“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?” – Morgan Freeman as God from the movie ‘Evan Almighty’
Who would have thought I would be using this scene from a movie to help answer a friend’s questions about prayer. To be honest, I believe there is some truth to what “God” was saying in this movie. My family has experienced God’s definite answer to our prayer.
This year my husband and I wanted to be debt-free. We asked God to help us fulfill this year-long goal. We decided to sit down with our disciplers one night for financial counseling. A few minutes into the discussion, Peewee and I realize both financially illiterate. That divine appointment was set by God to open our eyes on how we manage the resources He has blessed us with. The Lord used our disciplers to minister to us, pray with us and help us strategize.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
On our way home, my husband and I were both convicted on our spending habits. With a resolve to do the right thing, we had to exhaust all possible options to accomplish our goal but also to be good stewards of the Lord. We asked God to help us get out of debt. And God, in his mercy, answered our prayer!
He did not respond by dropping a bag full of money on our laps. Even if He can open the skies and rain cash on our roof, he chose not to. In our case, there were no shortcuts. Because He is so wise and loves us so much, He wants to teach us and discipline us. He wants us to check our motives and check our hearts always during this process.
First, he made us swallow our pride. My parents have been talking about letting my youngest brother go back to the States to finalize his immigrant status. If that happens, my father would be left at home with only a helper. The logical consequence would be that my husband, kids and I move back to live with my father. My family has been living independently for a while and living in the same roof with my father is out of the question. My heart was shouting independence but the Lord says otherwise. His will stands. He changed our hard hearts made us move back a month after my youngest brother left. He made us realize that the move would save us rent money.
Second, God made sure we are true to our word that we would use our rent money to pay back the debt. Knowing our sinful nature, there will be a tendency for us to be complacent and not use money saved for the intended purpose. The Lord gave us an opportunity to regularly pay off the debt on a monthly basis. No matter what happens, the rent money would really go to where it’s supposed to go.
Third, God stripped us of extra income. At first, we were questioning Him about it but later discerned it was for our own good. God wanted to teach us to live within our means. He is imparting knowledge on how to be good stewards even in the small things. Now, we see the lack as a blessing. He says in His Word:
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10
Frugality is what we need now. Let me share with you our financial pledge:
- Pray first before purchasing.
- Buy only in cash.
- No credit cards.
- Needs before wants.
- Tithe faithfully.
- When tempted, go back to number 1 and follow 2 to 6.
Would you be kind enough to share how else can we be good stewards of God’s blessings? Can’t wait to read them in the comments.