Right before the holidays, an email came to me from someone who does not attend our church that read, “Living in my car, out of money and food, where is God?” My heart ached for this person; they sounded so desperate, so hopeless. I was not sure how my response would be received, but I wanted to share the hope we have in Jesus. I replied:
Thanks for reaching out to our church. You ask a great question and honestly, you are not the first to ask “where is God” when going through difficult times. I asked that same question while watching my 54-year-old mother die while holding her hand. My daughter just asked that question when one of her classmates was murdered at the Thousand Oaks shooting. Whether or not these words bring comfort, peace, or even an answer will of course depend upon your perspective of who God is.
As a Christ follower, I lean on the words of Jesus. In the Gospel of John Jesus told his disciples, “I have told you these things that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. Jesus makes it clear we will have trouble in this world. The good news is that our peace, our comfort, is not found in the world, but in the One who overcame the world, that is our Lord and Savior Jesus! Jesus never promised to take away our problems, but he does promise to be there with us as we go through them. In the book of Hebrews, the author tells us in chapter 13, verse 5, that God will never leave you or abandon you so that we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
What I have found is that in the midst of suffering, carefully crafted responses rarely bring the answers or comfort in that moment. My hope is that in time, these words will penetrate your heart and you will see that God has never left you, because He loves you so very much.
Much to my surprise, I received a response and the reply provided a clearer picture of the situation. It seems that they had a great paying career and a home, but when the job ended, this young person lost everything and was living out of their car without food. The sad truth is that this person is not alone. According to Bankrate’s Financial Security Index:
Roughly 55 million Americans have no money saved in an emergency fund and less than 30% of Americans have 6 months of their earnings saved for emergencies.
It does not have to be this like this. What if instead of spending up to or beyond our income, we lived below it? Proverbs 21:20 tells us “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets”. Maybe then we could get out from underneath the burden of debt and have the resources to save and build an emergency fund. By the way, most experts recommend saving 3-6 months of your salary for your emergency fund. It is the wise thing to do and is nice to have when those times of trial come. If you would like help moving from where you are financially to where you want to be, check our website for the date and time of the next session of FPU.