Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Trusting God with Our Money Troubles

“I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”

The American Psychological Association recently conducted a study of more than 3,000 adults  to determine the effects of  stress  on people’s health.   They discovered that money was the leading cause of anxiety in America,  in spite of the fact that we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  Financial worry outpaced concerns about work, relationships, and health.
“Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time” 1
 When  Christians  experience  money trouble we can rest knowing  the Lord does not want us to lie awake  at night worrying.      And we  know this  is true because  Jesus told His disciples not to worry about their material needs.  (Matthew 6:25)  Likewise,  Paul also  tells us to be anxious for nothing  and to pray about everything.  (Philippians 4:6).   The purpose of this post is not to suggest  resources to help  solve  a financial crisis,  but rather to consider  how we can  minimize  anxiety and maintain a Biblical perspective when going though one.   

Granted,  when  our financial  problems  are self-inflicted we probably want to flog ourselves,  but we need to accept God's forgiveness if necessary,   learn from it,  and move on.     Even those situations are under God's sovereign control and are designed to work  for our good in the end. (Romans 8:28)    But sometimes  no matter how well we try to plan and budget,  unforeseen circumstances  can come up  and we find ourselves in way over our head.    

A major financial reversal  can be every bit as sanctifying  as  other kinds of trials because  it's humbling  and  it forces us  to depend on  God.    I know it’s not easy  keeping calm when the bills are stacking up,   but  learning  to trust the Lord  in  times of  uncertainty is one of the things that sets Christians apart from world.   "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things;  for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”  Matthew 6:32.  

Another problem  with stressing  about  money  is that we can be tempted to covet and envy others.    Asaph was a Levitical choir director who made this mistake  and his envy  led  him to  utter despair and bitterness.
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;   I had nearly lost my foothold.  I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles;  their bodies are healthy and strong   They are free from common human burdens;  they are not plagued by human ills.”  Psalm 73:2-5
He had falsely believed these people had it all together because they were wealthy and healthy and he just couldn’t grasp why he, being righteous, had to struggle.
“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God;  then I understood their final destiny.”  (vs.16-17)
When Asaph turned to the Lord  he realized that God had set those he had envied “in slippery places” and they were headed for destruction.    In the end he came to his senses and rejoiced in the knowledge that God was all he had,  and all he would ever  want or need.
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  (vs.25-26)
Just as “God is good to Israel”,  He is also good to us.   The Lord  doesn’t  promise  us health and wealth,  but  He knows our needs better than we do and  instructs us to pray,  “Give us this day our daily bread”.     He  wants us to  depend completely on Him  because He  is our strength and portion regardless of our circumstances.

1 comment:

  1. Your last paragraph is soooo true. One of the reasons I like freelancing is that it helps me keep this in mind.