Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV)
I stared at the numbers. The “out” figure was significantly higher than the “in.” Paying only a portion was not an option. The bills were to be paid in full, the due dates firm.
“Show me how to do this, Lord,” I whispered, pushing back the worry nudging at my heart.
And He did. It wasn’t the way I’d wanted—taking the money from a meager investment account we use for emergencies. But when God gives the answer, I’ve learned to follow His advice.
It looks as though I’m going to be asking His advice more, because this year our budget is being hit hard. We’ve had to replace our 35-year-old water pressure tank, the washer (although it was only 16 years old) and my husband’s eyeglasses, all within two months after we breathed a sigh of relief for paying the taxes on time.
Looming just ahead are a deposit on a new hearing aid for me (I won’t even tell you how old the one I have is), the bi-annual car insurance payment and a doubled property tax bill (stirring up the hornet’s nest here). Add to the list higher copays and health insurance deductibles.
But it is what it is. So I’m back to praying, “Lord, show me how to do this.”
There was a time when I prayed for God to send the money. I expected Him to drop it in our laps. It didn’t happen. Not that He doesn’t keep His word to provide for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), to hear us when we call on Him (Jeremiah 33:3), to answer when we ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7–11). He just knew I had greater needs than instant money.
I needed to learn to live within our means. I needed to apply the words “frugal,” “resourceful” and “wise.” I needed to learn the difference between “needs” and “wants.” It took me a while, but I needed to learn how to pray—not “Send me the money (like, NOW)” but “Show me how to do this.” And I needed to learn to find the thanks.
When we’re getting slammed with the unexpected, the unwanted, it’s human nature to cry, “Unfair!” or “Why me?” and to complain, argue and wrestle with (and sometimes feed) a bad attitude.
Changing our attitude involves a change in our thinking from “poor me” to “rich me.” We have a Father who provides for all of our needs out of His riches—His glorious riches.
What am I thankful for in this time when the month is longer than the money?
I’m thankful the water tank lasted as long as it did, the washer needed only one repair during those 16 years, and when they did need replaced, we had the money to pay for them—hubby’s first Social Security check.
And I’m thankful for a Father in Heaven who will show me how to meet those upcoming bills, who provides for all my needs, and who’s teaching me to find the thanks.
When the stuff of life gets overwhelming, Lord, help me to find the thanks. Amen.
MORE TEA: Read Philippians 4:4–9