of the King, offering help and food and encouragement to us along this hard road. Like the manna God daily provided for His people while they were in the desert, He has provided for us daily (Exodus 16). Just what we have needed. not more. not less.

In "our situation" as we have come to say in soooo many conversations lately, I often fantasize about what life will look like again when/if we ever have steady income again. Sometimes I even wish we were living in the early days of America, living off of the land when what one "needed" was less and what one had to spend was his or her time. Time to till and sow and reap. This time of need has taught me so much about myself, how I perceive "need," how impatient with God I really am, and how no matter how hard I try to solve problems with moralism or works, my attempts are futile. I cannot be perfect for me, for my husband, for my children, for God. I really hate that too. I want to be a.b.l.e to BE perfect, but it won't happen; it's not possible.

I've realized that too often, I equate security and need with a dollar sign. And unless you're living off the land in some nomadic lifestyle or living with someone who's covering your expenses, you really do need money to eat, to drink, to have shelter with electricity and running water, to have computers and software and phones and internet access to communicate with clients and, and, and.......

The stress of the day to day survival, making sure my children have food to eat, answering the "When can we go to Disney World, Mommy?" questions and explaining why I do not know when or if we will do x y or z has certainly affected all of us.

I was convinced that my eight year old son was still exhibiting signs of ingesting caffeine three days after his daddy had given him coffee. He had been fidgety, spilling things, aggravating his sisters much more than usual and almost, quite literally, bouncing off the walls. That was until tonight while the hubs was away and the girls were all tucked in bed, I asked him to sit and chat with me. I gave him the "What is Up with you lately?," pointing out his erratic behavior. After a few moments of silence he told me he was afraid - afraid we were poor. Me.oh.my.

I knew the stress has affected each of us differently, but had hoped the kids wouldn't notice the depth of our desperation. They are smart, sensitive little folks, who DO notice. - And - What a Responsibility we parents have to answer, to counsel, to love, to model!

The words that poured from my mouth were the very words I needed to hear myself. Explaining that
1. Even though we're broke and don't have the biggest toys/house/new car/fill in the blank, we are, compared to so many others in this world, very rich, even materially.

2. God is not a genie in a lamp, but hears us and cares deeply for His children and will provide for our needs.

3. We must turn our fear, our worry, into not just a prayer, but a dialogue with the One who IS in control. Expressing to God when having a hard time trusting, believing, etc.

4. Because of Christ we are truly rich.
Children of the world "trust in chariots and horses" (Psalm 20:7) and equate riches to money and things. Everywhere we turn the world sells us this lie, even when we know we cannot take any of that earthly wealth with us when we die.

Children of God must choose to find their riches in the hope that was paid for on the cross. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Because of Christ, those who believe have the eternal hope of having a real relationship with God, who is not far off. That is the ultimate wealth! The expense of our sin, was paid for by Christ! He has covered our expenses, our debt.

In our "situation" our prayer has been for God to shepherd us like the ignorant sheep we are - that He would hit us over the head with a clear "Yes" or "No." So far, either by being chosen second out of thirty or more applicants (more than once now), or by us knowing it wasn't right, we've received all "Nos" thus far. We have said, "Lord, we will go wherever You want us to go. Just show us where!" and we have been literally around the world, but have not had a clear call-yet. I know that God is putting together the puzzle without giving me a peek at the box that has the picture on it!

In my impatience I am susceptible to believing the lies that He doesn't keep His promises, that He has forgotten me, that He will not provide, that the debt of my sin is too big, that it won't get better. For my sake and for the sake of my children, His children, I must fall on my knees and equip my heart and mind with the truth of His Word that I so often avoid. I must combat those lies with the assurance that my expenses, in fact, have been paid and "...the Lamb..will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. " (Revelation 7:17)

Opal Pool, in the Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
By Opal_Pool_YNP2.jpg: Acroterion derivative work: Gaendalf [CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

"...Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."

(excerpt from Be Thou My Vision, At­trib­ut­ed to Dal­lan For­gaill, 8th Cen­tu­ry; trans­lat­ed from an­cient Ir­ish to Eng­lish by Ma­ry E. Byrne, in “Eriú,” Jour­nal of the School of Ir­ish Learn­ing, 1905, and versed by El­ea­nor H. Hull, 1912, alt.)

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