Janet and I were just recalling the time, back in 1984, when our business was only a little more than a year old. We had moved to Carmel and were favored with a loan from the local bank to start our company. Of course, the loan was secured by a second mortgage on our home. Well, we went through all that money, and begged the bank for an additional loan, which they granted; secured by a third mortgage on our home. On top of that, things were so tough and money was so tight, that I used to go to the bank each Thursday and charge the staff payroll on my credit card! Ultimately, we ran up the credit cards to the max; more than $20K back in those days.
So, to recap, three mortgages on our home, credit cards up to their limits, and no where to turn for additional help – our backs against the wall. It got to the point where Janet literally could not afford groceries for our young family. And after talking it over, we decided that we would have to declare bankruptcy, probably within the week. To share this awful reality, I called my best friend Bob, and advised him of our decision. He asked me to look for other alternatives and I committed to wait through the end of the week to make a final decision.
Two days later, we received a small Federal Express package that contained a check for $15,000 – $5000 from Bob’s retirement fund, and identical amounts from his wife’s account, and her parent’s account – and we had never even met her parents! What a blessing. Enclosed was a note that informed us that this was not a loan – rather, it was a gift – no repayment needed or expected. We were speechless.
Those funds allowed our business to turn the corner, and we turned a small profit, starting the long slow climb out of debt, the very next week. We have joked many times that it felt like we were in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, when George Bailey survives the run on the bank with two dollars to spare. And he puts the money in the vault for safekeeping; and the old Bailey Savings and Loan goes on to prosper and meet the needs of the community.
Only one problem, as we look back on our painful journey. At the time, we did not give the credit to God. That’s right – as crystal clear as it is to us today, we really did not even pause to consider that God had answered a prayer for us. But since that event, we have had many other times when we were on the brink of financial disaster, and we were rescued. Coincidence? We don’t think so. We believe, with all our hearts, that God was being faithful – but we freely admit that at times, we did not see it for what it was.
Today, it is a different story. We recognize various times that God has stepped in, just in time, to sustain us. And we don’t take it for granted anymore, either – but we do live our lives expecting miracles. Because God is a God of miracles. The interesting thing about God’s interventions is that He waits until there is no humanly possible way that we could claim the victory. And in our admission of inadequacy, God gets the glory!
So when you think that you have it covered, and that you don’t need God’s help, you are fooling yourself. Because God’s expression of His love for us is revealed in our weakness, and in our willingness to face God – palms up – and admit our inability to take care of our own needs. In Lamentations 3:23-34, we are told, “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
In fact, the ancient Jews believed that each day God gives us enough faith to last one day – and the “faith day” starts when the third star comes out at night. So, God renews our faith enough to get us through one 24 hour cycle, dependent on Him, one day at a time. And, somehow, it seems fitting that it should be that way. This keeps us focused on God, and not on our own attempts to depend on ourselves.
Therefore, my encouragement today is to take a moment and expect a miracle from God, in His perfect timing, consistent with His will for your life. And I pray that you will take a moment, palms up, to thank God for all the times he has been faithful to your needs. Because great is His faithfulness, and He loves you!