Friday, August 8, 2008

Exhibiting a Risky Faith

I had said I might give some examples on a risky faith, so I will give one. It has to do with a financial risk my wife and I took a couple of years ago. Understand a couple of things before I continue. First, faith that risks isn’t always financial. I believe it often is in our world today, because we live in a wealthy country, and money is something we tend to cling to. Secondly, faith that risks simply because of risk is foolish. The decision we made was on based solely on the fact that God told us to do it. We weren’t throwing caution to the wind because of some whim of seeming spiritual. So, here goes…

When I returned home from college, I began working with a church as a youth pastor. While there, knowing at some point God was going to lead me into the position of a head pastor, I wanted to get some opportunities to learn under a pastor working as his assistant. God opened the doors for me to go to Indiana and work with a pastor there for two years. In that time, He taught my wife and I many lessons, and some of them had to do with finances.

Let me tell you that moving in the first place cost us money. It wasn’t a major amount, but I took a pretty heavy pay cut, and on top of that, I had less time to work extra hours because of the time I was working with the church. My wife was able to keep her wage, but didn’t get quite as many hours. She worked at a Cracker Barrel, and we enjoyed the benefits that came with that. All in all, our income was probably cut by about a quarter when we moved. Still, it wasn’t the end of the world. We began to cut here and there, and were still able to make the payments needed.

During this time, Deanna and I wanted to move to the place where she was able to stay at home. We believed this was the direction God was moving us, but assumed it wouldn’t need to happen until we started growing as a family. Up to this point, it was just the two of us, but it seemed to us as if God was leading us to go ahead and have her quit. Understand that if Deanna quit, we would lose our health insurance, and around a third of our income. Not good, really, but we figured if Deanna could keep the insurance through at least our first child’s birth, it would really help.

God had different ideas. I was having my quiet time one morning, and I was telling God that if He wanted Deanna to quit her job, all He had to do was provide for us another source of finances to make up for what we would lose if she quit. Then she could quit her job, and we would remain financially secure. Again, God had different ideas. It was like He came down into the room, and asked me one question; “Haven’t I already told you what My will is?” In other words, here I am telling God that I will obey Him when He provides for us. Suddenly, I saw the ridiculousness of the whole concept.

That night I told Deanna to quit her job. She did so, with much “fear and trembling.” A month later, we found out Deanna was pregnant. Then for about a month I went without getting a full week’s worth of work at my job. In fact, I went for over two months only getting one week with over thirty hours in a single week. Also during this time, we probably had car trouble about every month or so. We had taken a financial risk, and it seemed as if the finances couldn’t get any worse. Yet they did, and continued to do so. Yet we knew we were in God’s will and purpose, so we did as God had called us to do.

God taught us a lot of lessons through that time. Our faith is stronger, our marriage better, and our ministry much better because of this. Yes, it was risk, and there were times we had no idea where the money was going to come from. I could tell you some stories about that time which had us very, very worried, yet each time God came through and proved to us how foolish we were for worrying.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19.

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