Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Past as a Testimony For Our Future

Today I was thinking about my upcoming October vacation to the Outer Banks.  I know I just had a vacation, but I think I already need another!  Then I was thinking of the trip two years ago and realized how different things are now compared to then.  At that time, my wife and I lived paycheck to paycheck.  We paid our bills, we did have a social life, but we has zero cushion.  Each time a large expense came up, God came through with amazing provision in a variety of ways.  That was a good thing because we had no means to do so on our own.  Even on vacation that year, I barely had any real money to spend.  I stressed at every dollar I spent and even used credit cards for some expenses hoping not to overstretch our accounts which were perpetually stretched to the limits.  That was then and for the two years that followed God has done some amazing and wonderful things.  There are many times I ended a post with this passage, today I am going to begin with it.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
Sometimes the best way to look at this passage going forward in your life is to look at it in reverse.  Think of those times in your life when you trusted God with all your heart and did not lean on your own understanding.  Think of those times in your life when you just put all your trust in Him knowing that you could do nothing on your own.  If you think on those times you will remember how He directed your paths and brought you through whatever crisis you were in. 

There is nothing wrong with looking to those times in the past to help your faith going forward.  In fact, sometimes it is necessary.  Sometimes we forget that no mountain is so high that God can not get you across and no problem so complex that God can not guide you through to resolution.  Sometimes we need to look back at what God has gotten us through to know that whatever it is we face He will get us through again.  It is also important that we share those times with others and listen when others share those times with us.  That testimony is evidence of the reality of God to the unbeliever and a source and encouragement and strength to the believer.  God does those things in your life to glorify Him and He is glorified by our testimony to His wonderful works. 

And that is what this post is doing.  Two years ago, we literally lived paycheck to paycheck.  We were never short, but we were never ahead.  I had a bunch of credit cards, all current, but all charged to the max.  My wife had a good amount of credit card debt as well.  We were literally paying hundreds of dollars a month on nothing more than interest.  To make matters worse,  I had a student loan in default with a garnishment on my paycheck.  I had zero savings or cushion in our account.  Actually, I was in perpetual debt of an imaginary cushion that really made things interesting.  Yet, God pulled us through.  It was an impossible mountain of debt, that is, for me.  God came through in ways I never would have thought for us to increase our earnings, pay off (not just down but completely pay off) our credit card debt, rehabilitate my student loan and cut that payment in half, and a modest cushion to give us room as life gets more expensive.  We have two brand new cars with no car repair worries for several years and we are still paying less now than we ever were with all of our credit card debt.  That is what our God can do.  That is what God has already done. 

I need to remember times like that as we continue to look forward to our uncertain future.  I have no way how things are going to work out and sometimes it feels as though things are staying frustratingly still.  I need to look back at what God has done in the past to help me know that God will do amazing things in the future.  Even while God was getting us through our debt, there were many times when it looked impossible or that we were not moving.  What I learned is that those times we do not think we are moving, it is only because God is moving.  Sometimes God wants us to act in His strength, but not all the time.  Sometimes it is not us who moves at all, but God who moves the world around us. 
Be still, and know that I [am] God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  Psalm 46:10 NKJV

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