Have you ever had one of those weeks? A week when you wish you could play a country song backward, and get your dog back, your truck back, your house back and your wife back. Or maybe you wish you could hit the rewind button on the week.

This past week was one of those for me. It started with a routine repair on our van – the vehicle on which my wife and our entire family rely very heavily. My idea was to do the work myself and save money on the repair by avoiding a mechanic. I had done the same maintenance before and had all the tools I needed. After a day and a half of trying to complete the repair, the van just would not run right. I ended up having the van towed to a mechanic and renting a car for the week.

At the same time, we were working on a project to lay new tile and install a new toilet in the bathroom used by the children. In the process of this job, I broke the flange on which the toilet sits, something which was completely avoidable had I done things a little differently.

A couple nights later, I was moving some things around on the desk with the family’s computer. The sides of the computer were open, and either lightning produced a surge or something on the desk touched the right components on the mother board. There was a flash and pop, followed by silence as the computer shut off.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the week was when the shoe lace broke while tying my shoes. I can handle a $3.49 pair of shoe laces, but the fact that the lace broke was just piling on more trouble in an already difficult week.

The tow to the mechanic, mechanic’s bill, rental car bill, flange repair and new computer add up to real money – money that for us, like many people, isn’t just laying around waiting to be spent.

When it became apparent that the van repair was not going well, I did a lot of praying. Although it was disappointing that the Lord did not guide my efforts to get the van running correctly, there was a point when I had a very clear sense that He was present with me. Wait, right there, you probably expected me to say I felt hopeless and dejected, like God failed me.

But that’s not what happened. In that moment, the reminder of His presence was more comforting than anything else which could have been offered.

At the very end of an already difficult week, I received the results of the annual oil analysis on our van. The report showed that antifreeze is leaking into the oil. Depending on the problem, this could signal a very expensive repair.

That the Lord knows what is happening and is present throughout the entire situation brings a sense of peace, calm and order to a week that is otherwise spiraling out of control.

Working through Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, I can see that credit cards have become the safety net of choice for many people, including those who identify as Christians. If the Lord is present with us in our circumstances, then why do you need a credit card? Do you not believe He will actually be there for you when there is a problem? Do you not believe His timing is good? Do you not believe His providence will be enough?

In our country’s quest to achieve a culture based on consumption and consumerism, the credit card has become common place to the point that we are desensitized to it. We don’t want to wait for anything or let anything get in the way of making the purchase. When swiping the credit card, our minds have become conditioned to accept it as an easy and socially acceptable way to pay, even perhaps the socially expected way to pay. If you’re not using some type of credit to buy anything and everything, you must be behind the times – this is the message of society.

However, if I used the credit card to solve the problems of my week, where would God fit in my circumstances?

He wouldn’t. And He doesn’t fit into our circumstances when we whip out the credit card, because we don’t allow Him.

Toward the end of the week, I came across this verse at Psalm 142:3a, When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou didst know my path. NASB

This verse on the one hand expressed very well how my week was going – overwhelming! On the other hand, it expresses very well the Lord’s role in how my week was going – He knows where we are and what we are facing. He is present in our circumstances!

Having that knowledge, what is our proper response? What do we do with the Lord? How can we acknowledge how closely the Lord is with us on a daily basis?

David had a really bad week which turned into multiple years of difficulty as recorded in 1 Samuel 18-31. We’ll talk more about that next time and how it applies to our difficult weeks.


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    Climbing the Money Tree


    R. Joseph Ritter, Jr. CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER(TM) and founder of Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, Inc., a non-profit organization providing financial planning services to low-income households and households experiencing financial strain.

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