Uncle Sam is very, very mad at me. At least that’s my assumption based on the massive tax bill he slammed on my husband and me this year. When the tax man delivered the bad news, I initially felt panic, but as this day (the day when all taxes are due) approached, I started seeing the unexpected financial blow as a blessing. Yep, a blessing.
Here are a few things I’ve learned (or re-learned) this tax season.
1. God is my provider.
Genesis 22:14 says, “So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The LORD will provide’, as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.’”
Some translations insert a name of God into this passage, Jehovah-jireh, meaning the Lord provides. In Numbers 11:23, God Himself illustrates the same point after the Israelites had been grumbling that they didn’t have what they needed:
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.’”
This image here is of a God with short arms, too short to reach down and provide for the needs of His people. But God does not have short arms. In fact, His arms are long enough to reach into my needs and your needs and the needs of people around the world. He is a capable and willing Provider. I can doubt that if I want to, or I can stand back and watch as God’s promise to provide comes true for me.
I was talking to a friend about this recently, and she said that she always reminds herself that she’s never met an older person who’s said, “Well, there was that one time when God didn’t provide.” Good word!
He is faithful. He can be trusted. Providing is part of His nature.
God has provided for us in miraculous ways in this season of financial stretching. It wasn’t until I was very aware of my needs that I had the clarity to look around for all He has done for me rather than depending on what I could earn for myself.
2. I am called to ridiculous giving.
In the midst of this season of financial strain, we have had more opportunities than usual to give to others. It hasn’t made sense. No financial planner or money expert would advise us to give more to others when our finances are strapped and yet, each time we’ve given, the money has been returned to us in some way.
Paul writes about this mystery in 2 Corinthians 8. He is bragging on the churches of Macedonia who gave generously despite their “extreme poverty.” In fact, Paul was clear that they gave “beyond their means” and God multiplied it for Kingdom gains.
Deuteronomy 15:10 addresses giving to the poor and says,
“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.”
We tend to think of giving as something that’s optional once all the bills are paid, but God wants us to give to others often and with happy hearts, even when it stretches us. I can tell you from recent experience that opportunities for sacrificial giving are a gift.
3. Dependence is a Good Thing!
I’ve frequently heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss say, “Anything that causes us to depend on Christ is a good thing.”
When the bank account is full, when bills are easy to pay, when we’ve got a two-month emergency fund, our human nature is always to coast a bit. But when we are squeezed financially or in other ways (spiritually, emotionally, relationally), suddenly we are reminded how much we need the Lord. This is a blessing because when we are reminded of our need, we have the opportunity to cling to Him. John 15:4–5 says,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
I’m just a branch. A branch that is severed from the vine is ultimately useless. I need this reminder from time to time. Self-sufficiency is a beast I must fight hard against. So, whatever it is that causes me to cling is a good thing.
So, thank you Uncle Sam. You are an able teacher. I am grateful for the reminders you’ve given me this year (and thankful to see April 15 come and go on my calendar!).
How about you? Are you facing unexpected hardships? Financial burdens that seem impossible? Circumstances that feel hopeless? If so, I hope tax day can remind you what it’s reminded me: God is an able provider, He calls me to ridiculous giving (even when it seems impossible!), and anything that causes me to cling to Him is a good thing!