Money. It's an emotionally charged word. In today's uncertain economy, many people struggle to pay their bills, and often live paycheck to paycheck. They have no backup plan. Some are unemployed—or underemployed—and wonder when things will ever change.
It’s the stuff that keeps us up at night.
That's when we need to make a choice. Will we succumb to fear and worry? Or, will we choose to trust in the God who owns it all and provides for all our needs?
As you ponder that, here's a great story.
A few years ago, Kim and Gary moved half a world away, from Nebraska to Sydney, Australia in order for her husband to pursue a degree in worship and creative arts. They had carefully saved and budgeted prior to leaving so they’d have enough money to take them through the two-year course.
However, shortly after arriving in Australia, the exchange rate took a downturn and their money didn't stretch as far as they’d anticipated. Within eight months their savings had dried up.
It was scary to be thousands of miles away from home with no way to leave and no way to stay. So the couple began to pray.
Three weeks after they hit bottom, Kim felt a sense of desperation settle on her; she felt utterly hopeless. She cried out to God and, despite her feelings, chose to rely totally on Him to take care of her family.
Shortly after that, a friend came to the door. This man had recently bought a new car and he wanted to show it to Kim's family. Needless to say, she wasn't very enthusiastic about seeing someone else’s shiny red sports car when she could barely feed her kids.
Kim tried patiently to listen as the friend described all of its features. She oohed and ahhed at the interior's new smell, but inside she wanted to scream.
Finally, the friend said, "You simply have to see the trunk. It's mammoth!" She smiled weakly as he popped it open. Surprisingly, the trunk was filled with groceries and household goods—enough to last several weeks!
Kim began to cry tears of joy as the friends carried the first of many loads into their home.
Through that act of generosity, and other events, Kim and Gary learned unforgettable lessons in faith and provision as God showed up in amazing and unexpected ways.
You may feel like you are in a financial desert right now too. It's dry and barren, and there's more lack than abundance.
It's faith-testing time. And powerful prayer is essential.
Powerful prayer comes as we are persistent, not perfect. Jesus simply says, "Ask." Matthew 7:7 records it: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Prayer is powerful because God is powerful.
Our job is to ask, to come into agreement with what God already wants for us. We come before the ruler of the universe, the most Holy God and present our requests. We worship Him, and we thank Him. And we wait, expectantly for Him to work on our behalf—for His good purposes that will bring glory to His name.
Here's the thing: It all comes from God—He provides our income and we manage the saving, spending and giving—from our hands, back to God (in tithing and giving), to our needs, and then toward meeting the needs of others.
There is a flow of receiving and giving.
Finally, whether we're in a season of plenty or lack we can be rich in other ways—rich in love, friendship and hope.
If you are feeling defeated in your finances, turn to God. Ask Him to help you. Confess your misperceptions about money and ask Him to release anything that is holding you back or gripping your heart in this area.
My hope is that you will have "wild hope" in our awesome God who delights in helping his children. It's hope that extravagant even when the cupboard is bare. It believes beyond today with expectation that one day there will be more than enough—beyond what you can ask or imagine.
Have courage. Have faith.
When all seems hopeless, Jesus Christ is your Wild Hope—and mine.
Prayer for finances
Trust me in your times of trouble,
and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.
Psalm 50:15 (NLT)
Lord, I need help. You know how hard it's been. So here I am trusting You to make a way where there seems to be no way out. I surrender my finances, my attitude and how I think things should happen. I let go and give You my financial burdens. I ask for victory in my finances. In hard times or good times, I choose to trust You. Thank you for your peace, despite my circumstances. In Jesus' name. Amen.