“O LORD, we have waited for You eagerly;
Your name, even Your memory,
is the desire of our souls.”
— Isaiah 26:8
Have you ever waited for God to show up, but when He did you refused the package? You may not have done it intentionally, but what I have recently noticed is that when our miracle comes by way of the wrong person or arrives in the midst of the wrong circumstance, we refuse the miracle and unknowingly settle for less. We simply want to choose the “blessings” of our own making, the things we believe we have earned. How horribly sad.
To help you fully understand what I mean, below are two heartbreaking stories in the Bible where, without knowing it, the recipient settled for less. Both were part of Elisha’s amazing ministry. The first involves the king of Israel and the second, the widow and the oil (a story you may already know).
“When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept over him and said, ‘My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’
“Elisha said to him, ‘Take a bow and arrows.’ So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, ‘Put your hand on the bow.’ And he put his hand on it, then Elisha laid his hands on the king's hands.
“He said, ‘Open the window toward the east,’ and he opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot!’ And he shot. And he said, "The LORD'S arrow of victory, even the arrow of victory over Aram; for you will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them.’
“Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground,’ and he struck it three times and stopped.
“So the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times’” (2 Kings 13:14–19). Next is the widow…
“Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, ‘Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.’
“Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’
“Then he said, ‘Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.’
“So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not one vessel more.’ And the oil stopped.
“Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest’” (2 Kings 4:1-10).
These are the stories that came to mind just recently when “settling for less” happened to my precious daughter. It caught my attention to this all-important principle when we foolishly and often ignorantly choose to settle for less.
For several months my daughter has put away every penny of her income with the desire to buy herself a car. She apologizes almost every morning for me having to drive her for work, even though I tell her each time that I am already up, and that I thoroughly enjoy the time I have alone with her. Still, she apologizes.
When she reached her goal of how much she’d hoped to put down on a car, she began asking guys she knew to help her find a good car. When she told me, the first thing I thought of was how would her brothers feel when they heard that she asked a guy friend rather than asking them? Then I thought of how our Husband feels when we ask one of our friends rather than asking our best Friend who never will leave us or forsake us.
The principle of seeking others rather than our Husband took on an entirely new level when week after week my daughter was sad and disappointed because her dad was not helping her buy that perfect car she found and also because she wanted him to co-sign for the loan. I sat listening each time she told me until the day she finally asked me what to do. That’s when I could finally share my heart with her, explaining how often we look to others rather than looking to her true Father for every need she has.
It took some time but I finally convinced my daughter to look to her Father for her car. As soon as she did, it took less than two hours to discover that our neighbor found all their gorgeous cars at an auction, and that the following week our neighbors said they could get her one at a dealer’s price. Then the Lord led me to, once again, offer to co-sign for her. Very soon the car, which was beyond her dreams, would be hers!
Yet somewhere in the midst of waiting, she reverted back. Isn’t that just like all of us? We are so accustomed to the ways of relying on and trusting others, and ourselves, that we are caught in the habit. That’s why He lovingly surrounds us with fellow believers who will encourage us and remind us to trust Him alone, which happened with my daughter. So, again, very soon, she was relying on her Father and speaking positively about what He was about to do.
That’s when something unexpected happened. While filling out the loan papers something caught my eye, something was written at the top, when, in an instant, this verse came to mind: “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). All I could imagine was what the Psalmist would do if he saw me today. No, I was not begging for “bread” but here I was begging a credit union for a loan. My heart grieved when I thought, again, how my Husband was feeling by going to someone other than Him.
Had I asked my Husband for the money to buy a car for our daughter? No, instead I’d gone off to seek help from someone else! So how could I look at anyone else, like my daughter for instance, when I was doing the very same thing, only more severely, since I’m His bride, traveling along my journey with my Love.
Yet, rather than feeling like I’d messed up, believing the lie, which comes with guilt, that this meant that I would have to forgo the blessing. Instead, I have come to understand more fully His incredible forgiving love and His immeasurable grace that sets us free from worry, doubt and fear. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18). Oh, His love!!
Because even when we fail, as I knew I had, He is right there next to us, ready and excited to bless us! Isn’t that what this verse means? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So rather than worry, or fret, I turned my face up to Him, tearfully trusting to find His blessing in this mistake and shortcoming of mine. Immediately and amazingly—I discovered the most incredible blessing I could never have imagined!
The discovery began with a tremendous trial as most blessings begin. It was just a little over a year ago when I got a call that the refinancing on my house came to a sudden halt with some shocking news. It was during the divorce process, when, unbeknownst to me, my ex-husband’s attorney had placed a huge financial judgment against me in order for his client, my ex, to be assured that he would get his portion of the equity in our home.
It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I understood the second stipulation of this—my ex-husband was sure that I would lose my home. He had witnessed my “spiritual weirdness” as he referred to it since I have been a zealot for a very long time. This led to him taking drastic measures.
So, does this mean that you and I are destined to experience “lack” due to the actions of others? Actually the opposite will happen as long as we are trusting Him. And our blessings will be due to that evil (that we must refuse to resist) with will catapult us to greatness. “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matthew 5:38–40). Not resisting evil, will also gain the attention of others. He does this to give us a testimony to share with others— in order for the hurting and suffering souls to experience His love!!
The day I found out that my credit was ruined (a judgment is like a bankruptcy only it lasts for 10 years not 7), I blurted out something, while laughing, that caught my attention when I said it. I said, “Well, that must mean that I won’t need credit—I’ll be buying everything for cash!” In my mind, I envisioned buying larger items, such as cars or even houses for cash. Though it seemed far beyond my faith, I couldn’t help but hold this thought up and compare it with God’s ability, which simply meant—nothing, not one thing, is impossible with God!
