God has a way of reminding us at key times that He is there and actively working in our lives and that He is real and cares for us. One experience that I’d share involved our giving during the 2020 Vision Campaign a few years ago.
At the start of the campaign, we were asked to make a financial commitment for 3 years (2017-2019). My wife and I had been involved in some of these campaigns before at Hope and it has always been a challenge to come up with a pledge number. From past experiences, the Lord had always blessed us in our commitments and we had not struggled even when we had 4 kids to be concerned with and some had college expenses. This time we didn’t have that issue and I distinctly remember a conversation with my wife around what would be a “comfortable” commitment to make. This kind of serious commitment should be a sort of wrestling match – wrestling with the Lord. A Scripture passage that came to mind during this time was from 1 Chronicles 21: 24 which is about King David buying land to build the temple. He makes this statement when offered the land as a gift: “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” God doesn’t want me to feel comfortable when giving back to Him – He desires a sacrifice which by definition means I should feel uncomfortable. So we re-considered what our pledge should be, increased it, and as a result felt discomfort and stretched.
Well we made it through the 3 year campaign and there was never an issue. Once in a while when things got a little tight financially something unexpected came through and God enabled us to meet our commitments. At the end of the commitment period (last year) we looked forward to doing some of the things around the house that we had put off for a little while.
But then early last year there were several subtle reminders of how the things of this world don’t last; a couple of appliances died, a car transmission failed and even clothing wore out. But thankfully we were able to manage (although it’s hard to go too long without a refrigerator – especially in the summer when family is coming to visit!). I don’t know why but this verse from Deuteronomy 29: 5 came to my mind:
Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”
This thought is quite remarkable – that the Israelites as they journeyed through the desert for 40 years did it all with the same clothing and shoes. All of this happened because God caused those things to last until they could get to the promised land. In a similar way, it seems that the Lord “pushed off” those appliance, car, and clothing failures in our house until a time when we could manage them better. I suppose some might call that luck or good fortune, but I’d prefer to give credit where credit is due – to an awesome God who watches over us and blesses us when we step out in faith to honor Him – like He did when we stretched ourselves and our pledge for the 2020 Vision Campaign.