You can’t trust in money during a storm
I believe that God orders all events and this belief is a comfort, not a threat. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose”.
So how does this affect my attitude toward money? There are hundreds of ways – we talk about the influence of faith on money all the time. But once in a while, we get a little comfortable and need a reminder that to trust in a high salary, a beefy 401K, or even in debt freedom for security is foolish. Those things are great, they are smart, but our ultimate trust must be in the One “who owns the cattle on thousand hills”.
Here is what happened last night:
We had just put the children to bed and Mrs. Stew and I sat down to review and revise our budget for the rest of the year. We had a lot of things to adjust since we recently sold our home (yay! more on that later) and Mrs. Stew is planning to work full-time beginning this fall. Ironically, we were looking at a great deal of good news – no more mortgage payment, no more home owner’s insurance, no more utility bills and hopefully more income. Easy budget to balance, eh? We were actually trying to see if we could make our budget work if my wife did not work outside the home.
It was almost like God needed to make sure that we were keeping Him in the picture because just then it started to rain softly, then a little harder. A couple of minutes and it really started to blow. Mrs. Stew looked out the window and remarked about the violence that was starting to build up. The weather forecast had barely mentioned rain, to say nothing of gale force winds. The lights flickered and I set down the laptop in order to peer outside when the noise made it obvious that this storm was growing. The weather seemed to be coming from the north; only our kid’s room and the front door face that direction. I did not want to wake my daughters so I opened the front door out of curiosity. I was slammed in the face with wind, twigs, leaves and hail – big hail, right through our front door. Even though the door is sheltered on three sides and covered, I felt like I was standing in the bow of a ship during a hurricane. The electrical power went out and I called to my wife to help me grab our kids out of bed and head for the basement. The noise of the hail on our roof, siding, windows and minivan was deafening.
After about ten minutes, the storm subsided and even though there was a prodigious amount of lightning, we thought it was safe to go upstairs and dig out our flashlights and light a few candles. Meanwhile, the rain continued outside accompanied by emergency vehicle sirens and beeping car alarms. I opened the door once again (some people never learn) to see almost six inches of hail covering the ground. It looked like a snow storm in July. Leaves, twigs and branches were everywhere – almost all vegetation in our yard was destroyed and there was a strong smell of evergreen in the air. The kids were pretty upset and took a long time going to sleep. My wife and I got up almost every hour to deal with a child or to check on the power.
Turns out that we got off relatively easily – no damage to our car (still can’t believe that). We were the only ones in our neighborhood who did not suffer a broken window. The roof seems to be okay. The only damage is the mess and a couple of kids toys in the yard that were pulverized.
Okay, so what does this have to do with personal finance?
During the entire episode, my mind kept going to the fact that we are so dependent on so many things that we cannot control. Just think about electricity for a moment – our society cannot live without it. We need it to cook, to preserve food, for the radio, television, internet, hot water, light, fans, air conditioning and more! It did not matter how much money we had to throw at the power company, we had no power over how long we would be without electric power.
How about shelter? Yes, we are fortunate to have a roof over our heads, but if that tornado had come through our living room instead of a couple blocks away, no amount of rent money in the world could have protected us.
What about health? If a health emergency had struck our family just at that moment, that best health insurance that money could buy would not have been enough.
Here is the point, we trust in money. We think it will bring us happiness, health, protection, security, but the truth is, money can not really do that. I know that not every person who reads this blog is a believer in God. No one here would ever compel you to do so, but I think it might be a good exercise for all of us – rich, poor, middle class, believer, non-believer – to spend a moment to consider “In what do I really trust?”
I’m not saying money is not important. It is and we must do all we can to handle this powerful tool with wisdom and discipline. But consider the words of King Solomon, the wisest and possibly the richest man who ever lived: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Are you trusting Him to straighten your path?