"Just once I'd like my ship to come in and not have it carrying nuclear waste."
Spoken like a man who's been through the wringer when it comes to failures vs success. When you've been riding the financial roller coaster for so many years and then get on a Ferris Wheel you would think the ride would be much smoother. But the dull throb of the headache and lingering twists in your tummy take awhile to subside.
For many years my hard working husband has been self employed. The last several years of that were beyond lean and we faced many an uphill battle to keep our home and our sanity. God was faithful to continue to provide for us and while we often felt weary from the stress we also grew stronger in our faith. With many people praying with us for a change in circumstances it was with a huge sigh of relief when my husband accepted a job offer for a local company. For the first time in our near 20 years of married life we had a regular paycheck to rely on and a budget that actually could work. What a tremendous blessing.
Still, we had months of financial wreckage to deal with and each month we squeaked by paying just what we needed to pay with nothing left over. We were paying our bills and that felt good but we knew all it would take was one visit to the dentist or a car breakdown to send us reeling. God stepped in once again and my husband, having proved himself capable received a raise in pay. Now we could breathe just a little easier.
Each time we went through one of those roller coaster dips, we tried hard not to freak out. Our God was always faithful and just in the nick of time He would show us a way through the dark valley. He didn’t rescue us from the dark valley but He did walk beside us holding the flashlight.
|photo by Robyn Burke|
We often talked about the lesson we were supposed to be learning in all of this. We’d think we’d figured it out and then another financial crisis would strike and we’d cry, “What are we not getting here Lord? Are we really this slow at getting it that we need to go through this again?”
Then a daily devotional arrived in my email. The writer’s main gist was that our success isn’t measured by how well we perform during one of life’s trials, but by our faith. I can breakdown and cry. I can fret and worry and I can even complain bitterly about my situation. But as long as my faith in my Savior doesn’t waver, I come out a winner.
Oh did I ever need this point brought to my attention. I shared it with my husband and we chewed on it for some time. Maybe the lesson we were supposed to be learning wasn’t about how to be strong in a crisis or being humble enough to ask for help. Maybe the lesson had nothing to do with learning to get by on less or going in a different direction. What was important was did we keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith?
With a renewed sense of direction we focus now on remaining faithful. If we occasionally still mutter when we pay the bills and worry about too much month at the end of the money, or grumble when others are going to dinner and the movies and we are eating rice and beans and watching you-tube videos, its okay. I doesn’t mean we’ve failed another test. What matters is we are living the life God called us to and we are living it with faith. We may not do it perfectly but we are intent on doing it better.