Thankful, but Waiting.

A friend of mine on Facebook (Hi, Shirley!) told me today that I need to be thankful for everything God has done for me.  I started to type a response to her, but it got too long, so I have turned it into a post.  Here’s my answer, Shirley:

It’s not that I’m not thankful for everything I have.  I have said many times that Christ has saved me, and if He does nothing else for me on earth, that would be more than I deserve.  However, I have been dealing with debt my whole adult life. It seems like just when we are starting to get back on our feet and make some progress, something always happens to shove us back in the hole.

Examples:
2009: We made the commitment to cancel extra things we didn’t need like Colts tickets, television, etc….then the economy went south and we kept falling behind financially.  We finally managed to claw our way out of that one in 2010, and our air conditioner broke, my engine in my car died, etc. etc.  We got caught up in November, but things started happening again.

In February I sold my car so we could catch up on bills (and I could buy a more efficient car). I got sicker than I’ve been in a long time and had to miss two weeks of work.  We fell behind to where we are $2000 behind on our bills, and I still don’t have a car. Kim’s family s getting sick of driving us places when I have to work (and giving me rides to work). I have signed up to work every overtime opportunity I can this month so we can try to catch up.  Then our air conditioner breaks again ($500).  Then I get called off for last night’s OT shift (which I am thankful for the opportunity to be home, but it is still lost money).  Now we are looking at the real possibility that we may not get to go to family camp next month.

Forgive me if I sound ungrateful, but I keep wondering when the next thing is going to hit to push me back into the hole, and when God is going to say, “OK, he’s had enough.”  I’m trying everything I know how to get ahead, but nothing is working.  I am serviing Him faithfully and trusting in Him to provide. Our basic needs are met, but the calls keep coming from people who want their money.

I remind myself that Joseph was in Pharaoh’s prison for years before God got him out of there.  Abraham waited 25 years before Isaac was born.  The nation of Israel were in Egypt for 400 years before God sent Moses to deliver them.

I see Christians around me doing amazing things because they have the money to do it.  I do not envy them their riches.  I do not want to be rich, I only want to be debt free.  If I were debt free, I would make enough money (WITHOUT OVERTIME) to pay all of our bills, send our kids to Colonial, AND take family vacations.  But I have debts, so our trip to Washington DC goes to Bank of America.  Our tution money for the girls this school year went to pay the student loans.  As Yul Brynner would say, “Etcetera, etcetera, and so forth.”

And so I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I keep praying and trusting God that He knows what is best, and that He will continue to provide for our  needs.  Who knows, maybe Christ will return this month. Then all this is moot.

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About Steve Picray

I have been many things, but right now I am a registered nurse attempting to pay off my debt so that, God willing, I can be a pastor again someday. I have a wife and three kids. I am a conservative Christian (of the Baptist variety). This blog is about me: the things that happen to me, the things that interest me, and the things that bother me. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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4 Responses to Thankful, but Waiting.

  1. shirley says:

    Steve,
    One day I prayed to be debt free. Maybe (like myself) you will have to loose it all for the Lord to answer that prayer. That is what happened to me. We lost our home, our marriage (for awhile), many things that were accumulated through 42 years of marriage, our credit, and finally my husband. It is a long story but in the end the Lord saved my husband and is keeping him safe in heaven and has given me a life of rest for awhile. Believe me Steve, I know the heart ache of being in debt.
    What I have learned through it all is this . . . we are only on this earth for awhile. The best is yet to come! Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    Til Jesus Comes,
    Shirley

    • Steve Picray says:

      I have been praying almost every day to be debt free for the past 15 years. I don’t know if it is going to take us losing everything, but I am willing to give up whatever I need to give up for God to achieve this goal. The problem is that we don’t own many things of value. We are doing every thing we can think of to get more money to pay these things off, but as I said, we keep getting knocked back down (by sickness, things breaking down, the economy, rising gas prices, etc). We already canceled the YMCA membership, and we have decided to cancel our TV service, so that the only expenses we have are food and gas, in addition to our bills. You know what they say, “Expenses rise to exceed income.” The thing is, I know God could pay off our debts in one fell swoop, but He hasn’t chosen to do that (yet), so we have to believe that there’s something He wants us to learn yet.

  2. Just a couple of little things…

    Do you see anything amiss in the following?
    “I’m trying everything I know how to get ahead, but nothing is working. I am serviing Him faithfully and trusting in Him to provide. ”

    Read a great little book one time. The title was “God is Not A Vending Machine (So Why Do We Pray Like He Is?)”

    “The problem is that we don’t own many things of value. ”
    REALLY?????? You need to travel more… and if the motel costs more than #30 a night, find another one. It costs too much.

    • Steve Picray says:

      Do you see anything amiss in the following?
      “I’m trying everything I know how to get ahead, but nothing is working. I am serviing Him faithfully and trusting in Him to provide. ”

      The only thing amiss that I see is the spelling error. “Serviing” has too many “i”‘s. “Trusting God to provide” and “trying everything I know how to get ahead” are not mutually exclusive. I reject the idea that “trusting God to provide” entails sitting at home and waiting for Him to do something.

      I’ve read the book. I’m not treating God like a vending machine. I’m not banging on his glass window demanding that He pay off my debt. I am praying the prayer of Jesus in the garden, that God would remove my problem, but I want His will to be done. If God wants me to be in debt for the next 50 years, I’m ok with that, but working to pay off my debts (or even to just stay current on the payments) limits my ability to serve Him and spend time with my family, which is important.

      The comment about “we don’t own many things of value” refers to Dave Ramsey’s “Gazelle-like intensity” where he says that in order to pay off your debts you should get a second job, work overtime, and sell anything and everything you can. ” I’d sell my TV if it would help, but it’s an old TV and I’d be lucky to get $30 for it. I found out that the guitar I’ve owned since I was 11 years old (that I THOUGHT was worth about a thousand dollars) is only worth a couple hundred. Our computers are all at least three years old. Almost everything else we own is old furniture and clothing. That’s what I meant. We don’t have art to sell. We don’t have antiques that we are refusing to part with. We don’t have investments to cash out or any other source of income. It’s what I make at the hospital, and that’s it.

      Where are you finding motels for $30 a night? We usually stay in a Super 8 or the equivalent, and it always costs us about $50 or so. And did you miss the part where we don’t have money? We take three or four trips a year, and those are usually to see family.

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