James 1 : 2-3
2Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; 3knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience.
It’s easy to profess faith in Jesus Christ when things are running smoothly and everything is going your way. It’s easy to pray and be thankful under the best of circumstances, but what about when things are falling apart? The fact is that while God will never put us in harm’s way to do it, he will test our faith. He won’t always turn up the heat on our lives to do it either. Sometimes he just might turn it off.
On January 14th, my wife and I took our vehicles to Team Chevrolet in Valparaiso, Indiana to get new tires and four wheel alignments. While we both needed them, we also needed to find a way to save some money in the process. We decided since I drive 85 miles a day to and from work, I’d get new tires on my Silverado and she would get the ones I was replacing. Based on her driving habits. Those tires would last her a couple more years.
We got to the dealership for our 9:30am appointment. We left at 5:38pm. Although it was a long day, we felt good about getting what we needed for our vehicles. We felt even better about saving over $500 in the process. I definitely thanked God for that and was feeling pretty good about things on the way home.
Cold reception at home
When we got home from the dealership things quickly took a turn for the worse. Sometime during the day, I’m guessing around noon, our furnace failed. The temperature was around 52°. I don’t know a whole lot about fixing a furnace, but I knew it wasn’t getting fixed that night. I immediately made two calls, one to Super 8 to get us a room for the night, and one to a local heating and air company.
The guy I talked to about the furnace asked what was going on. He then asked for the model and serial number for my furnace. He then broke into a line about how my heat exchanger was getting ready to fail and that I NEEDED a new furnace ASAP. “Jake”, we’ll call him that for the purposes of this conversation, then informed me that it would only set me back $4,500. We could also finance it through them for a total of $6,000, or $300/month for 24 months.
Not so Super Night at Super 8
We were all extremely frustrated as we piled into room 108 at the Super 8 that evening. The kids had their homework to get done, and we all needed showers. The shower had little pressure, and ironically, the room itself was too hot as well. We all just wanted to be at home. By the time we turned the lights out, the homework still wasn’t done and our frustrations were ready to boil over. Somehow we all kept it together emotionally.
I was calm on the outside, telling my wife and kids that God would find a way to get us through this. However, on the inside I was panicking. I knew we didn’t have the cash or the ability to comfortably take on another $300 a month for a new furnace. My prayers that night reflected my frustrations.
Rather than being thankful for what we had and how far we’ve come, I asked God why this had to happen when we were finally starting to gain ground financially? Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.
Sometimes God has to chill you out to warm you up
Wednesday morning around 5:30am Brandon asked if I’d take him to the lobby for breakfast. He asked if the furnace would be fixed today and if I’d take them to school. My answers were I don’t know, and sure, I’ll take yinz to school so your mom can sleep.
During the ride to school, both kids said they didn’t want to spend another night at the hotel, they wanted to go home. They asked if we could afford the new furnace. Brandon said he believed God would take care of it either way. For a 16 year old he has a ton of unshakable faith. Definitely more than I was showing at that point. Sure I have faith, but all i kept thinking about was the $6,000. Brandon’s rock solid faith humbled me.
I dropped the kids off at school and headed home with a whirlwind of emotions going through my mind. I prayed to God in the name of Jesus and totally broke down. I was more honest with God than I have ever been. Not only was I more honest with God, but with myself. This time, I truly humbled myself before him.
When I gave my life to Jesus back in May, I didn’t give him my all. When I told him I surrender all my worries to you, I held back, and of course he knew it. God wants us to give ALL our worries and problems to him so we can focus on living for and serving him. We can’t have the faith in God that we claim to when we have pride in our heart.
God hates pride and will resist those with it.
Proverbs 8 : 13
The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride and arrogancy and the evil way, and the perverse mouth do I hate.
It is when we humble ourselves before God that he bestows his grace upon us. God wants us to glorify him. He wants us to turn to him, humbled and without pride, so he can lift our problems and worries from us with his grace. He wants to reward our faith.
2 Corinthians 12:9
And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
By the time I got home, God eased my worries and lifted my spirits. He led me back to a wonderful HVAC technician whose number I had lost. By that afternoon Rick installed a new ignitor and gave me a way to maintain heat until he could get two other replacement parts. The best part was that his repairs costs were only a small fraction of the $6000 the other company tried to scare me into.
This situation may not seem like a major issue to some people, but to me and my family, losing heat in the middle of winter was a huge deal. Especially with the potential cost of it. It also taught me a couple of things as well.
- Surrendering your life to Christ means surrendering everything to him. That includes ALL of your worries and problems as well. Their is no room for pride with God.
- When God tests your faith, it’s out of love and for a reason. It’s through adversity that we build faith. We need to glorify God through all of it.
God’s love never fails, and, NOTHING, no worry or problem, is too big or small for the one who created the universe and all life. All we need is to have faith. One last thing I took from this experience gave me an important perspective on my walk with God. If it’s a big deal to him, it’s going to be a big deal to me too. In this case doing away with my pride in favor of receiving his grace.
Conversely, if it’s no big deal to God then it’s no big deal to me either. This refers to my worries and my problems. It’s quite obvious to me now that no worry or problem I have is too big or too small for our creator. Holding on to even the smallest of problems is a matter of pride getting in the way. It’s telling God that I don’t have the faith that he can handle it. That’s a mistake I never intend to repeat again.
If God was in fact testing my faith, then I certainly failed him. Thankfully he didn’t fail me. Thankfully he cared enough to wake me up and humble me. I need to place ALL my faith in God, not just some for the big problems, but all of it. And he knows whether or not I am. I wasn’t and he let me know it. I just learned that God doesn’t always turn up the heat to test our faith, sometimes he just has to turn it off.