“I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” Jonah 4:2
For the past few months, my family is dealing with major financial problems. Mounting debts, unpaid bills, unexpected expenses and unemployment barrage us. As might be expected, this greatly impacts our family. We don’t fight about money, because as we joke about it, there is nothing to fight about. But then, the lack of it becomes a source of stress and anxiety, not just to me, but all the more to my husband who is our provider. I witness his tenacity scouting on the internet to find for high-paying jobs, and his silent struggles when he couldn’t get any. While he is not the type to voice out his frustrations, as his better half, I know what is lurking in his mind: his feeling of defeat and loss of control.
The root of the problem
Before things were blown out of proportion, we sat down and confronted our problems a few weeks ago. The root of our problem is the mismanagement of our finances. My husband admitted that he was not being a faithful steward. He got negligent in managing our budget when he would carelessly use our money to gratify our wants, or when he would treat us out and use the money which is allotted to cover something else. The bigger problem is when he confessed that he was failing in giving tithe. He then realized that it resulted to more unfaithfulness and mismanagement. While giving to the Lord is not a get rich scheme, we both understand that not giving to the Lord is a surefire way of losing our focus on what truly matters. It is not about the money, because God does not need our money. It is a heart issue. Giving back to the Lord is all about gratitude, making Him our priority, putting His agenda first, and ultimately, it is about loving God. My husband’s confession came as a shock because of my unmet expectations of him, but I found relief in his humility to repent and to prioritize God not just in some areas of our lives, but in all, and that includes our finances.
The struggle is real
However, after a week of confession and decision to change ways, we found ourselves in the same pit of difficulties. The large amount of debts and bills and unexpected expenses become a big hurdle to overcome. So I was not surprised when my husband grew tired of hoping for better days. He seemed lethargic and his enthusiasm towards our mission as a family was slowly ebbing away. As a wife, I chose to stand by him and brought him to the Lord in prayer. It didn’t take many days when my husband came to me and revealed his deep struggle with fear. He admitted that what he promised didn’t happen. He was still not tithing. He had this fear that if he will give all to the Lord, the more that we won’t have enough money to cover our expenses. He is a man of faith, but I believe that just like me, he has a lot of room to grow. This is a place where he needs to put into practice what he knows, this is where he must obey.
The solution is obedience
Blessed with his salary, this time, he got the envelop, put cash and rejoiced! There was still a small voice tempting him of not prioritizing God again, but this time, he fled and turned to God. Finally, by God’s grace, he was able to give his full tithe to the house of the Lord with joy, peace and gratitude.
Obedience brings blessings
What happened to my husband is similar to what happened to the prophet Jonah. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against its wickedness and call for repentance. But instead, Jonah- the prophet that he already is, ran away from the Lord and headed to Tarshish. As he went down to Joppa, he found a ship, went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. The Lord sent a storm and threatened to break up the ship. The captain and the crew confronted Jonah and asked him to pray. The storm grew bigger and worsened, so they cast lots to find out who is responsible for the calamity. The lot fell on Jonah. He admitted that it is his own doing why the Lord sent them a storm. They took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. He was eaten by a fish and spent a few days thinking about his decision.
We all have gone through a time of disobedience to God. When my husband shared his inability to obey, I, too, crossed the line. I judged and disrespected him by nagging him of his lacking. He made mistakes, and clearly, so did I. For Jonah, he needed to be eaten by a fish for him to become obedient. For my husband, God needed to shake him up so that he will obey. My husband is a child of God, and because the Lord loves His children, disciplining him is necessary. God is committed to change His people. Truth is, as my husband receives the loving discipline from God, I also receive the conviction from the Holy Spirit to be a better wife. I can be a better wife for sure.
The greatest blessing is not when Jonah got out of the belly of the fish, but it is when God gave him a second chance. And even more so, when God still used him to do a special task to deliver an important message to the people in Nineveh. Our family still faces financial troubles; but it doesn’t mean that my husband’s obedience is in vain. We learned a valuable lesson- and that is we cannot underestimate the blessing of obedience. Blessings of peace and righteousness when we obey and honor the Lord, and it is knowing that we glorify Him in all that we are and do.
Finally, it is when my husband acknowledged his waywardness that God restored and gave him a second chance. You see, even our disobedience is not put to waste because the Lord can use it to sanctify and lead us to the way He wants us to and be the people He wants us to be.
Sarah Carpio is a follower of Jesus Christ. She is a loving helpmate to her husband Cio. They are blessed with three daughters whom they will all homeschool. They now serve the Lord by ministering to young families and influencing them to be Christ-committed families who will make Christ-committed families.
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