One of the most challenging aspects of leaving my full time job and stepping out in the obedience of my calling has been trusting God with my finances and maintaining fiscal patience. Despite the numbers on paper, I have a less-than-stellar investment record, marred by impatience and bruised by self-reliance. Recent financial squeezing combined with slow online book sales has been sporty, sometimes pushing me to question my judgment, other times instigating deep frustration when fears of losing my house try to assert themselves. As car repair bills made me consider buying a horse, medical invoices showed up weeks after the procedure had faded into history, mandated health insurance rates rose faster than my blood pressure, and my dog had an allergic reaction to her allergy serum, I feel my finances are experiencing the gruesome reality of death by a thousand cuts—a slow bleed out that could force my family into that spacious cardboard box I mentioned in a recent post. Sometimes I feel like Job—I can get just as whiny. And in these cases, like He did with Job, God’s got to get in my face to make me see the light.
As the recent financial challenges continued to mount, I realized I’d once again have to dip into my 401k to remain solvent. Although I’d committed to staying the course by sacrificing this monetary reservoir to finance our leap of faith, the thought of compromising my future by eating away at my life savings still leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. Poverty thinking and dearth mentality aside, I was not happy with having to skim off more of my life’s savings, hence the continued impatience with the pace of book sales and the renewed contention with trust.
With these kinds of thoughts playing bumper cars in my head, I drove to the office one afternoon and focused on my work, immersing myself in the world of Coulomb, Faraday and Tesla. “I was wondering,” Chad asked out of the blue. “Would you mind if I paid you a half year salary up front? It would really help the business if I could do that.”
Whoa? Really? I thought. “Yeah, sure,” I replied, trying to remain poised and professional. “If that would help, I’ll just keep track of my hours and let you know when I burn it back down to zero.”
After the discussion, I texted Mary: Chad wants to pay me for a half year up front!!!!
Her reply: Omgoodness. What an amazing blessing. I’m crying.
“It was an interesting coincidence that Chad told you that today,” Mary told me after dinner. She explained that during the staff meeting at work, she had responded to the call for prayer requests. “I told the ladies, ‘This journey David and I have been on has been an amazing blessing, and we know God provides and He will provide, but we’re at a point now where we’re financially stretched. So please pray for peace during this and for God’s provision to reign. Now.’” My text, she said, had arrived soon after she’d requested that prayer. Another sign, another answered petition, another kiss on the cheek from a God Who cares for us more than we’ll ever know.
This summer James and Janet Marberry, neighbors, good friends and faith-filled believers, spent several weeks in Colorado. As we baked in the Texas heat, they played in the mushy snow. While out shopping one day, Janet found a framed photograph of a diorama depicting two miniature painters painting a river-polished stone. “Things Take Time” they had scrawled on the rock. Janet presented the picture to Mary and me, a gift for watching their house while they were out of town. “I thought of you when I saw this,” she said, “because this process takes time.” Coincidentally, the day she gave us that photograph was the same day the proofs of The Epiphany of Joy and Melted Clowns arrived in the mail, and the same day Mary celebrated the end of her formal job to focus on working the business end of the writing endeavor.
Just the other day a friend asked me how the book sales were doing. “Direct sales are going great,” I replied. “But online sales are painfully slow.” In fact, for every book I’ve sold online, I’ve sold eight or nine books at book signings, craft fairs and get-togethers with friends. “Marketing is hard,” I lamented. “But I’m learning.”
“Sometimes it may take years for a writer to take off,” my friend counseled, a fact that, alas, is true in most cases. But moving forward with deliberation and patience will make the moment of takeoff that much more thrilling. And more meaningful.
God does nothing with impatience. He kept His mouth shut from Chapter 3 through Chapter 37 in the Book of Job, allowing Job to wallow in self-righteousness, self-pity and indignation while his friends bore false witness against him. It can take ten years for a pecan tree to yield its first fruits. It took 4,000 years for God to restore mankind back to Himself after the Fall. It took millennia for Him to paint the Grand Canyon in all its splendor and breathlessness. God’s not in any hurry.
Things take time. Wait upon the Lord. Be still.
It’s all in His timing. And in His magnificent hands.
Copyright ©2015 by David C. Hughes