Wondering if milk or bread is more important. Choosing which bills can wait being paid. Making up excuses not to get together with friends because you're too embarrassed to admit you can't afford to go out.... I am sure that these ring a bell with more than a few of you reading. In our economy there are many people out of work. In exploring suffering I wanted to touch on this area of suffering: so that those in this situation wouldn't feel alone, and those not suffering from lack of money/jobs would be compassionate to those who are. While, the suffering in the United States is nowhere near the depth and scale of the poverty in countries in Africa, India etc. - it is still very real and very painful for the individuals and families faced with poverty.
I've seen men hunched over with shame when interview after interview fell through - the weight of responsibility pushing heavily on their shoulders. I've seen mothers go without to make sure their babies have food to eat. I've seen sick people ignoring symptoms because of no way to pay doctor bills. Poverty is a very real and very painful suffering.
I have also seen God provide in beautiful and big ways - even miraculous ways! When I was in college living with a sweet family who were living day to day working as hard as they could to get through school, I saw a miracle. It may have been a little miracle, but a miracle nonetheless. One night we didn't have food for the next day - and the family and I all say around the table and prayed for God to provide. The parents felt pressure as they had two lovely little girls, but they were not fretting they always trusted that God would take care of them. The next day mysteriously a bag of groceries was left by the door! Now, if no food had arrived would that mean that God was not good? Or that He didn't listen? No. I won't pretend to understand why God answered yes that time, and yet other times people I know have gone hungry ... but I do know that God hears every prayer and that His answer is always good. I have prayed over and over to be healed from my pain - and yet God has not answered yes to that prayer. And I see good that has come from my NOT being healed every day.
Sometimes God lifts the pain and gives a beautiful blessing. Other times He leaves the pain and gives a beautiful blessing.
I think the key for our reaction in times of financial (and every kind) of suffering is to trust. We need to be responsible to do all that we can, but that when we have done our best to realize that God will do what is best with our situation. I am the type that just wants to fix it! I have a small home floral business, and I am just longing for some weddings to books for next year. I want to help my husband get through school. I want to relieve some pressure from our budget. I want to save for adoption. But when I have done all I can, I need to just sit back and know that this really isn't in my control. I have to wait and see what God will do. That is very hard for me. I'm an action type of girl. Waiting is the last thing I want to be doing about this! I want to make it work. I want to relieve some of the financial struggles we face. But I am asked to just rest in God's arms and trust Him.