Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 28, 2013

When will I ever learn?

Money is tight, meaning almost non-existent.
You know how it is. Like many families struggling to get by, we now rely on a disability check, which I receive at the start of each month.
It’s a good two weeks until the next one arrives, and we were out of money. More month than check. Flat broke.
Well, not exactly, there was supposed to be $32 in the checking account, but then a bill came up that took $20 this morning unexpectedly from our treasure, so we were down to a healthy $12 to live on.
And remember that two week thing? There are three souls living in this house that survive on that check. That $12 would not get us far.
I decided to place an ad on Craigslist to parse out some more of my musical equipment. My wife placed an ad on the local online yard-sale site. Poor thing, about all she had left to sell was her engagement ring.
We never were the best at managing money, and we never really had that much money to manage, except for the last few years I worked.
Those were golden Halcyon years, but then the economy died almost overnight, and I fell chronically ill.
There was no more work that I could find to do and what I could do employers didn’t want me to do.
We lost most of what we had. Like so many others, our lives changed practically overnight.
Well, difficult years followed. There were dozens of times that I had no idea from where our next meal was coming or how the next bill would ever be paid.
Soon I started noticing a very interesting pattern. We would be facing a cliff, there would be no foreseeable way to avoid falling off the formidable precipice. We would pray, and then a miracle would happen on the very day, the very day that we would be forced off that cliff.
I won’t bore you with the myriad of details here, if you want to know more you can ask me personally, but things like rent payment being slashed by loving landlords who prayed for us, artwork projects coming at just the right moment, somebody giving us a gift. A thousand things happening that were not a simple coincidence. It became very plain to me that I was being trained to trust God for His provision.

Each and every time that formidable cliff was before us, we would pray, privately or together, and at exactly the last possible moment miraculous provision would come. Out of nowhere, it would seem. I began to expect it and that was God’s plan.
Faith is expecting something good from something that is unseen.
I know with the certainty of which I can know anything at all on this planet, that these ongoing lessons were intentional.
I was having my ability to trust God developed. You see, you never really develop muscles without a workout…likewise you never really develop spiritual muscles without trials. I was seeing trials. I was being built up in faith, for some reason yet to be seen.
Like I said earlier at the start of this little story, we found ourselves at yet another cliff.
Two weeks remained before any funds were to arrive. Our bills had exceeded our meager income.
My wife, though looking incessantly for work, found none for months. We decided to again, sell what we had remaining to make it to the beginning of another month.
I prayed…”Lord, provision…in Jesus’ name.”
Then, she got word of a job.

Now, it’s a pretty good little job and she’ll enjoy it, but it will be a few weeks before she starts, and even then it’ll be a week or two before the first check arrives. Not soon enough.
Well, a fellow emailed me. He was interested in the congas and a classical guitar that I had advertised on Craiglist, and wanted to meet me.
I thought “OK, here we go. Provision. Thank you God.”
He was driving up from Charlotte and I would meet him at 11 o’clock. On the way to meet him I thanked the Lord for His amazing provision. Though I really didn’t want to sell what little I had left, I was happy that there appeared a way to make it.
The fellow who was interested in my gear was very nice and we enjoyed a good long chat, but neither the congas nor the guitar were what he needed.
So, on the way home I reflected on the situation, and the natural man’s way of thinking came to the surface.
“What will I tell my family? We have $12 to last us for over two weeks, and almost no food is in the house. What will I say? They will be so downcast.”
I was brokenhearted.

So, once home, I got out of the car very slowly, and carried the congas back into the house, then made another trip to the car to get the guitar.
Setting them down inside I shared the news.
“No sale, wasn’t what he needed,” I said as I went sullenly to the kitchen table, set my head down into my hands and just sat there for a moment feeling broken, tired and very sad.
After a few minutes I decided to flip open my wife’s old laptop computer, and like I often do, went to Facebook to amuse myself.
Facebook came up, and I noticed a “message” was in my inbox.
Clicking on the message, here is what it said:
“…Hi, I have some food for you and I am trying to figure out how to get it to you. Do you think you and Tonia could come and get it? I can give you gas money….”
God did it to me again. He gave me one more lesson in learning to trust Him, and through His faithful servant answered my prayer and my family’s plight.
I tried to solve the dilemma my way by retreating, but He had other plans.
Time after time after time after time He has done this for me. When will I ever get it settled in my soul that I do not have to worry about such things.
He knows exactly what I need, even better than I and knows how to bless me when I need it.
“Relax, I’ve got this.” He said.
If I were wealthy I might never see the connectivity between His miraculous provision, and my desperate need, because I would rarely have any desperate needs.
I am so glad that I am not wealthy. Since I live pretty much day-to-day, such a provision becomes a much more powerful, poignant and visible action and by being able to see it as such I am undoubtedly blessed.
I pity the folk who think erroneously that their riches come solely from the work of their own hands.
It doesn’t, it is all God’s and His to give and to take.
You’d think I’d have this subject under my belt by now.
When will I ever learn?

I’m starting to get it.
Gordon Furr lives in Rowan County.