Risky faith beckons to greater contentment
I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Our family had moved to a new community and I had a new job with less pay. We had downsized of our own free will because of what we believed to be the will of our heavenly Father.
To top it all off, we were a single income family with one child and another on the way. But, not just any lovechild freely conceived in a fit of logic-suspending passion. Oh no, the critter on the way was being adopted internationally. This was family addition that had turned into calculus. Not only had we chosen to adopt because of another of God’s clearly cloudy calls (and to pay handsomely for it), but we had just accepted that His will meant having less money to do it all with. Who spiked the tap water?
And so it was I came to that dark day sitting in my new office all too keenly aware of our lack. Fees were due to bureaucracies without sympathy and lawyers with more than enough. The cash simply was not there. To be honest I was a mess as I stared out the window unable to focus on the day’s tasks. My wife and I had been praying, scrimping and scrounging. Neither God nor either of us seemed to have a solution. The lottery seemed temptingly to have better odds.
My glazed gaze was interrupted by a knock on the door. I opened it to the welcome sight of a friend and mentor from our previous community. He was passing through and thought he’d stop by—long time no see; a sight for sore eyes. I wanted to spill all my angst, anxiety and anger. Which, of course I didn’t. I was too manly for that; too blessedly proud and pompous.
Instead, we talked over a whole host of things. The job. The weather. Politics. Church. Faith. Family. Sports.We ran the gamut, but never got to the core of my pain and anguish. Eventually he rose to leave. As he approached the door, however, he stopped. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he reminded himself and reached into his jacket explaining that he and his wife had been praying for us. Then, rather unceremoniously, he placed a wad of rolled up bills in my hand—$500. Enough to cover this round of dues and fees. Enough to keep moving forward in faith. Silence. Gratitude. Tears. Enough.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” says the New Testament writer (Hebrews 13:5).We tend to apply these words to only the lonely. We elicit them to comfort the afflicted and discouraged. This is all well and good and wonderfully Hallmarkish. But.
But, the context of these words is startling given these days of economic upheaval and the rash worship of accumulation in our culture. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you….” God’s promise to be present is a knock-on-the door reminder to flee our fretting over and infatuation with money. Money comes and goes; God does not.
Pushed further we discover that this quote is pulled from Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. There, Moses is passing his leadership mantle to Joshua. The wizened saint encourages his people and protégé, because they were as nervous as we can be in seasons of transition and tumult, “…he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6,8).
The Israelites were about to enter a new land, with new uncertainties and potential risks and losses. What should have been the glorious fulfillment of God’s promise and leading presence was turning into a fret-fest. How would they ever survive? The wilderness can be hard to live in, but it can be equally hard to leave.
He will never leave. We are not forsaken. He is present. Be content. Love the Lord alone. Be free. God knows. He is not flummoxed by what is seemingly spinning out of control. He knows what we need, and when. He keeps His promises. Our quandaries are no surprise to Him. All may appear empty, but He will be enough.
I remember that day like it was yesterday and it frees me. He is enough. And His enough beckons me to greater contentment, adoration and risky faith because He has promised.