This morning I saw a post on Soulation's My Faith Hurdle asking about why God was not providing as He promises in scripture. I know that I have struggled with this in the past and I felt led to share our story. Here is what I wrote in the comments section:
What you write strikes a cord with me because I have been there and I am SO excited about what God is going to do in your life in the next few years. Things look bleak now but I know our God. He has allowed many of the same things to happen to me and I can look back and say "Trust Him!" He is NOT going to answer the way you think that He will. He is NOT going to provide the way that you think that He will. He will NOT do it on your time table.
Let me take a couple minutes and share my story. I met my husband at a Bible college as well. We married while still in school. Our college lost accreditation then I got pregnant with our first born two months after we got married. I was thinking, "What are you doing God?" I think that we made 5 figures once in the first 6 years of our marriage. The idea that people actually made 6 figures or more was beyond my comprehension but can I tell you something? We never lacked for a place to live and the means to pay for it. We never lacked for food and enough to share with others.
We had to move back near family and my husband had to quit school when my mom got sick. My husband worked during those 2 years (I think one of them we actually made 5 figures, the other we didn't) but God continued to provide our needs.
After my mom passed we knew my husband needed to finish his education and we thought he should go to a bigger, cheaper school in a city where my husband could work as well as go to school (By this time we were pregnant with our 3rd). Instead, God told us to go to a small, expensive college in a very rural location where we would NOT be able to provide for ourselves. I thought that God's plan was stupid. “How on earth we were going to get money for the tuition let alone pay for living expenses for the 4, soon to be 5 of us??” I had just finished reading some missionary biography (for the life of me at the moment I can't remember which one) and God keep saying "Trust Me!" I said, "I don't want to! I want to know HOW you are going to provide for us!!" He just kept saying "Trust Me." For the first year there my husband didn't work at all (besides cleaning a couple of houses the first semester) until summer break where he worked for a pretty meager amount leading wilderness trips for teens. His second/ last year there he did work study and was a substitute security guard occasionally and I watched a little boy for part of the year. I can't really explain how He did it but God provided all of our needs. We got a few random checks in the mail, a couple asked us to house sit for a semester and only pay half utilities, etc. Ultimately we call it God's math. Somehow, some way God provided. I tried to keep records but looking back at them I still don't see how God pulled it off. We ended up with less student loan debt than your average student there took out for 1 year after our 2 years there. The only way I can explain it is God.
My husband then applied to medical school and he didn't get in and then he didn't get in again. God made us wait. He had a lot to teach us in the waiting. It wasn't easy, it wasn't comfortable we couldn't always see Him or feel Him but He never left. Finally, God granted acceptance to medical school and my husband is currently in his 3rd year. While we were in the 'waiting to get into medical school' phase of our lives my dad would often worry over the phone to me about how we were going to make it through medical school financially with me homeschooling our 4 kids and my husband not being allowed to work as a student. I would tell him that God was going to take care of us. If He was going to do it exclusively through student loans then so be it and we will do what we have to do as long as we have to do it to get them paid off. (After that we plan to go and work overseas.) For medical school God actually chose to provide through my dad. My dad passed away right before we found out the 2nd time that we didn't get into medical school (my husband got in the next year). He left us half of what was left of their retirement money and we are living very frugally but, Lord willing, that money will cover our living expenses for most of our 4 years here and we are only having to take out loans for tuition (which God awesomely got us into a great school which happens to be one of the least expensive medical schools that we applied to). We are trusting God to get us out of medical school with less than $100,000 in debt.
1. Seek Him first. Matt.6:33
2. Remember everything you have is His, not yours. Be a good steward.
3. Trust Him. We've always been faithful to tithe even when, financially, it made absolutely no sense. For us it makes no sense not to tithe because it is the one thing He tells us to test Him in and He has been faithful!
4. Avoid debt. One thing that we have done is avoid debt at all costs (besides student loans). We don't have a credit card. If we don't have the money in the bank available to pay for something we don't buy it. We've been blessed to only have to take out loans for tuition.
5. Don't worry. He does not always provide what, when, where or how you want Him too (I would MUCH rather have a million dollars of debt and still have my parents but that was not His plan) but He has never allowed us to go hungry or lack for a place to sleep (though we have been homeless a few times. Couch surfing with 4 kids is an adventure!)
6. Keep a record of what God does for you. Be it a blog, a notebook, etc. When we were first married one piece of advice we were given was to keep a gratitude journal and write something down in it together every night. We've continued this with our kids and we now have a stack of “Thank You books” that we've filled with great and little things that God has done for us.
Marie- I am excited for what God is going to do in and with your life. I'm excited that 12 years from now your faith will be so much bigger than it is now and you will be able to write a story to encourage others because God showed up for you over and over again just as He has for us."