The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your native country…, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you… I will bless you … and you will be a blessing to others.” Genesis 12:1, 2 NLT
Why would God ask Abram to leave family and home, and travel into unknown territory? Why couldn’t God just bless him where he was?
We’re riding another one of those economic shockwaves. My husband’s job (i.e.: paycheck) with a non-profit organization depends on the generosity of others. We often don’t know how we will make it through the month, let alone the next one. When Bruce was offered the position, a certain amount of faith was needed on our part before accepting it. He wasn’t leaving a high paying lucrative career by any means; self-employment in the building industry is always fickle. But it did require him to commit to the challenges ahead and to trust God to provide for our needs.
Each month, has been a test of that commitment. We’ve experienced blessings in the midst of hardships but it didn’t stop us from questioning why we couldn’t be blessed with fulltime work and a steady paycheck. Why did we have to do a juggling act with the bills every month?
Overwhelmed by the latest batch of bills, I was pushing paper around my desk in a futile attempt to look productive, when – ouch!! Paper cut. Sucking the edge of my hand, I felt tears rise as self-pity bubbled to the surface. From the window, I could see Bruce working in the backyard. I watched him through clouded eyes as I sniffled, still nursing my injured hand. He worked so hard, he deserved to be fairly compensated. The night before we had met with our small group and at closing as we’d shared our prayer concerns my fears spilled out in an angry vent. Our friends had gathered close and bolstered us with their prayers.
"It’s not fair,” I grumbled, returning to my stack of bills. As I shifted, several tumbled to the ground. On my knees, I gathered the handful of papers and stood up. Whack! The edge of the desk met the side of my head. I slumped against the wall and cried now in earnest.
I needed a break. Balancing coffee mugs and left over Christmas cookies, I joined Bruce. As we sipped and munched I filled him in on what progress I had made with the mess on the desk.
“We’re four hundred short of paying all the bills.” I informed him. “And that’s with making the minimum payments and asking for an extension on the hospital bill.”
“Four hundred is how much shop rent is.” Bruce mused. We’d been renting shop space for several years and had just this month made the decision to let it go.
“Well, next month we won’t have that expense, but there’s no way I can extract that amount from this months paycheck. Not if we want to eat.” I sighed. With no clear answer, I returned to the house.
At dinner, Bruce pulled an envelope from his coat pocket.
“Eric gave me this today,” he said laying it on the table. I opened it, wondering what our neighbor was up to. Inside was a crisp one hundred dollar bill. Wordlessly I looked at Bruce. He shrugged. “Said he just felt we needed this.”
Humbled, we ate our soup in silence. After dinner as I swept up, there was a knock at the door. Standing on the porch stood Lee and Laura, members of our small group. They were holding grocery bags and grinning. As we welcomed them in and exclaimed over the care package, Lee passed something to Bruce.
“For letting me store stuff in your shop.” he explained, stopping the flow of resistance he saw forming in Bruce’s mind.
It was a check for three hundred dollars. Combined with the money from our neighbor, it was enough to pay shop rent.
The verse came to me again about Abram being called out of the comfort zone of his life into the unknown. Why didn’t God just bless him where he was? My answer came in lightening speed. Leaving our comfort zone forces us to trust completely in God, not ourselves. It’s scary and sometimes it hurts, but like the pain from a paper cut or a bump on the head, it doesn’t last long.
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