Fight or flight?
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
I want to tell you a story. A story of choices. A story of hope. A story of God’s provision. A story of His love for us. In 2007 and 2008, my wife and I were drawing closer to God. We were spending more time with Him each and every day. We had a hunger for Him that we hadn’t had in our lives before then. Things were going great. We had 2 kids, one on the way. Jobs were going well. We were ministering at our local church. Serving, volunteering, and more. We had a room we hardly used so I took an old laptop and set it up where it would not cut off. I loaded it with worship music. Since we had two young children, we took turns going back in that room praying, worshipping, and seeking God. If no one was in the room, worship music was still playing. It would permeate through the house and set the tone for the home. No matter what we were doing, the presence of the Lord was there. He was getting honored in our home 24/7. Little did we know at that time, the Holy Spirit was preparing us for the next turn of events.
In late 2008, I got up like any other day. I got ready, kissed my wife and kids, and went to work. When I got to work, something was different. I was the Online Sales Manager for a major media company. I had been there a little over a year. I was happy on the job. Great people, great teamwork, great leadership. Towards the back of the large, open-area office were a bunch of men dressed in suits. They were no one I recognized. I walked into my boss’s office and asked him who those people were. He said we have an all-staff meeting in 10 minutes. Not thinking anything about it, I went to my desk and started working. Ten minutes later we all gathered around to find out what was going on. One of the men started telling us that the company was struggling. 2008 was a year of a recession and the economy was in bad shape. They decided to lay off anyone who had been with the company for 2 years or less. I was one of them. When I heard this, that little voice came to me. The enemy had been waiting for that little nugget to drop and he was ready to pounce.
“Now what are you going to do? You have 3 kids (my wife gave birth in May 2008 to my 3rd son), a wife, and no income. Where is God now?” I went back to my desk and sat there for a minute, knowing I had to pack my stuff. I was in shock. I got all my stuff packed and drove home. On the drive, I just started praising Jesus. No complaining, no crying out, no asking why, no bringing my troubles to Him, just worship. It was pure. It was Holy. It was straight from the heart. I said, “No matter what happens, my trust is in you Lord.” I got home and sat down with my wife. As I told her, her demeanor changed. She went from mom-focused to fighter focus. She knew this was a battle already planned and already won by Jesus. She said we will be fine. I immediately started looking for a new job. However, with the recession, that proved to be very challenging. We increased our time in our secret place, our altar, crying out to the Lord. Worshipping and praying throughout the day.
I applied for food stamps and unemployment, doing what I could to take care of my family. Living where I did, the state took its time processing my requests. We went for nearly 4 months with no income, no government assistance, nothing. We were renting. I told my Landlord immediately so he knew what was going on. One day, in the 2nd month, a knock came on the door. I opened the door and there stood the Landlord. Here comes the enemy again in my ear. “He’s here to evict you,” said the voice. He was a very nice person but nice doesn’t pay the bills. He said, “I told my church what happened to you. They decided to take up an offering for your family. The church paid my back rent plus here is a check for enough to pay some bills.” I was blown away. It is important to note that his church was not my church. I have never even been to that church. They followed the voice of the Lord and helped out someone in need. We, of course, paid tithes on the check as well as the back rent. We knew where it came from, and we were going to honor Him by giving to Him.
A few weeks later, I was supposed to preach one Sunday night at the church we attended. Yes, it is challenging to prepare your heart and mind for a sermon with the things going on in your life. However, I knew the Holy Spirit would be with me, give me what to say, and work through me. The service went very well. After the service, the Pastor took me aside and said the church wanted to bless me with this gift. It was another check, this time for $1,000. I was overwhelmed. Again, Jesus provided for us. He gave us more than enough to supply all our needs. We, of course, paid tithes on it as well. After nearly 4 months, we got approved for food stamps as well as unemployment. They back paid both from the day I applied so starting off, we had a ton of food stamp money and enough unemployment money to pay tithes, bills, and live off of until I found a job.
I tell this story to say a few things. First of all, the Holy Spirit will always maneuver everything for your good. He prepares you for things to come. The Holy Spirit prepared us for this fight before it happened. Second, not one second during that time did we miss a meal, my kids go hungry or in need, go without power, go without a roof over our heads, nothing! God took care of it all. Finally, we always paid tithes on everything we received. I know some will try to say that was the Old Testament. I am not going to argue. All I ask is you do this. For a moment, set all the Biblical teachings aside. All the minister sayings aside. Set everything you know or heard about tithing aside just for a moment. Then I would like to ask, do you love Jesus? If the answer is yes, then you should want to give. If you love Him, you should want to worship Him. Love on Him. Give Him the honor and glory. Give everything, including your finances, to Him. I am not questioning your love for Him, and I don’t want to offend. However, with great love comes giving it all to Him. Give until it costs you something. For some, $100 would hurt. Some could give thousands and wouldn’t even feel it.
The bottom line is this, if you are not tithing, you are not giving it all to Him. If you are not tithing, you are not giving Him control over your finances. Give to your church. When you do, you are giving to God. You are saying He is where my provision comes from. He is in control. Give it all to Him.
Jesus, I love you! I honor you as Lord of my life. You are everything to me, so I give my everything to you. I thank you for protecting me, providing for me, and loving me. Jesus, my life is meaningless without you. Draw me closer to you as you draw closer to me. In Jesus name
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