This is been a crazy time, just like when everything broke a few years ago. In 2008 everything broke at our house. Everything that was really expensive broke. The water heater broke, then the battery died in my car, and then the air conditioning broke. I thought that was it. Then the roof needed to be replaced. Everything had to be replaced. We had to sell a lot of things and go without. We cut out cable TV and got rid of the home phone. I sold my car and got a cheaper one. And then we had to get a second mortgage on the house.
I didn’t have anybody who could help me. I couldn’t call on my parents and my relatives were of no help. But somehow we made it through. And we learned how to take care of ourselves. It’s nice not having to rely on other people especially when money is concerned. That can ruin friendships and strain families.
Now is a very similar time. My car had to be paid off a few months sooner than I planned. And then there was an unexpected repair expense on it. Sometimes the check engine light is something simple. And sometimes it is something that costs a lot of money. This was one of the latter times. And now the washing machine has broken. That was another three hundred dollars.
I’m thinking of the serenity prayer – that if it is something I can control, I should. If it isn’t something I can control – trust that God has got it under control.
Because all of this was out of my hands, I trust that God is behind all of this. But it is still one of those times where I don’t want to have to trust. Since we are refinancing the house we will have a little extra money in our account very soon. And since the cars are paid off we will have a little more. But we don’t have it yet.
I was looking forward to saving up that money, or even using it on a home repair project. There are a number of projects that have had to wait because we haven’t had the money to do them. Sure, I’ve had some money saved up, but savings is really for emergencies.
We certainly have had our fair share of emergencies recently.
It feels like I never am able to save up extra money for us – that a windfall will happen but then an unexpected expense will happen. We always seem to stay even. I’m grateful for that, but I’d like to not cut it so tight.
Jesus tells us to not worry about anything – about our clothing or our food or where we live. He points to the lilies-of-the-valley. But then he also tells a story about the handmaidens who were waiting. The ones who have oil in their lamps and have their wicks trimmed are the ones who succeed.
He also tells the story about the talents. There are three people who were given money and they have to take good care of it. They have to be good stewards. If they don’t do anything they fail and they get cast out.
So are we supposed to worry or not? Are we supposed to exert ourselves or not? This doesn’t make any sense. Surely we have to take care of ourselves and look out for ourselves, but we’re also supposed to trust. How much is our responsibility and how much is God’s responsibility?
God tells us that God’s ways are not our ways. Why am I trying to make any of this make sense? It won’t add up, because I can’t see things the way God sees them.
So meanwhile, I’ll pray through everything and feel it out – do this, or not?
The prophet Isaiah says –
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 RSV)
No matter where we go, God is there with us.