Recently, a dear family member of mine was taken advantage of by those scamsters who prey on the elderly. She was convinced to turn over money that she didn’t have in order to win a supposed bigger sum of money. My heart broke for her as she felt dumb, tricked, and naïve. She felt even more embarrassed as several family members arrived to help sort it out, becoming a burden she didn’t want to be.
We all loved on and encouraged her, but the conversation eventually took a turn down a road that we were all dreading. Relinquishing her finances. No one wanted to take away another piece of her independence, but if it meant protecting her money from future loss, then it needed to be discussed. The conversation went smoothly, and she regretfully agreed that it was in her best interest.
The past few years of her life, she has been overly concerned about her finances, afraid she would simply run out. Thus the reason a caller from Jamaica (a supposed deacon) was able to convince her to send him money by praying with her and convincing her it was God’s will. We started the conversation by pitching the idea that her not having to deal with her finances would be one less stress in her life, something she could get off her plate and not even have to worry about. How nice would that be! She saw through our guise, but slowly nodded and sighed, admitting that would actually be nice.
In that moment, so many emotions flickered across her face. Failure. Embarrassment. Resignation. But also relief. Despite all the negative emotions that accompanied that decision, there was relief. She knew deep down that it was the right decision, that someone else was better equipped to manage her money and protect her finances.
A few days later, I was listening to a sermon on my evening commute. It was talking about how God knows what we need better than we do. So many times we miss Him giving it to us “according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19) because we are only looking for what we assume we need. The pastor spoke to the importance of trusting that God knows our needs and genuinely cares about them. And that He is infinitely wiser than we are, and may answer our needs in ways we never expect.
Life has had a lot of question marks lately. And my over-active brain likes to work out each of those possible avenues, think through the details that follow, pray to God about those details, and demand that He resolve them so that I have some peace of mind. All the while, He hasn’t opened any of those doors yet, just left question marks on them. And honestly, I don’t know what other doors He has out there- doors stamped with a question mark, doors permanently closed, or doors waiting on His timing to open.
I felt God telling me to leave those question marks up to Him. He knows the big picture need, and all the little needs that go along with it. All those little things that my detail oriented mind fixates on. He was telling me to trust Him and let Him do for me what only He can.
I couldn’t help but think of that precious little face as she reluctantly agreed to give up her checkbook. Just as she had to give up a piece of her independence, I needed to give up my grasp on the future. Just as she needed to trust that her daughter was well equipped to pay her bills, I needed to trust that God is perfectly capable to provide for me. Just as she needed to lay down her pride and admit she couldn’t do it, I needed to lay down my pride and admit that I can’t control my life. Just as she needed to give control over to someone who loves her and only wants the best for her, I needed to give control over to the only one who loved me enough to die for me.
And just as she breathed a sigh of relief that she no longer had to deal with the pressures of making sure money didn’t run out, I could breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t in charge of the details of my future. I have a Heavenly Father who is just waiting for me to get out of the way so He can do something magnificent with my life.
“Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want
Than to take what you give that I need.”
“Hold Me Jesus” Rich Mullins