Story 32 :: Struggle Continues

After a few months of marriage, the financial burden of making rent weighed heavily on me. Each day, I went to the mailbox with less and less expectancy. No one was “miraculously” hearing from God to send us money.

The spiral was set in motion when we were late with rent. I called the leasing office and asked for some grace, explaining the situation and using the “ministry” card. No grace was extended.

Two weeks later we received notice that we had two weeks before eviction proceedings would begin.

Pressure was now mounting.

Surely, God did not bring us this far to leave us alone to fail miserably.

As a child, I was raised to be financially responsible. Get a job. Pay my debts. Make more than you spend. Save.

Up until this point in my life, I was on top of things. However, it now seemed that my life was falling off the rails. The great surplus I had saved while working for Paradyme was nearly exhausted. For the first time in my life, I was taking on debt with no real answer as to how to pay for it. Our ability to cover rent plus living expenses was becoming less feasible. And, upon all of it, I was personally feeling like I was failing my parents in how they raised me. I felt ashamed.

It didn’t help that occasionally Karen quietly inquired if we should ask my parents for help. I couldn’t imagine the possibility. It was too frightening.

I was trying to hide the struggle and the shame, hoping for God to rescue me before I made a fool of myself. I felt like I was tidering the fine line of faith and presumption.

Surely, God can prompt someone to send me a few hundred dollars to cover my rent. Once I pay rent, it will be a testimony of His faithfulness because He heard my cry in my struggle and desperation.

Do I continue to hide this? Do I pretend the struggle is not there or real?

I did the only thing I knew to do. I went to God and tried to reason with Him, but He wasn’t talking to me.

We were facing eviction and I felt this incredible heaviness like the heavens were brass. God was not speaking to me no matter how long or how loud I cried out.

The pressure was too much for me one afternoon and I told Karen that I needed to go for a walk. I left the apartment and walked the creek behind our place. I put my hand in the water and just waited for God to speak to me. I needed to hear from Him. I needed to know that He was not going to make a fool out of me for believing He would provide.

Yet, what a fool I was.

As I sat there, in tears, I simply felt the nudging, you already know what to do.

And I did … but I just didn’t want to accept it or do it.

It felt like a shortcut, like it really wasn’t God. It felt like I was escaping struggle right before the miracle was about to happen. Yet, I knew in the hidden parts of me, the places I cover because they don’t seem to be of faith, that God was wanting me to do the very thing I feared.

Pride is a deceitful sin. It’s cloak is deception. It masquerades as one thing while perpetuating something entirely different. It blinds us to our situation. It isolates us under the guise of faith. It’s purpose is to destroy us. It never loosens its grip until it is confident that we are stripped of our confidence, naked, and ultimately humiliated and undone by our own negligence. The only remedy for such sickness is humility – the expense for which pride cannot allow.

I walked back into the apartment and simply said to Karen, “I think I need to call my parents.”

She smiled and agreed.

I trembled the entire time as they drove up to see us. When they arrived, we chatted a bit about different things.

Then I took a deep breath and hesitantly stated, “Dad. Mom. We need some help.”

I knew my parents would help us because they are extremely generous. However, I feared the sigh of disappointment. It would prove to me that I had not lived up to their expectations.

My dad reached for his checkbox as if to say he already knew why he was there in the first place. Grabbed a pen and looked me straight in the eye.

“No problem. How much?” he asked.

No sigh. No sheepish tone. No disappointment. No discouragement. No shame.

Something broke in that moment that cannot be explained. It released a tidal wave of God’s provision that kept coming in to us like waves continually crash on the shore.

To this day, Karen and I mark this moment as a turning point in our journey.

A few months later, we found ourselves in a similar situation, approaching the day when rent was due but no money to pay for it. A few days later, we received a letter from the leasing office. This time is was good news and evidence of God’s grace. They wrote to inform us that we won the drawing we entered a month earlier for a free month of rent.

Over the coarse of the next year, this happened again to us which enabled us to get ourselves stable.

We were never again late for rent.

 


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