Financial struggles look nothing like blessings.
They look like stacks of bills you aren’t sure how to pay, another part of your house that is in need of repair, and long nights pouring over your budget… But not like blessings.
They look like old furniture, beans for dinner, and drooping, baggy eyes. But definitely not like blessings.
In fact, seasons of financial struggle can look so much like struggles that we entirely miss the spiritual blessings that they do offer alongside!
This is something my husband and I are learning daily. We recently moved into our first home and are expecting our first baby any day now, all while we have gone down to one very low income. We know this is exactly where God has called us to be — but some days, the worries over doctor bills, house payments, and whether or not we can even afford parmesan cheese distract from the many blessings we have seen God bring about in our life during this season.
But our God is good and He has promised that He is in every season, working the threads of our lives together for His good purposes — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
And, if we look, there are actually several blessings that can be woven from the threads of financial hardship.
1. We can watch God meet our needs in amazing ways.
In Matthew 6:31-32, Jesus reminded us that our God is the God who provides. He said,
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
As we have had to relinquish dependence on our income or our abilities to provide everything that we need, our eyes have really been opened to the fact that our God is more than able to supply what we truly need.
From generous donations from friends to surprise bonuses to amazing sale prices, just when we think something is impossible, God steps in and has given even more than we could have asked for. It has tremendously grown our faith!
Over and over, we are reminded that our God is the same God who provided the widow with an overflow of oil (2 Kings 4), who put enough tax money in the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17), who made Joseph a powerful man in Egypt to provide food for his family (Genesis 45)….
Our God truly is Jehovah Jireh, the God Who Provides, and whether we are rolling in wealth or just provided with today’s daily bread, it all comes from Him.
2. We have been able to reassess what NEEDS actually are.
This world is a very distracting place, full of very fun, distracting things. Without even realizing it, we can get caught up in shopping, vacationing, decorating, and perfecting until we have squeezed out any quality time and space for our Savior.
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” While that is both still possible when rich and still difficult when poor, God has really used this time to help us focus on what He deems important.
As more and more stuff is taken away, as my housekeeping has to be less elaborate and the rooms of my house look less like those in magazines, God is prodding at my heart to understand that He is enough. That those aren’t needs. That this world isn’t what it is all about.
It’s hard to learn, but a lesson worth learning.
3. We are forced to be intentional.
God shows us in His Word that He has given us all the health, the time, and the money that we have. In return, we are called to seek God’s will for our lives and to be good stewards of what He has given us (Matthew 25:14-29).
That requires a bit of intentional thinking.
And if you are having trouble intentionally thinking about your possessions, there is nothing better than going through a period of financial hardship!
Suddenly, you have to keep track of where every dollar is going. You have to figure out if every purchase is the wisest use of money. You have to decide if something is truly a need or just a want.
And before you know it, you are learning to be intentional with the money God is giving you!
In Proverbs 31, we see the picture of a woman who has learned this skill thoroughly. She is intentional about her time, rising “when it is yet night” to provide food; with her money — “She considers a field and buys it”; with her words — “on her tongue is the law of kindness” and so much more.
If we want it also said of us, “Many daughters have done well, but you have excelled them all” (Proverbs 31:29), then this time of learning to be an intentional steward is invaluable and such a blessing.
There are still days when I struggle with worry. There are times that I ask God why He isn’t providing more — especially when even helping others or doing ministry have financial strings attached. But through it all, I can see that God is using these hard times as a time of great blessing too. He is so good!
Meredith is the wife of an amazing husband, a lover of travel and baking, and a servant of the King of Kings. She writes at Life Along the Way, a project created with her husband as a place to share the ups and downs of their lives following Christ and to explore what it means to live life based on the Bible. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram!