I shook my head that night after we had left the home of our friends who were hosting a small group on managing your finances. The first step involved doing what you could to quickly establish a $1,000 emergency fund before tackling your debt. While that might be a small feat for some people, it definitely was not for us. Poormanagement of our money, hadplunged us into high interest debt that was rising with each passing day but that was not the only problem. Serious health issues had left me with permanent side-effects which left me unable to continue to work and my long-term disability insurance claims were still pending. Since my job had provided more than half of our household income, this was a pretty significant cut. When we slashed our budget down to the bare essentials, we still had a shortfall of more than $1,000.00.
While we knew that it was not "our fault" I had become sick or that I'd had a ruptured brain aneurysm, we also knew that we were not entirely blameless when it came to our financial situtation. We had not been good stewards so the first step was to admit that and ask God to forgive us. The second step was to ask Him to teach us to do better and the third step was to actually LISTEN to what He said and put it into practice. It seems like it is the third step that gives us so much trouble. The first two are not always easy but we manage to do them. The third step though, is not a "quick fix". It requires putting your money where your mouth is and essentially putting your hand to the plow.
Suggestions for accumulating our emergency fund had been made during our class. You could have a garage sale, downsize your car and put the profit into your emergency fund. You could get a second job. Unfortunately none of these options worked for us. We had downsized everything several years ago when we had moved and as for a second job, my husband already was doing that with his freelance work.
My husband and I were at our wits end. We didn't know what to do but we knew that God did, so we took the problem to Him and waited. Sometimes we must wait on the Lord for a long time. Sometimes we must be prepared to wait for a lifetime but in the case the answer was very swift. It came in the form of a phone call the next day.
A friend of ours hadborrowed some equipment from my husband that he was no longer using. She was calling to ask if she could buy it from him as her new business venture was going better than she had hoped. He told her that he was open to that and he would do some research so that he could give her a fair price. Now you have to know this about my husband. He is a very generous man and he would much rather give someone something than charge them too much. He himself would tell you that he is a poor businessman and negotiator. If he quotes a price, he quickly worries that it is too much and quickly changes it to an even lower price.
Of course, God knows this so... He told our friend to interrupt my husband and say, "I've already done the research on the fair market value of these items for you." My friend is a woman who listens to God. If you don't believe me now, you will by the end of this story.
A little later, my husband walked into our house with a stunned look on his face. "You will not believe what has happened!"
My husband had gone over to our friend's house to pick up the check for the equipment. She had handed him a folded check. My husband chatted with her and her husband for a few minutes before he turned to leave. They stopped him and asked if he was even going to bother to look at the check. He said no. He knew them well and knew they had given him a fair price so it wasn't necessary.
They insisted that he look at the check so he unfolded it and read the amount. It was for $1,100.00. Before he could say anything our friend said, "God told me that I was supposed to pay $1,000.00 for the equipment and add another $100.00 for the tithe you were going to pay."
Our friend did not know we had been told to set up a $1,000.00 emergency fund. She did not know about our prayer. She did not even know we pay tithes though she may have suspected. However, God knew.
My husband and I were both silent for a moment. Then we joined hands and together we thanked God for His continued love and care.