After you have asked God for something, take action. Act on your faith. Put feet to your prayers by taking steps toward your goal.
When I was the pastor of a church in Wagoner, Oklahoma, there was a girl named Etta, who wanted very much to go to college to prepare for Christian service. For two years she prayed for money to pay her tuition. The situation looked impossible.
Recently I was thinking about how the collapse of the American stock market in 1929 toppled the world’s financial and economic systems one after the other. Businesses, industries, and banks failed. Many lost their jobs, and millions were unemployed, which caused widespread civil unrest. While this has not occurred to such a widespread scale since then, there have been many lesser economic depressions or recessions that have caused financial turmoil.
Nothing happens to God’s children by accident. As I stand here, minutes before my wedding, looking down the aisle at the beautiful flowers and decorations all over the room, and thinking of the many miracles that made this moment possible, I truly understand how “All things work together for good.”1 But wait—I’m getting ahead of myself. To tell this story properly, I have to go back in time:
Last year was a rough one. Not terrible, just trying. Our family faced lots of challenges regarding work, health, and finances, and I’ve been hoping that things will be easier this year. But let me tell you about what God is teaching me right now, because there are some wonderful things that I have gained from these challenges.
Not long ago, some friends of ours wanted to move to another country to explore new work possibilities and be closer to their family. Though they had countless difficulties throughout their preparations, including a last-minute complication at the airport, with the support of friends and the power of prayer, their move was a success. They reached their goal and now are trying their wings on new horizons. I’ve often told my friends and acquaintances who long to travel or live some other dream: put your desires in God’s hands, because He knows your heart and delights to see you happy.
I told My disciples that every hair of their heads was counted and that not one sparrow falls to the ground without My Father knowing about it. I told them that they didn’t need to worry about their material needs, that if they trusted and followed Me, I would make sure their needs were met.1
Well, not literally. I can explain.
At the start of last year, I made a resolution to not purchase any new clothes or shoes that year. I had a combination of reasons for that:
Giving is easier to talk about than to do. This is especially true when it involves sacrifice. On the other hand, the Bible shows that God greatly honors this kind of giving.
“Jesus sat down at the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’”1
Almost every single day, I’m struck by how lucky I am to work where I do. I’m a teacher at an inner-city school that serves families from all around the world. I work in the library, where it is normal to see, at any given table, a group of four students working together who represent four different continents, four different languages, and four different faiths. The UN could learn a lot from my school.
At my age, people usually start to earnestly think about their future. Besides children, careers, and living arrangements, the subjects of pension plans and capital investment tend to pop up. There are a lot of different possibilities to choose from for financial investments and it’s not easy to decide, since at the end of the day, no one can tell you what the right choice is for sure. Some of the investment possibilities that I looked into are life insurance, real estate, and investment funds, though there are many more.