I may have to send a Christmas card. And I don't send Christmas cards. Not for being a grinch, but because I'm terrible on the timing and organization of that particular holiday task.
This man, however, has become the Lord's instrument of glory to my three sons this year. He doesn't even realize it. You see, Husband is self-employed. When we began this venture, I finally realized what the Lord meant when He instructed His children to pray for their daily bread. Some weeks we literally have.
Over the years, the Lord has more than demonstrated His faithfulness in our self-employment. Some years have been full and great, like the seven fatted cows. Other years have tested our faith and contentment, peace itself being gnawed at like seven scrawny cows after the last head of grain.
One of the sweetest aspects of God's faithfulness in our lives is watching my sons participate not only in the prayers for profitable work to come to Daddy but to also praise God, loudly, when He answers. The idea of stewardship, managing well all that we have been given, has to be exercised in this home because extras are not readily available. The idea of gratitude, being truly thankful and content with all that we have, must be expressed in our home because it is what it is. The idea of God as Provider has to be acknowledged in this home because only the intervention of His hand softens clients' hearts to pay overdue bills.
Don't get the idea that we're spending our time singing "It Is Well With My Soul" all day long. There are equally the moments of cost when a son realizes that the video game his best friend has will not be his, or that someone else's great family vacation is simply not in our budget. Even my own yearning for the extras is undergoing continual refinement as I consider the priorities of eternal citizenship over earthly status.
It's not easy.
Back to that man in Florida though. You see, he's a client that has not paid us for work completed and materials purchased. The amount is more than significant in this year of economic uncertainty. I've railed, ranted, worried, and cried. I've thought up dozens of ways to make this man pay. I've woken in the night and prayed, pleading with God to intervene, to execute justice for us, to just make the problem all.go.away.
The Lord's ordering of these circumstances has brought me to my knees in a new way. He has revealed Himself to me in a greater way of how thoroughly He, and only He, can provide. I am hearing my sons pray regarding God's past faithfulness and with eyes of faith to His future provision. I am hearing my sons pray for the encouragement of their parents, for the increase of our understanding, and for our family's contentment no matter the outcome.
Even as they understand the loss of income means shorter Christmas lists, no extras and tighter belts all around.
I am seeing my sons view their Daddy in a new light, to appreciate his integrity and value his requirements of trustworthy behavior. I know that they will never forget the cost it is to others when a word is not kept, when a contract is broken. The have a new understanding for his long days as their appreciation has grown for the time he takes, even when tired, to hear their stories and play card games. These boys are seeing their Daddy respond with wisdom and courage in a difficult situation, and they are giving God the glory for His work in our family's life.
I wonder what the man in Florida is teaching his three sons.
How very humbling to have the Lord revealed in the words of my sons' prayers. How precious to remember that the Lord's economy has no comparison to the world's economy. God's storehouse and His promises of its abundance to His children is forever fast and secure. Every affliction of this world, every test of our faith is for our good and for His glory. Only His peace assures us, grants hope and keeps us from outright despair.
So this year, there is a man in Florida who is getting a Christmas card from us.