For the world all around us is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory.
But they do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindnesses . . .
. . . but they really are chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those very heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying.
~ Hannah Whitall Smith, The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life
When my oldest was a baby, I was cutting cabbage and noticed an outer leaf about the size of his head. Compelled to see if it would fit, I placed it on him and the result was hysterical. I grabbed the video camera and started filming. I was sure America’s Funniest Home Videos would bite on the footage! And, holy cow, could we ever use the $10,000 prize!
Money was scarce for us in those days. We rarely filled the car with gas. Burger King was our only dinner treat. I used cloth diapers — not because I was an environmentalist. Back then, $10,000 would have been like winning the lottery.
A few weeks after sending in the tape, I received a release form and gave the show permission to air our video. Could this really be happening?! Was God going to do the impossible, the exciting, the miraculous? I quickly signed the dotted line, thanking Him for a creative way to meet our needs. Our next contact would be a phone call telling us when our video would air.
My son will turn 25 this year, and we’re still waiting to hear.
In the intervening years, every time a financial crisis came I would wonder if God had been waiting for that particular moment to pull out the America’s Funniest Home Videos card. I know it seems silly to rely on such a long shot to pull us out of tough money spots, but it was a slick solution, unusual, something just like God to do.
But he didn’t. GOod chose a different route. Instead He let me wrestle with uncertainty, sleepless nights, and knots in my stomach. I was kept home-bound with little kids when we could only afford one car. We were saddled us with two houses for seven years. Then the transmission died in our van, which we barely had the money to buy. We were riddled with medical bills and home repairs that seemed beyond us.
What would be the harm in winning $10,000 in a video contest? The danger came in putting my hope in a television show instead of God.
I trusted in a chariot I could see instead of one I could not.
A one-time $10,000 payout would solve a lot of problems, but it would only let me see Him work once. Continued financial struggles gave me a chance to watch Him deliver over and over and over, establishing a track record with God.
Somehow those bills got paid, often twenty dollars at a time. We survived three sets of braces and countless cars and repairs. He provided for show choir outfits and school trips and cell phones and car insurance for four kids, all on one income. Our kids developed an ability to be content with little, even as young adults. We all learned to make do and be creative and lean in.
God taught us to step into His chariot.
Each time God sees us through another difficult circumstance, especially without the dramatic rescue we wish for, our trust and faith is strengthened. Each predicament teaches us to rise above the cares of this world, to not sweat the small stuff, and to trust in what we cannot see instead of the temporal.
He who calls you is faithful. He may be faithful in unusual ways, like a $10,000 award, but most likely He’ll be faithful in forming a stronger, wiser, more resilient you. One crisis at a time.