About 3 minutes ago, I sat down and wrote the sentence, “After I pay my rent tomorrow, I will have exactly enough money left in my checking account to buy a breath mint, provided that the clerk takes pity on me and lets the tax slide.”
Then my phone rang, and I got a job interview.
And that, my friends, is why I am entirely relaxed about the fact that I am 70 cents away from financial destitution.
Logically, I have absolutely no right to relax at this point. I have certainly worked myself into a worried lather over far less than the straits in which I currently find myself.
But I’m starting to realize that if I trust God for eternal salvation, and I certainly do, I need to also trust Him for the day-to-day stuff. A God who is willing to purchase my salvation at great personal cost and with comparatively little promise of gratification from His sacrifice is going to care for my daily needs. It just seems logical that if I believe the first part, I must be willing to live the second.
So I’ve spent the past week practicing the art of appreciating the fact that my day-to-day needs are being met. And it’s been wonderful. Parts of my life still feel hard and even painful, no doubt, but there is peace and joy where there “should” be stress and panic. It’s not that I’m oblivious to my situation. I’ve started burnishing my mad grocery bagging skills in preparation to re-entering the retail workforce. I have no illusions that this will be the year that I magically begin to fit into Southern culture, find a portable yet stable support system and somehow acquire the means to buy a goat. Just because I am choosing to believe that God is good and will provide does not mean that I have automatically conquered my struggle against a profound and petrifying sense of purposelessness.
But I’ve decided to live with confidence that God will provide for today. Today, I have food, shelter, and transportation. Today, my purpose is to know God, love Him, and encourage those He puts in my life (with maybe a bit of schoolwork thrown in there). He can take care of providing me with food and a sense of purpose for tomorrow.
I absolutely do not want you all to pity or worry about me–I know many of you dear people would be willing to drop everything and come running to my doorstep with a casserole, and while I appreciate it, I would rather you gave it to someone who needed it worse than I do. I’m not being self-sacrificial or saintly in writing that, either. I understand that any pressure I might currently be under is kind of artificial compared to the stress under which many people live daily. I know that I’ve been given a wonderful family and great friends who will always be willing to help out (yet another example of God’s provision for me, eh?). I’m not blind to the fact that the Church has not always met the needs of the poor in the tangible way God intended that we ought. (I have Mother Theresa’s quote, “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed” on my bulletin board to remind me that God has given us as a Church the charge to take care of the needy.)
But on a personal level, I also know that God has always provided for my needs, and He has promised that He always will. Things may not fall into place exactly as I would desire–I’m no prosperity theologian. But things will fall into place, and I would rather they do so under the guidance of One who has eternity in mind than according to my own short-sighted, ever-changing conceptualizations of ‘ideal.’