If you’re in credit card debt, please raise your hand…
I am right along there with you. When I look at my credit card spending report and see the things that I bought, I always regret making such purchases that have only added to my debt and not to the benefit of my life. Things that I had to have right then: a cashmere sweater, a foodie meal at an expensive pop-up, or a facial at a deluxe spa. Why’d I buy that cashmere sweater? Because I wanted something that would make me feel pretty. Why the expensive meal? Because I wanted to savor something delicious that would create a food memory. Why the facial? Because I needed to be pampered. So here I am, instantly gratified, but with mounds of debt and nothing to show for it.
I’ve heard the term microwave generation which is defined as describing our fascination with instant gratification: cellphones, text messages, and email. Instant gratification is a problem. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). My aforementioned expenditures seemed right at the time but now my credit is slowly dying. I didn’t use my credit cards to cover financial hardships like medical bills, auto repairs, and other necessities but I spent for the sake of spending. We often think that we need material things to satisfy us, but that’s a lie, we don’t because these are only temporal. I realize that in the overspending on my credit card, I was trying to fill voids that only Jesus can. I simply got tired of waiting.
The Bible has many patriarchs that waited on God to fulfill his promises to them. Moses waited on God to save his people. Joshua waited on God to appoint him leader. Jacob waited on God to deliver him from jail. Sarah was barren and tried to solve the issue by giving her handmaiden, Hagar, to Abraham. She birthed Ishmael. Sarah was impatient, tired of waiting on God, and wanted to see some results, but what she really lacked at that time was faith. Later, she would still see the promise of God come to pass in the birth of her son, Isaac. When God makes a promise, he doesn’t take it away; we just have to catch up to the promise. As the Bible states, “God is not a man, that he should lie” (Numbers 23:19). In the time where Sarah and Abraham were waiting on God, he was growing their faith and trust in him only to prepare Abraham for the next step in faith as a great example for his people.
In the birth of Isaac, Abraham came alive. Imagine wanting something so badly and when it manifests (and even before it does) just smiling and thanking God every day for it. Isaac was valuable like a precious stone in Abraham’s eyes, but God had bigger plans. He called Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice to him on Mount Moriah. Now imagine your miracle being slain by your own hand. Abraham walked with Isaac to the mountain and as he was about to sacrifice him, an angel of the Lord stopped him and a ram was sacrificed instead. On the other side of this great step of faith and obedience was the opening of another promise by God to Abraham: for him to have many descendants and abundant prosperity for all. In waiting and obeying the command of God, Abraham not only got to have a healthy son, but also a promise of that same health and wealth for generations to come.
“Remember, living in the will of God is the safest place on earth.”
It could be a test. Think about Jesus. He suffered such agony that even while he was praying his tears became blood. Nevertheless, he had to wait until the appointed time to conquer death, hell, and the grave. It may be a test to grow your faith. But thank God, it’s an open-book test. The answers, the hope, and the strength to keep going come through prayer and reading the Bible which are both faith-growers. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
As children of God and believers in Christ, we are in Christ’s army and his soldiers must have unshakeable and exercised faith. But to get there doesn’t always feel good. Faith grows in adversity. It’s truly in the valleys, tears, and the storms where we come to know the power of God, experience him, and lean on his promises. Has God made a promise to you that you’re waiting on? Yes. They’re all in his written word: we’re the head and not the tail and we’re blessed and not cursed (Deuteronomy 28).
Sometimes it seems to us that waiting and obeying when we don’t have much does not make sense. God, I’ve been faithfully tithing but I only have $70 left over to make it through the next two weeks until pay day. I need you to show me your best, I need to see change and know it’s you right now. Can I testify? This has happened to me twice in the last two months. I can tell you that my rent was paid and all my bills, but I had very little left over to eat. See, God wants us to hold him at his word. He wants to show us what he can do. I asked him to show up in urgency in this situation and he did. Each time there was about $80 of extra monies in my hand. Where did it come from? God. Who got me through fed and satisfied? God. The Bible states in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Storing your treasures in heaven is giving your total self to God and inviting him into every area in your life. Complete surrender. There are so many times in our lives as Christians where it seems like we are missing out or losing out. With tithing, there is not a lot of money left over for me to hang out with friends, go out to dinner, and for me to enjoy the spoils of this world. But then I think of heaven and all that is awaiting me. It’s almost like having stocks. We may put into them and not see the return always but as it builds and builds and we give and give soon there will be a heap – and that heap is all ours. It’s worth the present sacrifice for the future reaping.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6). What I’ve come to realize by trying to find satisfaction in things outside of God, is that it always leaves me broke and tired and dissatisfied. He’s given me a responsibility within my finances to give to him. I do, but I end up giving more to Chase Bank along the way. Until I can get a handle on my finances and be trusted by God to manage them, he won’t get me where he’s got to get me. Is it possible that I’m stalling my journey to his promises? Could I have been at the promise and bought a pair of shiny patent leather pumps that pushed me miles back from that promise that was yards away? Yes. Okay, so what now? How do I reach that promise?
We know that we have a divine mission in this world to worship God, do the will of God, for him to use us for his glory, and to let our light shine. If you want something in particular, ask God for it and wait.
We know that we have a divine mission in this world to worship God, do the will of God, for him to use us for his glory, and to let our light shine. If you want something in particular, ask God for it and wait. Don’t try to find a substitute or something to bide time in its stead. He says that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). So ask! And believe! If it’s in his will for your life, he will do it. God’s blessings are delightful and much better than anything we could ever conjure up for ourselves out of our human abilities. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Also, be encouraged that “those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint“ (Isaiah 40:31).
I’ve cut up the credit cards and am leaning on the Lord. I’ve found my credit card to be a metaphor for me as a Christian not wanting to wait on God and the end result thereof is what happens when we try to take matters into our own hands. What’s your credit card? Through this entire financial experience I’ve learned that all I can do is rely on the word of God. That’s it. All I can do is trust in Jesus, pray for patience, and do my part of being responsible. Remember in the gospel of John where Jesus calls Lazarus to come forth from death to life? A preacher once said that he has to use Lazarus’s name because if Jesus just said come forth, everything that was dead would come to life because there is so much power within him. The preacher went on to say we too have that power because Christ lives in us. He said, debt free come forth, new home come forth, new job with higher pay come forth. We can speak over these things that are holding us back from those nearby promises and clear the path so that we no longer stumble over our own laces. In everything, the Christian has hope for God’s divine will to be done on earth also at it is in heaven. As much as we focus on our God given goals, here it’s important to remember that we are all living for the riches of glory in Christ Jesus. When we store our true treasure and desires and faith in heaven we know that they will take root as God promises and never decay, depreciate, get stolen, or rust. Yes ask. Yes speak over. Yes claim. But yes, Lord, above all else your will be done.
“So I refuse to give up because I know God will never let me down” (Isaiah 50:7).