Faith is a funny thing. When things are going well, it's easy to say "Sure, I trust God. After all, look how great things are." When we have a downturn, the most strong Christians will say "Yes, things are bad, but I'm putting my faith in God to make it all better." When the bad times go on for a long time, it's harder to have that faith. Bills pile up, health continues to worsen, a job just can't be found....you know the situations. The longer we go without a sign from God, the shakier our faith becomes. We start to wonder if He is even listening and if He even cares.
My wife has recently been there (yes, honey, I'm picking on you a little bit). We have had some financial issues, and have gotten behind on some bills. Some promotions and other things in my job that we were really counting on have been delayed by many months. Even with some bonuses, we needed around $1500 to get caught back up. And that's not easy to simply come by. With each month of falling further behind, she struggled more and more with God and her faith. She cried and worried, wondering where the blessings were. We have been faithful in our tithes and giving, despite our own troubles, so where were God's blessings? Why was He being so quiet? I managed to hold onto my faith, but as I told her last week, it was because I didn't have anything else.
Sometimes we find ourselves at the end of that rope. We've slipped down and are dangling by the final knot over a chasm whose depth we can't see. And at that moment God says "let go of the rope." What? You're kidding, right God? Just let go? "Yes," He says. Now, coming from God, we should be listening to that. And when we can see the ground a few feet below us or we have hundreds of feet of rope it's not hard to do. But at that moment even God's words and His promises are hard to believe. But as hard as it may be, who really knows best right then?
So I started doing our taxes today. When we were getting our W2s we noticed that federal taxes weren't taken out of my wife's paycheck. It wasn't much, but it worried us. She just wanted us to break even and not have to pay any taxes. As I started doing them, I noticed a trend upwards. Since I knew that she had been praying for a $1500 blessing, I predicted that our refund would be somewhere between $1500-1600, and was pretty happy with that thought. But God knows better, and showed me a lesson.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
"But you ask, 'How do we rob you?'
"In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
There are numerous scriptures on giving and blessings. We humans are very impatient, and have a hard time waiting for these blessings. Yet when has God ever failed us? It may take a long time by our standards, but He always comes through.
So back to our situation. Our final refund was $2800 from Federal and $600 from State...a total of $3400, when we would have been overjoyed with $1500! Praise to God!!!! We can meet our obligations and actually put some into savings. Our faithfulness has been rewarded, so far beyond our expectations. God lived up to His end of the deal....but doesn't He always?