Friday, July 23, 2010

Modern-Day Miracles

You know, you’ll hear people say that the miracles of the Bible don’t happen in modern times, yet our last two years seem to be a living testimony that they do.

We have always been a two-income family – it’s a financial necessity, not a lifestyle option. We’ve certainly never lived a lavish lifestyle – never even been able to buy a house, but we were saving for one… along with saving for the boys’ college and retirement and the unknown rainy day. So in February of 2008 when the rain of unemployment came for Edward we felt slightly prepared financially for a short-term gap but greatly prepared spiritually that it was part of God’s plan and that He would open new doors and always take care of us.

Being the chronic planner that I am (which I’m sure gives God a good laugh from time to time) I sat down and mapped out our finances to see how long the severance and savings would take us and I knew it would be several months before we really had to panic. But since you never know, we started making deep cuts to most of the non-essentials, but having faith that something would come through before the reserves dried up, we still continued to contribute to retirement, college fund, pay extra to the credit cards, but first and foremost, tithe.

It never even occurred to us to cut tithing out of the budget. Everything we had, whatever amount that was now, was still all from God. We were going to be trusting Him with our lives and our future why would we suddenly stop trusting Him with our finances? Of course, we had no idea that shortly after Edward became unemployed, the market would crash, our retirement would lose almost half its value, unemployment levels in this country would reach record highs and it would be over 2 years of faith and finances tested. But each day at a time, each week at a time we had faith that God would provide when the time was right and take care of us until that time came... until His time came.

On my financial spreadsheet (which I fondly nicknamed the countdown to poverty) I had drawn a line in the financial sand that was the official “panic point.” And by God’s miracle, every time we got close to it, God pulled us away from it. Over these last two years we experienced miracle after miracle as unexpected needs were met with unexpected resources. Sometimes it felt like God was just dropping money out of the sky when we needed it. When the car needed repairs, I got a promotion at work; when money was tight at Christmas, an anonymous donor from our Fair Oaks Church family paid for the boys to go to Winter Meltdown; when I was diagnosed with cancer and needed surgery, our tax refund exactly covered all my medical bills and deductible; the list goes on and on. Every time we had a specific need or came close to our financial “panic point,” God came through or sent one of his angels.

Over these past several of years, I have been blessed abundantly at work with several promotions and with each one, I immediately increased my tithe and was blessed again. And not only did we continue to faithfully tithe all this time, but somehow we managed to never miss a bill, pay off one car and two credit cards, and last month, feeling so blessed by God, we stepped out on faith and signed up for a regular online donation to Vision T.O. and within days, Edward got his job.

And as if all that wasn’t testament enough to God’s hand in our life and our checkbook, here’s the real miracle….

After Edward got his job we sat down to layout a financial recovery plan (there’s me planning and God laughing again) and realized that in this last year alone, the outgoing expenses that we actually paid exceeded the money that came in by over $60,000. How is that possible? Mark 9:23, that’s how! We sure didn’t have that kind of money in some reserves or savings. No credit cards. God paid those. I don’t know how He did it, but I sincerely believe that our faithfulness to trust God with our lives and our finances and to continue to tithe without fail was returned to us in blessings 10 fold.

And the final miracle was that on the day Edward got his job, our savings account was within $30 dollars of the exact balance it was the day we started this journey. Again, how can that be? Luke 6:38!

“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 is no doubt in my mind that God took care of us and stretched what we had to meet our needs because we trusted Him to. We trusted Him with our future and we trusted Him with our finances and only begins with tithing.

Now if that’s not a modern-day miracle of Biblical proportion, I don’t know what is.