How do you manage profound challenges, especially financial ones? I went for a bicycle ride a few days ago and stopped at a garage sale to catch my breath. The sale was sponsored by a group who rescues Pug dogs. I started talking to one of the ladies running the event and she told me all of their rescue and adoption homes are full of dogs. She told me the same was true for all the rescue groups and their breed of choice. She went on to say all the shelters are full of dogs as well, including the SPCA.
By now I'm looking at her quizzically, wondering where all these dogs are coming from. She explained, “It's the economy. If you can't put gas in the car and food on the table; if you are about to lose your house, then you have to make a provision for the dog.”
The challenge of the economy was suddenly quantified for me. Oil prices, inflation, jobless rates, foreign currencies against the dollar: All of these are hard for me to understand. But a monstrous surplus of dogs, orphaned because they can't be fed, brought our economic difficulties into focus.
I wrote to our newspaper (and was published) because I figured I was not the only person struggling to understand our economic predicament. Our politicians don't get it, or they would do something productive. The media sensationalizes, which is neither helpful or meaningful. But the two ladies at the garage sale understand, and they were able to explain the situation to me.
In my experience, it is essential to define a problem before I can begin to work on the challenge in a productive way. On the one hand, I could adopt a dog, and do my part to alleviate the over-population. I'll think about that some more before I make a pledge. On the other hand, I'm thinking about the implications of so many people having to get rid of their pets, and considering what I can do.
All over America, parents are sitting down with their children and explaining why the family pet has to be given away. Maybe you are facing that talk. I don't envy you.
It doesn't cost much to feed a dog'unless you have a Mastiff. But to not be able to afford a Pug? If you are one of the many who can't feed a Pug, which is a small dog, then that means you are not eating well. In fact, I doubt you are eating regularly.
My neighbor is selling his truck. Dianne and I are not watering the yard as often as normal. We think twice before eating out. And as the global economy adjusts to India and China's modernization, it doesn't appear our economic woes will ease anytime soon.
Is there any encouragement? I believe there is. Here is what I have been focusing upon lately: I bent down this morning and smelled the roses growing beside our patio and a passage of Scripture came to mind: “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…. If God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you (Lk. 12:27-28)?
I watched a Scissortail Flycatcher (bird) the other day. Periodically, he would fly from his wire perch and snag a passing bug. Then, he would return to his wire and watch. After four or five iterations, a Scripture came to mind: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life” (Mt. 6:26-28)?
Friend, I don't know how Father will provide for us, but He will (ref. Phil. 4:19). These are disconcerting days, but Father is thoughtful and unwavering. Odd that my greatest challenge is trusting Father. In spite of the verses above, and seeing them play out right in front of my eyes, I still wrestle against distrust.
But here's my deal: I have what appears to be an ongoing opportunity to trust Father, to define my needs from His vantage point, and to embrace His economy. I promise to write to you about this. Meanwhile, we should trust our Father's heart and kind intention toward us. I am determined. How about you?