A few weeks ago, I was scurrying around in the dark, packing snacks and making sure my daughter had all she needed for her early morning swim practice. It was dark and damp and I was dreading the impending rain for our commute to her pool. There was still a chill in the air so I decided to warm up the car for her before we set out. I slid into the seat, put the key into the ignition and nothing. Nothing. My car made not even the slightest attempt to start. I was now a bit panicked and tried a couple more times with no success.
I quickly ran up the stairs to wake up my husband, who came down to help us. In the flurry of activity, trying to get my car to start, we ended up with not one but both of our cars dead. My fears of being late or missing swim practice now went to utter dread and despair. While my husband attempted to jump start my vehicle, my worst fears were jump started. I began to imagine the worst..."now we have to buy two new cars?". I backed away from that worst case scenario and camped on, "this is going to sink us, this will be thousands of dollars of repair".
What made all of this more discouraging is that we have been on a fast and furious debt reduction race for the past couple of years. Our oldest daughter is going to college this fall and we have been diligently slashing expenses, paying off debt and working to be the most fiscally responsible we have ever been - I'm certain we would make Dave Ramsey proud. And now, our progress was being threatened with two broken cars that had to be towed from our driveway to be assessed and repaired. I quickly began to look at finances to think of the best way to manage this new, unknown but surely costly expense.
After a couple of days, we learned what my vehicle's total cost of towing, parts, and labor was $1000. It was not as bad as I thought and certainly not as expensive as replacing the car but a blow to our budget. Conversely, my husband's car only needed a new fuse. He and my dad were able to troubleshoot and repair his vehicle. The cost of the replacement fuse was a mere 10 cents - not so bad, but this situation threw a wrench in our debt reduction plans and was going to delay our self imposed debt-free deadline.
A few days later, I was feeling extremely anxious. Even though our cars were now repaired and I was thankful the situation was not worse I was overcome with resentment. There was resentment for inconvenience, resentment of myself for not being in better shape financially by now, resentment for broken things. It covered me like a dark cloud and I started to pace the floor and prayed, "God, I'm so sorry I feel this way, you have blessed us beyond belief yet I am so mad right now. What do I need to do to remove this resentment?" The answer came to me very clearly, "Thank, Me." Thanksgiving was to be the cure for my dark feelings. So I began to count my blessings, the big and the small. I thanked God for meeting our needs, for our health, our home, my husband, my children...I thought of every possible thing to thank Him for and little by little the darkness faded.
As I prayed, I heard the mail truck making its way up my street. I heard my youngest daughter run out to the mailbox as she does every day to check for her sweet pen pal's letters. I came downstairs to find the mail on the island in the kitchen - mostly junk mail but a hand written envelope addressed to me caught my attention. There was no return address and it was postmarked from Harrisburg, PA which was odd as I don't know anyone there. I opened the envelope expecting some advertising scheme inside only to find a United States money order made out to me for $1000 from none other than God. My heart pounded. I scanned the cashier's check over and over - could this be real? I even googled the post office code on the check and this was indeed a legitimate check.
I quickly took the check down to my husband's office and placed it on his desk. He just stared in disbelief. We have heard plenty of messages in church about people receiving unexpected gifts from the Lord in unexpected ways, but like winning the lottery, it seems it always happens to someone else. We cried and were just in awe and so thankful and we felt so undeserving of such kindness. This was truly humbling. He asked me who could have done this and while I might have some ideas, God made it clear to me that He is ultimately my provider. God inspired someone's generosity and they obeyed. It's as simple as that.
That evening, as we sat watching tv, my husband looked at me and said with wonder, "God wrote us a check today." I chuckled and agreed, "Yes, He did." We just shook our heads and smiled. There I was panicked, worried, and resentful and God showed His unending loving kindness even when I took my eyes off Him. I am no believer in the prosperity gospel often preached from tele-evangelists but I do believe that my God will supply all my needs according to His riches (Phil 4:19).
We all have a need greater than groceries and car repairs. We have a need for our sins to be covered, paid for, and redeemed. Tomorrow is Good Friday. Tomorrow, we remember the day that Jesus Christ hung on a cross to die a death that would erase the sins for all who trust in Him. He died for all. He covers the sin and the shame of all. His death redeems all. When Christ gave up His spirit, He uttered, "It is finished." This language is the same language used in a financial transaction, Jesus was canceling the debt of our sin. On Good Friday, Jesus wrote a check to wipe away every debt noted on our accounts.
I thank God for showing me His loving kindness in a surprising, creative way. I thank Jesus for showing the world His loving kindness in the most amazing way. I pray that today, you see His loving kindness and tomorrow you remember and receive His free gift of eternal life and grace.
John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.