"For whoever keeps the whole law
and yet stumbles in one point,
he has become guilty of all."
What makes any of us think that we can measure up?
When will our works finally die its final death, allowing us the freedom of living Abundantly all due to His grace and based solely on His love?
One of the slowest deaths I’ve watched, sometimes in horror, has been how my finances have been under attack. Throughout this book I have openly shared about the rollercoaster my finances have taken, each helping me to understand and trust Him with wherever this is going. Today, more than ever, I am confident that God is about to do something and He adamantly will share His glory with no one when He does it. That’s why He allows our works of the flesh to come to ruin. Even the subtlest effort on my part or yours will never succeed, praise God.
The most recent turn of events happened on Saturday. I was blessed to entertain a friend of mine, my neighbor, in my home. This is really quite new to me since I may have shared that while married, my ex-husband was not at all comfortable with me having my friends visit or even having personal friends at all, believing instead, that he should be the only friend I needed. My new Husband, not surprisingly, believes differently! Are we not blessed to have a Husband like this?!?!
While she was visiting we had a wonderful time fellowshipping, discussing the Lord mostly. What struck me as funny, “He who sits in the heavens laughs” (Psalm 2:4) was it just so happened that she came by while my ex-husband was here visiting our children. We actually became friends when I was looking to refinance my house after my divorce; something my husband told me I needed to do. And since, at the time, we were not yet legally divorced, I’d submitted to refinancing my home. Just before she left, we began talking about financial wisdom, things I should and should not do regarding building a firm foundation for a solid financial future.
So while helping me, all of a sudden she mentioned something that she said “never to do” that I had actually begun doing while traveling. Again I had to laugh, which I did out loud, when I told her that I had violated one of the most basic financial principles. My friend sat there shocked, not only because of what I said I did, but because I was laughing about it! My first cause for amusement was because I immediately realized that the Lord was setting me up. Yes, at first, it may have looked like I was being set up for destruction, but in reality, once anything looks hopeless, I knew His setting me up was actually to set me up for a blessing, a real financial miracle!
Guess what? Due to my tiny technicality, because of this little mistake I’d made, my dear friend and neighbor explained she would not be able to help me refinance my house. Basically, I found out when attempting to refinance my home, the reason I was denied was that my ex had ruined my financial reputation as part of the divorce. It seems he’d filed additional papers (that I was unaware of), by filing a substantial “judgment” against me. Ultimately, she said it would ruin my financial portfolio for a full ten years.
Since it was my ex who wanted me to get the house refinanced, I explained to him that the papers showed that he had time to withdraw his judgment, explaining the long-term effects this would have on me (and the children). Though he immediately agreed, a day or two later he called back to say his attorney had warned him against trusting me. So the judgment will undoubtedly go through, therefore I will await the opportunity for how He wants me to bless him. Though it’s natural to want to resist or do something, living supernaturally is what He told us to do, “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. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:39-42). “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
Knowing I had to wait for Him to reveal how to bless my ex, I turned my focus on the news of my tiny technicality, when the Lord revealed an exciting truth I’d like to share. The Lord revealed to me that you and I should never, ever, try to do anything to help Him, because if we do, it robs Him of the glory that needs to accompany our testimony when it arrives in our life. He is determined to prove this principle: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). God graciously saves us day-by-day from each and every one of our trials, when anything is coming against us—as His “gift” based on His love for us, not based on how we earned it. It’s just like our salvation, our works didn’t and don’t help. Why? So that we cannot boast that we had anything to do with it! And it also helps when sharing our testimony so anyone and everyone can receive what they need from a loving and giving Father.
What He showed me, based on what I’d ignorantly done was that—I was guilty of all—due to one tiny technicality. It means that I will never be able to get out from under my ever growing, huge financial crises, which should be terrifying me, but in all honesty, it’s not. Instead, it proves that, once again, only God will be able to turn this mess around and dig me out of the debt that is about to bury me. Only God will be able to bless me to the point that I will have a testimony to share with others who are also facing financial ruin (maybe even due to a divorce like mine). As crazy as it sounds, it simply just makes me smile.
Funny, too, that it caused me to seek Him for another way to bless my ex-husband (who just happened to be visiting), blessing him by not keeping his word to withdraw the judgment against me. The Lord showed me that a new detail like this could potentially be one of those “little foxes” that Song of Solomon warns us about that “spoil the vine.”
So rather than risk it, I happily sought the Lord for how I might bless him right away, since it was he who put me (and our family) in this precarious position.
Without hesitation or postponing, immediately after envisioning what He was leading me to do, I got up and began walking down the hallway, and when I turned the corner, there he was, so I could easily tell him what I sensed the Lord was asking me to do. What I told him was that each time he was here visiting that I wanted him to be the parent, making the decisions and plans with the children, while I would basically retreat to my room. Instead of sulking about my situation and financial ruin, I found that it actually gave me a mini-honeymoon with my Beloved—so I was really doubly blessed!! To say that my ex-husband was more than just baffled is an understatement, as he stammered and stuttered a “thank you” while I went in and closed my door, leaving him standing in the hallway stunned.
In my experience with dealing with our “enemies,” it is not enough to simply “take it” gracefully or humbly (not resisting evil). We must follow through, going beyond just not resisting it, and seek God for how we are to give a blessing that is comparable in value or worth. It is only then that our pain or bitterness of heart is replaced with living a life in paradise—not simply experiencing a burst of joy or peace. And the only way to find the right blessing to give, is to ask the Lord what to give.
Please, precious one, don’t fall short of blessing your enemies due to fear of what you might lose (even if it is your self-respect). It is in the giving that you gain, in the humbling that you are exalted. This is the only part we play in our developing testimony. It is not how we follow every principle to the letter, it is a heart matter, how we’re willing to surrender everything and realize that only God is able to fully deliver us or heal us.
My hope is that my financial testimony, as it develops, proves that even when we are extremely careful to follow all the principles we’ve learned, we can easily lose or become disqualified by a simple tiny technicality, something easily missed or overlooked. And that it means we are simply guilty of all because none of us is perfect. Only the Lord is perfect and has the power, plan, and ability to save and deliver us from that valley we find ourselves in. Now that He has revealed this powerful promise to us once again, let us all simply rest in His love while we trust Him with all the details of our lives!