The day the verse about “begging bread” jumped into view, I also caught a glimpse of what my Husband might do next. And, this same vision flew across my mind not just once, but it happened twice more that same day. The next morning the same thing happened, until I followed that vision and went into my online bank account.
What’s crazy is that for week’s money had been “piling up” in my account and each time I saw it, I kept asking my Husband what He wanted me to do with it. Because I still have mounds of debt, I instinctively thought, pay down the debt. But each time I asked He told me, no, that debt is His, that He (like my sins) had been paid for. So, since all my bills were being paid on time, nothing was late, I again asked Him what the accumulated cash was for? That day my eyes were open when He said, “Look, there’s more than enough to pay cash for our daughter’s car”!!
The instant I saw it, my daughter walked into the room, almost on cue. When I asked her to sit down, and fully explained the plan, she sat there stunned. Nevertheless, she quickly explained how much she could pay me back each month, which allowed me to explain to her that just as in salvation, God never asks us to pay Him back. The truth is, we can’t, and even if we could, He doesn’t want our money or our works or anything but our love for Him. He wants us to appreciate and experience His goodness, His love! That morning I wanted my daughter to experience firsthand the goodness, awesomeness, and faithfulness of the One who I had fallen madly and passionately in love with again and again and again.
Yet, before we could move forward, with a few days before the auction, I could bask in His love—knowing that I would be able to write out a check, me, for the amount to purchase our daughter a car for cash. No loans, no need to borrow any more, not ever. I was so excited that I found myself sharing this with each of my children, and a few of my friends I ran into. By the way, do you remember my telling you that you should be careful never to share what He shows you to do until after you do it, because the enemy will try to stop it from happening? Well, with all my heart I wish I had remembered. Not for my sake, but for my daughter’s.
By the time the auction came around, my daughter had refused to take my money. One of her siblings had convinced her that I “couldn’t afford it,” and she had no right take advantage of me and that she should instead go to her dad. By the time we spoke, my daughter had already turned back to looking to her dad for him to co-sign on a loan. She decided to settle for less.
I knew to try to convince her would be wrong, I know her well enough to know that she would resist my efforts besides, as a mother, we are to live our faith in love and share when we are asked—not push our beliefs on anyone.
When my daughter, once again, began pursuing, hoping and praying for her dad to co-sign and get her a car, God gave her what she asked for. She was excited when she told me that his new wife brought up the subject, and excited when they, finally, took her out to find her a car. Sadly, instead of finding her dream car, her father and wife told her, it wasn’t sensible enough. In addition, they lingered long into the night telling everyone that was there that night that if she bought her dream car, she wouldn’t be able to afford new tires if she needed them, she couldn’t afford the repairs if something went wrong, and on and on they went.
The night this conversation took place, my daughter was not there. I alone listened as her dad and stepmom told everyone about the car that she needed was the one “they” got for her, “It’s a sensible car, the make, and model that her grandmother(drove). Even though it was priced the same as the ‘dream’ car she wanted (then both laughed), who did she think she was to even want a car like that?!?” they went onto say. My heart grieved.
There have been so many horrendous trials with this car that seemed to happen almost everyday— yet my daughter is determined to prove to me it was the car that she was supposed to get.
Yet I know in my heart how her Father’s blessings are designed to grab the attention of everyone—especially us. I know how my heart sings each time I get in and drive my car, the car my Husband gave me. I feel so loved and yes, sometimes even undeserved, because what I drive is a miracle of the most amazing kind. I wanted a blessing like that for my daughter too, but sadly, she settled for less.
My Tenth of Many Financial Testimonies
“By Your Words”
At the same time, the above was happening to my daughter, her brother was going through a similar situation of settling for less, rather than following the blessing his Father had for him.
Because my son has his own business, there are often lean times, times when he looked as if he would come up short, but each time, of course (since he is a giver of the most amazing kind) he always paid his bills and had enough for his needs.
Then one morning he told me that he was going to go out and get a part-time job just so he never needed to worry about paying his bills. He wanted “just enough” to make his car payment, insurance, gas, etc., he said. Within a week he had an amazing job offer to waiter where he would get great tips. Yet, night after night he came home exhausted and disappointed with the small number of tips he was making.
Since I was the one who saw the sign for this job and encouraged him to take it, I felt responsible and spoke to my Husband about it. That’s when He lovingly replayed what my son had said, he said he wanted to make “just enough” to pay his bills, and God had answered his prayers accordingly.
When I realized what had happened, I share this revelation with my son. At first, I think he was thinking I was being a bit too spiritually weird, but he couldn’t shake the thought that I could actually be right. It didn’t take too many long days at his business, then leaving to work nights for him to change his plea to his Father— asking Him to send him more business, and to bless him with abundance!
His Father chose to bless him while we were having breakfast with his dad— he got the call that left him speechless. A guy he’d met only once had taken notice of him for his outstanding work, explaining that he was pulling a team together and wanted him for the position. Then he said what the pay rate would be—my son could not believe it—the pay was what he would make if he worked 10 days as a waiter with great tips! In addition, the guy said this would not be a one-time deal, this additional business would be ongoing (however, the thief almost stole it from him; the details will be in the next chapter).
My son immediately let go of being a waiter and trying to earn just enough. And the more he looks to his Father the more the blessings are flowing into his life. More and more calls are coming into his business—more than he said he ever believed he would ever have! It has even spilled over to his brother who is getting married and was hoping for some side jobs to earn more money! Following the same principle, looking to his Father, my son was also hired for the same project and there are many more projects up ahead for them both. Now, due to what he continues to witness his brother does, he too is trying to bring himself to trust the Lord totally rather than relying on a steady paycheck where he works now and hopes to venture out on his own. To be continued as the blessings unfold…