There is one word that describes the universal experience of the self employed: panic.
Sheer, financial cliff teetering, panic.
Shayne and I are both craftsmen. He bends metal and wood, and I shape words and images. Though we delight in our work, laboring with clear conscience that we are serving the ends for which we were made, neither of those occupations is what anyone would consider “steady”.
For me, the mailbox has something of the yawning fear that my basement had growing up: some dark menace lingers just behind the door. This week, I unsealed a bland white envelope that contained anything but bland news: due to federal healthcare changes, the program through which we get my husband, Shayne’s, insulin and test strips (vital for survival) is no longer available to us. This is a $1000 a month envelope I just opened. That figure is higher than my mortgage. I immediately shut that dastardly mailbox door, and went for a walk.
“Breathe. Breathe. Breathe”
The cloud of dark-fingered foes swirled in…fresh blood. I was soon surrounded by many walking companions: accusations of our “irresponsibility” in leaving our stable jobs, barbs between the ribs foretelling the sordid hopelessness of our physical future (I might be the first homeless blogger, the voice suggests). I’m sure if I could have seen my spirit, it would have looked like a woman walking in a bee storm.
As if He had tapped me on the shoulder and leaned down in my face, I heard The Lord say,
“You see that tree over there?”
yes, I see it.
“I made that”
“Out of Nothing”
“If you think I can’t make payments on your debts, if you think I can’t call the stars of the sky to order, and number the cows on a thousand hills, you just remember: Every tree stands as a guarantee of My Sovereignty and Creatorship, My absolute authority over every created thing…including money. There is nothing I cannot touch. You need have no fear”
I fixed my eye on that tree… I remember exactly which one, and I have held it close in my heart. My God makes something out of nothing. And He does it over and over and over again. He’s the only one who gets to play outside the laws of physics and logic, math and finitude. I don’t, but He does. He makes feasts of manna and quail in the desert, and brings water from a rock. [Exodus 16 and 17]
Since that day, I see the pine and hickory around me and think of them as staunch monuments: reminders and promises that My Father knows my needs, is intimately acquainted with my calamity and will not fail to rise to the occasion to save me. May it be that we would hold each miraculous tree as a sign of promise, no less than a rainbow, or a Tabernacle spire.
One final aside: That same frightening mailbox that has held the bills, has also held the provision. And it has come time and time and time again. I have unsealed envelopes with tears of joy, and beams of delight; sometimes even laughter at the creativity of my Dear Friend who sees and answers perfectly.
How have you seen Our Father take care of you? I’d love to hear.
photo provided by our generous friends at Aperture37206