I remember right where I was on the day it happened. I was standing in the kitchen of our apartment and excitedly made a rather stupid statement. "It must be God's will for us to get this car because He made a way for us to get this loan!"
Now, before you agree with that statement, you need to know a few things. There was nothing wrong with the car we already had except... it had 60,000 miles on it, the car was four years old and it got about 16 mpg back in 1982. Oh, did I mention we'd just paid off the loan on that vehicle and no longer had to make a car payment of $107.00 per month?
Somewhere along the line, we decided that our car was getting old and was a gas guzzler. We needed to trade it in while we could still get some money out of it. Never mind the fact that my husband was just about to go back to school and neither one of us had permanent full time jobs. My full time job was temporary with the potential to go full time and we had between the two of us two permanent part time jobs to make ends meet.
We attempted to do it the right way... sort of. We prayed that if it was God's will, we would get the loan. So far so good. We didn't get the loan. We should have listened to what God said.
Sadly we told the person we were going to purchase the car from that we could not get a loan. This was hard for it was a personal friend of my family. Seeing how much we wanted to get the car, he offered to get us financing through his bank. We were approved.
Instead of using the money we saved by not having a car payment to pay for my husband's schooling, we took out another loan and another. Then of course, there were the repairs. The old car was a good car. Very little money had been put into it. The new car... well... it had this thing about visiting the repair shop regularly. They were expensive repairs as well. One of them was $600.00, a rather hefty sum back in 1983. Then when everything that could be fixed or replaced had been fixed or replaced, the car decided to start the process all over again.
In retrospect, my husband and I look upon the day we closed on that loan as a very dark day. You see, God had given us an answer and we ignored it. We had set a precedent and began traveling a slippery road which we would not get off of for many years to come.
Ignoring God, He was going to let us try to do things our way and we suffered for it.
There came a day when we realized that we needed to repent. That's right, repent. I remember that day as well. Hand in hand, we knelt before God and told Him we were sorry we did not listen to Him. We were sorry that we went ahead and tried to do what we wanted, not what He wanted. We were sorry and from now on, we were going to try to listen to Him.
I would like to say, we learned our lesson at that point. Unfortunately we didn't. Oh, we did rather well for a few years but gradually old habits slipped in and pretty soon we began to interpret each line of credit as God's way of supplying our need. Do you realize how messed up this way of thinking is? And yet, if many of us our honest with ourselves, we will realizing that we have that same sort of attitude.
"Oh, this is just an emergency." or "I don't have the money this week but it will be here on Friday and I need this now." became our standard battle cry. Caught up in the doctrine of "buy now, pay later", like most consumers, we did not realize the magnitude of our debt until I got cancer. Suddenly, there it was, staring us down.
As I write this, I realize that I have just added a few thousand dollars to my mortgage due to refinancing my house. Due to a substantial decrease in the interest rate, it will save me a great deal of money so in some cases, the taking out of a loan or using credit is a wise decision but it is something which should always be considered very carefully and prayerfully.