2.4 Answers Come With Discipline

Asking God to provide for us financially can be a tricky business. The Bible tells us to work hard, to not be idle, to be loyal to those employing us. We are to work for them as we would work for the Lord. On the other hand, the Bible tells us that jobs, bosses, or government are not our source, not the place where we put our trust for supplying our needs.

I have two lessons that God taught me in close proximity.

First, God let me know that no matter where our finances come from, He is the giver, the provider of what we need. 

Second, God has taught us that He answers our prayers for provisions in His time, with His superior knowledge about what we actually need rather than temporal felt needs.

When David was in Seminary, we felt led to let him go without a job for one year, simply trusting God to supply our needs. What a year it was! I remember frantically praying for around $600 that we needed by a certain time. My faith was shaking as the final day arrived only to have God give us a check for the exact amount we needed.

When that year was over, David got a job loading trucks at UPS. I also remember saying, “Wow, it is so wonderful to not have to be living by faith anymore.” Two months and three weeks into the job, David’s appendix burst and, after three days of believing he had the flu, we made it to the hospital for surgery with just hours to spare before the gangrene that was filling his insides took over his organs. It also happened that the insurance at UPS at that time did not kick in until you worked there for three months, so we were uninsured.  

I understood that God was telling me that whether we had a job or not, He was our source and we always lived by faith in Him.

The second lesson about finances happened about a year and a half later. We had been married for twelve years and had always rented. I felt we were just throwing money away each month and began to earnestly for a house we could purchase. We looked and looked, but North Shore Chicago homes, even very modest ones, were far out of our reach.

I was discouraged that God had not answered my prayer. However, a year later God moved us out of that area to Champaign-Urbana—about three hours south of Chicago. If we had purchased a home when I prayed, it would have made moving very difficult.  Instead, in Champaign God led us to build a new house using work equity as the down payment. Since that first home, we have owned three others in various places around the country. It wasn’t that God didn’t answer my prayer. He did. Only He knew exactly where and when that house needed to come to us. His answer was better than one I had planned.

In the mid-seventies, before we owned a credit card, we felt tons of financial pressure so we went to a local lending agency to borrow $500. When the loan officer looked over our finances he told us we needed to borrow much more than that amount for we were spending about $200 more each month than we earned. David and I were shocked! And we shocked the loan officer by telling him that if that was true, we did not need any loan. If we were spending more than we earned without borrowing any money, it meant God was supplying and stretching what we had. If God was providing for us, we didn’t need their money.

God has provided specifically over and over for us.

I prayed for a sectional sofa. A friend who was leaving the country called and asked if we would store theirs for them while they were gone. Guess when they came back to get it? Five years later, just as we were packing up to move across the country. In New York, we prayed for a love seat. On our way to look for one at the Habitat For Humanity store, we drove past a garage sale that had the perfect one for us for only $10. God has provided three vehicles free, two for one dollar each, and one for twenty-eight cents. The last one came four hours after we asked God for it and it was a 2016 C-RV with only 16,000 miles on it!

God’s promises are true.

When He says in Matthew 7:7 ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you,” you can count on it. There is a progression in this verse. We come to God with a need, we seek for His will, and we open the doors He provides. This is not a promise that God is like a genie, that we rub the lamp and instantly get what we want. We are to ask and then leave it in His hands to work on our desires, to show us His plans, and to provide when and where He knows best.

Waiting can be hard. Hebrews 12 lets us know that sometimes waiting is a form of discipline. But even then He tells us in verse 7:  It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Paul knows all about discipline. His life has not been easy. But he also has learned that the discipline of waiting is “for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (vs.10). But verse 11 starts out with one of the most ironic statements in Scripture: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful.” But this waiting has a larger purpose. The verses finish by saying, “Yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

– Julia Ewert

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Study Guide for this Lesson


Suggested Growth Activities

The Ten Prayers

The 10 prayers below are all prayers the Ewerts have prayed often over the years. In what circumstances have you prayed (or are praying) similar prayers. How specifically has God answered your prayer (or is God answering your prayer)? How does praying such prayers change your vision (your perspective), or how do they change what you are glad to receive with contentment?

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