Ten months had passed since I received my last paycheck at work. I was unemployed—that stage of life God considers a blessing, but humans deem a curse. It wasn’t that I had some unconfessed sin in my life, or had a hard time during interviews when I stated that I kept the Sabbath instead of Sunday. Simply put, God’s timing was different than mine and he still had lessons and blessings for me to grasp from unemployment.
For the last five years I had held several senior and leadership roles in a Fortune 500 company. Back then, it was pretty easy to obey Mal. 3:10. Mortgage and other bills were always covered, extra money was usually available to save, invest, travel and shop. The idea of robbing God from what belonged to Him never crossed my mind or my wife’s.
However, as we entered the tenth month of my unemployment season, you can certainly imagine how financially tough life had become. At that point, we were out of savings, living hand to mouth. To make matters worst, my wife—a medic—had accepted a new job that required a mandatory emergency room certification. It would take three days to complete the certification, which included Sabbath. In order to skip the Sabbath class, she would have to go to another city – three hours away from were we lived. Hence, not only would she have to pay for the certification, but also spend money on hotel, food and transportation. That was another $400 we barely had.
The worst month ever
That same month, a good friend was getting married. We didn’t want to be the odd couple that walked in without a gift! But we did. And if that wasn’t enough, my car broke down twice in one week. The first time I had to replace the car’s battery, which wasn’t cheap. The second time, a small part of the gearbox broke. Of course, when God sends trials He has to add some flavor of thrill and excitement! When the car broke down the second time, it was the same day my car insurance expired. I had until noon to use a tow truck from the insurance company without been charged (it arrived by 11:00 am). Needless to say, all these were additional expenses that popped up. We still had to cover our mortgage and other utility bills. It was the worst month of our lives financially!
Should we ask God for a loan from the tithes my wife had to return? Should we just skip giving tithes and offerings this period and return them with interest when things got better? No! We chose to remain faithful, trusting in His deliverance and providence. As we did, something unusual happened. Our church had planned to give out 300 breakfast meals to homeless people on a Sunday morning. Since my wife and I couldn’t go, I offered to contribute with the purchase of 30 apples. The Saturday night before the activity, I called my wife—who was working at that time—to let her know I was heading to the grocery store to get the apples for the church. There was silence on the phone. Then, with a worried voice she said, “But we still have to pay our smaller bills” to which I replied, “Don’t worry; let’s put God first and the rest will take care of itself.”
God steps in
For five months I had an unused motorcycle listed for sale online. Nobody had called to buy it (not even to look at it) until that moment. That Sunday morning after faithfully assisting God’s work with just 30 apples, a guy calls, interested in the bike. He comes to my house, tries the motorcycle, pays me the $750 listed price and drives off. In the blink of an eye, God sent the necessary money for us to start a new week and cover our expenses for that month.
Today as I sit back with my wife and laugh at those hard days that are now part of our past, one key Bible promise echoes in our heart and thoughts. Deut. 7:9 states: “the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (NIV).
I don’t know what you are going through today, but one thing I’m certain of—God will reward your faithfulness.
—Johann De Dier is a writer and editor of a youth magazine for the Panama Union.