By Jolene Engle, Contributing Writer
I think most people at one point in their lives have worried about their finances. We’ve attended what I like to call, The School of Financial Suffering. Of course some have been attending this school longer than others. Certainly the one person that holds a Doctorate in this school is Job himself. Goodness, I think he could be the Valedictorian as well as the President of this university!
I identify with Job in more ways than one.
We have lived through an IRS audit, were dragged through a lawsuit, had our home foreclosed upon, couldn’t afford to pay rent for the rental home we were living in, and then we had to live with friends. So, yes, I do know what it feels like to attend the School of Financial Suffering which, of course, led my flesh to feel overwhelmed with worry.
The worries came when…
- We only had a few bucks in our pockets and there was no work on the horizon.
- We didn’t know where we were going to live.
- We didn’t know where we’d get the money for our medications.
- Our electricity was turned off because we couldn’t pay the bill. It was a cold, dark night!
- We didn’t have much food in our pantry and we didn’t know when we could buy more. I was hoping this problem would cause me to lose some weight! It didn’t…but I didn’t have to cook as much since the cupboards were slightly bare!
- We didn’t have health insurance and a my Beloved was in need of medical attention. A trip to the ER can really set a wife over the emotional edge and cause a great amount of anxiety!
- Parts were stolen off of my car which left it inoperable until we could come up with the several thousands of dollars to fix it. Oh, that Enemy is a thief alright and I’d like to kill him…but I’ll let Jesus take care of that snake!
- The transmission went out on my husband’s truck which put him in a bind of driving it home backwards for several miles. I was so glad I was not in the vehicle when that happened!
- I lost my mind when I didn’t know where my home was. I’m so not kidding on this one! We moved so many times in such a short time period that I actually drove to the wrong house! I was mentally spent to say the least!
- My mind was consumed with fear and desperation as I thought, Is God’s grace really enough, like the song says, when in reality my boy needs shoes because he’s got holes in the bottom of his soles and it’s raining outside.
- I know what it’s like to feel uncertainty, fear, exhaustion, anger, despair, apathy, and frustration. I also know what it’s like to feel forgotten and forsaken by God Himself. I was well acquainted with all those words and emotions for years on end. And yes, I did wonder where God was in all of this as we purposefully and intentionally lived a righteous way of life only to have more heartache and pain from one financial problem after another.
And then I look at Job….He was righteous too, yet God allowed him to go through one trial after another. I take heart in Job’s story and his faithfulness to proclaim the name of the Lord in spite of all that he endured. He’s a faithful man of God that I deeply admire.
I, too, want God’s name lifted high even when my bank account is low and my health is failing.
So here’s what God has taught me while I’ve attended the School of Financial Suffering.
Most Believers know the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) Now it’s probably hard to think that we love money when we’re just trying to pay the mortgage/rent and put food on the table, right? Come on now, it’s not like we’re asking the Lord to give us a boatload of money so we can buy a new car or go on some extravagant vacation! Yet, looking back over the last 5 years of our financial storms, the Lord revealed to me a few things about how I view money.
I basically put more trust in my husband’s business, our savings account, wise spending and budgeting, etc, that I felt more secure in that system, rather than finding my security in the Lord. In essence, I was trusting in our riches, savings, frugality, etc. rather than in God. And I was loving and trusting in what money was capable of doing for our lives rather than what God wanted to do in our lives.
So my Father prodded me with following questions:
- Daughter, do you love and trust money so much that you distrust Me?
- Daughter, do you love and trust money so much that you deem it okay to take out your fears and frustrations on your husband and children or those around you?
- Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money is causing you to lessen your respect for your husband? This isn’t biblical, by the way. So, is this the type of wife that you want to be? Or do you want to be a faith-filled wife?
- Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money is a threat to your marital oneness? If you keep holding on to your fears and live in a state of worry then this problem will come between you and your Beloved.
- Daughter, do you realize that your love and trust in money can turn you into a snappy, contentious and controlling woman because you lack faith that I will provide for you?
Yes, I was totally convicted by my Lord’s words!
So why did I feel this way? Because I’m selfish.
Why did I distrust that God would provide? Because I lack faith and I was fearful of our future.
Why did I lash out or take out my frustrations on my husband or children? Because I lack control over my situation.
So my Father taught me why I struggled with all of this…
The 3 Root Causes that Feed Our Financial Concerns
1. We Become Fearful
It’s scary to lose what you’re used to. You’re not sure of what’s going to happen to you. Where are you going to live? Where’s the money going to come from? What do you do when medical attention is needed? What are you going to eat and will you have clothes to wear? Honestly, I really think we need to look at birds more often like the Scriptures say.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
Peaceful thought: According to God, we are more valuable than birds!
2. We Become Controlling
You know, we sure do think highly of ourselves, don’t we? We think we’ve got life all under control when in reality, that is the furthest thing from the truth. God is the one who’s got things under control! Yet, we have a tendency to think if we’ve got money tucked away in our savings or 401k we’ll be okay. Well, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank….it’s a false sense of security because you never know what the Lord is going to take you through. If you don’t believe me, then let me remind you of Job.
So what does God’s children start to do when the finances are becoming less and less? We turn to the Lord in prayer, right? No, not usually. First we freak out and then we try to control our situation. Then, if we’re really controlling, we’ll turn to our spouses and start to control them! This right here is key to many marital problems when the financial trials start to rain in your marriage.
3. We Become Selfish
Not only do I want a beautiful roof over my head, a soft bed to sleep in, blankets and covers to keep me warm, but I want a nice fluffy pillow for my head too. Yet, when I reflect on the verse below, I can’t help but think I’m pretty darn selfish! And why do I say this? Because the Lord has provided all of these things for me, however, I’m still not satisfied. I want more and I want things my way! Take a look at how our Savior lived so you can have a better understanding of this viewpoint.
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Luke 9:58
Yes, the reality is, when we love and trust in money more than God, this causes us to do some strange things! When our finances are low (or non-existent) we become more fearful, controlling and selfish. Turning our eyes to Jesus is what we need to do in order to overcome these issues….and this is where you’ll experience the peace of God!
How about you, friend? Have you battled with worry in your finances? What have you done to experience God’s peace during this season of your life?