As long as we sojourn on this earth, we will encounter struggles. However, God is not taken by surprise with our challenges, problems and trials. He knew about the Corona Virus, for example, well before it hit, as well as the human responses to it. Governments shut down many businesses, a multitude of employees lost their jobs, citizens were kept indoors; and yet God remains sovereign—His promises, power, and provision still stand.
How should we respond when we find ourselves in the middle of a financial crisis?
1 Peter 1:6-7 teaches, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” Isn’t it interesting that the “trial of our faith” is more precious than gold. At the time this passage was written, gold was a form of currency. People need currency (money) to pay for the necessities in life, and yet God calls our attention to the fact that the strengthening of our faith is more precious than the money issues that concern us!
Because we are humans, we want the shortest route and the quickest way out of any type of struggle or trial. Yet when we do things our way, we will more than likely fail. God’s ways are much more excellent than ours, as is His timing. Isaiah 55:8 promises, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.” There will be times when we wonder, “What on earth is going on? Why is this happening? When will it end? How is it going to be solved?” During the recent quarantine and virus scare, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. They could quickly become angered, doubt God, and shake their fists at Him. Out of panic or urgency, they could run to the quickest solution they can think of, even though that may be out of the will of God.
We can rest assured that God loves us. Trusting Him does not require our knowing every step in advance, but to simply trust Him. God is a rewarder to those who put their trust in Him, and we can believe His promises:
- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.—Matthew 6:33
- I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.—Psalm 37:25
- But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:19
Sometimes we make financial decisions that we eventually regret. (Sometimes these decisions help to bring on a financial struggle, and sometimes we make these poor decisions in the midst of a financial struggle, thereby exasperating it). There are times when illness or other trials can make financial struggles unavoidable, but we will focus on financial struggles that were born of bad decisions. When we find that we have made unwise decisions, we must be willing to realign our financial beliefs with God’s Word and accept the extra work and adjustments needed to work out the situation.
Realize there is no easy way out. Running to a quick fix will usually make the problem even worse. Asking for loans from family and friends, refinancing a home, getting credit extensions, etc. will do nothing to solve the problem if you spent money on something you couldn’t afford. My dad used to say, “If it is worth having, it is worth saving for” and, “The easy way out is rarely the best way out.”
Know God has a plan in the midst of your trial. We should learn from the experience, pain, and discomfort of going through financial struggle and be encouraged to know that we can improve our perception of money so that we do not repeat the same mistake or action that brought on the financial struggle in the first place. One benefit of these trials is that we would learn to seek the Lord for counsel in future financial activity versus following our heart or old, long-held, unhealthy financial habits.
Understand God’s promises. The last thing we want to do is compound a mistake by making more mistakes. It is easy to think, “Maybe if I give less to the Lord, or stop giving for a while, I can get out of this mess.” That is man’s attempt to correct an error or an unhealthy financial predicament, not God’s. At the heart of the matter is the heart towards money. In a glaring contrast to man’s view of handling money, Deuteronomy 14:23 reveals God’s purpose for the tithe. It is God’s will that we always put Him first, even when we mess up, or it seems difficult, “That thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.” God’s promises require trust and action. So that He, not we, can receive the glory.
When things seem impossible to us, we ought to yield our ways to God’s ways, humble ourselves, be willing to be changed, change our outlook, see things through the lens of Scripture, and trust God.