Wisdom Seeker: Day 30

Proverbs 30

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8-9

Have you ever thanked God for affliction and trouble?

It’s a sincere question. Think about verses 8-9 of today’s reading. The author asks God to keep him in a state of in-between. He asks for neither enough wealth that he has no worries nor poverty where he has nothing but worries.

Not many of us in America fall into the second category. Oh, we may have our share of bills and not quite enough to pay them, true. But few of us have ever been tempted to steal just to fill our empty bellies.

To get to that point of need you’ll have no electric bill nor water bill to trouble your mind. No cell phone or internet service to speak of, so if you’re reading this, you’re not that poor. To face starvation, it’s doubtful you’ll have rent or a mortgage. If you have any of those things, you have something you can trade in or sell that would purchase a few decent meals at least.

It may seem counter-intuitive to actually thank God for hardship, though. After all, would you rather thank Him from a position of unshakable financial security?

I’m sure. Yet for one thing, there is no such thing as unshakable financial security. Not to mention I know of no soul so pious that it isn’t prone to relying more on it’s bank account than on God.

But that, my friends, is a dangerous place.

It’s best if we have enough difficulty in life to remind us of our need for God. The problem with wealth is that, too often, it begins to own us. Like the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22, we feel so secure in our stuff that we hesitate to leave it behind for the lasting riches found in Christ.

When I think of this thing in terms of eternity – of the fleeting nature of health and wealth in my present state, of the rapidity with which all my earthly security can come crashing down due to an accident, diagnosis, or natural disaster – then yes, I can thank God for adversity.

For me, chronic pain has taught me more about His goodness and mercy than life as a healthy billionaire ever could. And I am thankful.

Lord, thank You for loving us enough to keep us dependent on You. No matter what life may bring, keep our eyes turned to You and our hearts inclined to loving obedience to You, amen.


I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Ephesians 1:16-18

I am a wealthy woman.

Of course, I am American and as such am a member of an affluent society. It is true that I have a house that does not (often) leak, a vehicle that runs, food on the table every day (not to mention the table itself), clean water, and enough clothing for each member of my family. This alone is nearly incomprehensible wealth to so many, and I am exceedingly thankful for every bit of it. However, these things are not the riches that filled my heart with joy this past weekend, spilling over into praise for my God.  Indeed, while these earthly riches are most excellent,  I count my true fortune in the sheer joy of undeserved salvation, the splendor and majesty of my King and His creation, and the precious fellowship of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

It all started early on Friday with a field trip to a local farm. It was a glorious fall day, and I was struck both by the beauty of the area I live in and the plenitude of good friends to share in it. I recalled a time when I was friendless; alone and mired in despair so dense that I could see nothing but hopelessness. I was blind, and it was here that God found me and began to do a work in my heart, replacing self-loathing and self-focus with love and adoration of Him, healing my blindness and helping me to see the Truth that would set me free, teaching me to be a friend to others and so finding myself abundantly blessed with friendship in return.

Later that afternoon, my family met other friends for a portrait swap–we took their family pic and they took ours. I had more moments of amazement at the resplendence of Creation, more reveling in the immensity of my family in Christ. The contrast to the spiritual poverty of the old me was stunning.

The next day brought still more treasure; still more awareness of the fingerprints of the Almighty upon His creation as we took a scenic drive to a natural area. Saturday also brought to mind  the delight in being a part of the Body of Christ as I photographed a brother and his soon-to-be bride, trying to capture the thrill of their new love against the backdrop of our Father’s world.

Sunday followed–a day of worship, of talking about the riches of God’s grace to some of my very smallest friends. Afterward was another celebration for a child who used to be in my Sunday class and had just turned five — a dual celebration for me as I watched my 10- and 11-year-old daughters value their little friend as much as they value their peers.

Monday was back to the daily grind, but still I marveled at the astonishing provision God has granted for me to be able to home school. I have stopped worrying about where the money for curriculum will come from, for He has always faithfully provided what we need to fulfill His calling.  Besides the financial elements, He has also provided patience beyond my own lot, conviction to repent openly when my flesh takes over and my own patience snaps, the ability to teach when teaching is not my gift, all the while teaching me to rely completely on Him—and that He is completely reliable.

But there was more to our Monday. It ended with yet another party. A little friend, now four years old, had fought and won a long battle against cancer just over a year ago. The Make A Wish Foundation is now gifting her and her family with a trip to Disney that would otherwise be far beyond their meager means, especially with finances complicated by those many months battling cancer and the continuing medical expense of another daughter with spina bifida. It was such fun to see all the kids who had prayed so diligently for this sweet girl now able to come together and rejoice in her good fortune. I found myself awash in a swirling tide of childish exuberance, laughing and enjoying the celebration with her parents, loving that they still had this child with them to take to Disney.

Today the various parties are over. But I find that I still have merrymaking in my heart — loving my brothers and sisters, worshiping my God who walks with us through trials and grants us seasons of refreshment and festivity. Even when the memory of these moments fades away, I will worship Him still.  Even if somehow all the rest–the breathtaking beauty of nature, the fellowship of friends, the sharing in the joy of others, and the boon of healthy children–even should it all crumble and blow away like ash, the revelry will still continue within.

For even though all of these festivities bring awareness of my non-material opulence, my truest riches are still to be found in Christ alone. He has given, and He may someday take away, yet even if He does, still I will praise Him. He is my portion; He is my wealth.