God always has a plan. Recently, he showed me how true this is… using our finances.
Last fall, my wife and I sat down to review our monthly and annual budget. For the first time since we were married, the numbers were putting us in the red. We had become accustomed to our savings increasing slightly each month, but suddenly it was decreasing.
We reviewed all areas to make sure the math was correct. For the most part, it was. Some adjustments worked the money in the right direction, but not enough to make up the deficit each month. We tried to get creative, seeking to squeeze a little more out of the grocery budget. If we eat spaghetti instead of meat or chicken a few more times each month and eliminate take-out orders we could save a little more. Again, this helped, but not enough to fill the gap.
I felt very uneasy about it. It angered me a little—not at any person, just the situation. It was difficult to enjoy the moment when finances came into my mind, because I would dwell on it.
Spending habits would have to change immediately.
But here’s the thing. Just one easy change could have fixed the shortcoming immediately: decrease our giving. I’m not sure I ever voiced this to my wife, but I felt decreasing our monthly giving to church and Christian organizations was not a legitimate option. She probably felt the same way. What we have belongs to the Lord, and we should freely give back. Wisely, that amount was left alone.
So I could have worried. I could have let it affect my relationships with my wife and children by being distant or angry (as these are symptoms of financial problems). Instead, I took it to the Lord. I prayed for Him to help us find a way through it.
Just as this financial situation had become apparent, a friend I had met while volunteering at a Christian camp asked me if I was interested in working part-time at his business. The timing couldn’t have been better. I accepted and worked at this business until the COVID lockdown in March. I knew this was an answered prayer from God because this money would help correct our budget.
The Lord has also shown us blessings through the knowledge and skills taught to me over the years, allowing me to do repairs cheaply. A network of friends and family with knowledge (and tools) I don’t possess are just a message away. I count these as blessings.
Looking at our budget through my eyes, I saw big problems. But the Lord saw it as an opportunity to reach out. He was putting things in place for us well before I was aware of it. Had we not been living in the red for those several months, I may not have grown in my relationship with the Lord. I may not have appreciated the work He gave me or the other financial breaks we received. I still thank him for answering these prayers.