I’m true believer in the idea that in God’s economy, there is no such thing as coincidence. Things happen for a reason, and timing is never accidental. Consequently, I look at a few recent occurrences and understand that God is working on me in one particular area.
Not too long ago, I received a message from someone who has known me for a long time. She was a friend of my parents, and she is someone who has shown support and encouragement since my parents died. So what she said in this message shook me. She wrote that she was aware of our current financial situation, that my husband has been without a salary for nearly a year and that she’d read mentions of our struggles. However, she said, we didn’t act poor. This woman pointed out what she felt were inconsistencies in my ‘story’ and insinuated that we were ‘crying poor’, while in fact we’re actually doing fine.
At first, I was hurt and more than a little angry. “Good heavens,” I thought. “What do I have to do to prove that we’re just barely hanging on? This is insane!”
And then I remembered something. Back at the beginning of this year, when our grand adventure began, one of the things that God impressed upon me was that we were not to feel impoverished or lacking, no matter what the circumstances were. He wanted us to embrace abundance, understanding that He is the God of unmatched generosity.
Scripture is full of assurances of the extravagant abundance of our God.
John 10:10: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.”
I challenge you to find any example in the Bible where God commands us to wallow in poverty. There is honesty and transparency, and that is understandable. I won’t pretend that everything is just fine all the time. Putting on a show isn’t what we’re talking about here.
What I’m talking about is living in a state of confident expectation of God’s provision and abundance. When I was little, like many other children, I loved Christmas. For me, Christmas Eve was the pinnacle of the year. I liked that night best, I remember, because I’d be fairly buzzing with anticipation. I was expectant. The next morning, I’d open gifts from my parents and grandparents, and they would be wonderful, but even better was before, when the possibilities were infinite.
That’s how we should be living now, no matter how our circumstances might appear to the cynical outside world. No matter what things look like–no matter how bleak, hopeless or desperate, we are called upon to live in the confidence that God is working, and even if the result doesn’t look like what we think it might–we can trust that His way is the best way.
The cool part is that when we remember this truth, it’s easier to follow some of God’s other commandments, like the one about being content in all circumstances.
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
Or another about praising in every situation.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ” . . .give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve just finished reading a book about money and our attitudes toward it. While I might not agree with every aspect of the theory, so much of it jived with this idea of expectant abundance that it was impossible to ignore. It’s been a topic of discussion in our household lately, too.
Here are a couple of truths we’ve culled from God’s word and our other reading:
1) Being rich (financially) doesn’t mean God has blessed you more or less than others. It also doesn’t mean that you’re smarter or wiser than those who aren’t financially comfortable.
2) Being poor (financially) doesn’t mean you’re more Godly or humble than others. It also doesn’t mean that you’re living more in God’s will than those who aren’t in the same situation.
3) Embittered poverty and grasping greed are different sides of the same coin. Both indicate a sense of lacking and a dearth of contentment.
4) Generosity of spirit and in action result in an increased understanding of abundance. Hands that are open to give can also more easily receive.
5) Being excited and anticipatory about what God is going to do next is not naive or crazy. God may not supply your need exactly as you expect, but He will provide.
So to the lady who accused me of not acting poor enough? Thanks! I must be doing something right. After all, it might not look like it in earthly terms, but I am a daughter of the King who owns the cattle on the thousand hills.
And I can’t wait to see what He does next.