"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord." Isaiah 31:1.
I memorized this verse in 1962, almost forty years ago. God has used it many times to direct my thinking about where I place my faith.
In things, or in Him.
These last few weeks have been one of financial stress in my life. If you have read any of my other articles on my website , you know that God has blessed me in the business world.
I starting investing in real estate about 20 years ago, and now have thirty five properties in the State of Virginia. Many of these are now paid off, and have created a nice net worth for my family.
But cash flow has always been a problem with real estate. So I have relied on my construction business to keep the cash flowing.
Real estate and rental properties have offered me many challenges in management. I recently had to evict four people at once. With the ensuing cleanup of the properties, coupled with money that I was cheated out of by the tenants, who failed to pay their rent, and adding in the court costs, and lost rents while I prepare the property to rent again, I lost over ten thousand dollars with this situation.
About the same time this was going on, my construction business dried up, and cash flow came to a halt.
Well, just go sell one of those properties, I said to myself. Well that takes time, and when this is done, the property is usually discounted and you take another loss. Well, the next step is to approach the bank or mortgage company and either refinance a property or get a mortgage on an existing paid off property.
This is complicated by the fact that four years ago, I was seriously injured in an accident, and was medically incapicated for quite some time. During that time, I got behind on the bills, unable to work, and not having the heart to keep up with the rental property. It resulted in a situation where several folks took advantage of my health, and they got behind on their payments to me, and the "snowball" kept rolling down the hill, till it hit the bottom. This resulted in some bad "marks" on my credit file.
It is very frustrating to have all that equity in real estate, and very little cash to operate my business.
I cannot break off a corner of any building I own, and go down and cash it in for breakfast.
Well God wanted to teach me some lessons about trust, so for the past few months, the 18,000 dollars needed for the mortgage payments on existing properties, has come in just in time to make the payments without damaging my credit any further.
Most of us in America live affluent lives, compared to the rest of the world. Many of us have good jobs, with a good income, and live in nice homes. I fear that our trust is in those "things" and not in the God who made us.
So God chopped the supports out from under me, in order for me to trust him. On August 31, 2000, I was reading a devotional by Charles Spurgeon. God has used it in a very real way during these last few weeks, and I would like to share it with you. God directed it to me just when I needed it.
I am learning that when I have a full belly, money in the bank, a nice home and car and good health, that it is easy for me to forget God, and trust in all those things.
Will God allow me to come out of this "tailspin", or does he wish to allow my business to fail? Have I laid my business on the altar of God? Do I really believe my trust is in Him and not in the things which I possess? I can only believe 1 Timothy 6:6-12. We did bring nothing into this world, and there are no U-Hauls behind any hearse that I have ever seen.
When Job lost all his possessions, he made it very clear. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him". I hope I may have that same attitude.
Let us remember dear friends, that real wisdom from God, allows many of us to hit the bottom in our lives, in order for us to learn to trust in Him.
I do not think that much spiritual growth takes place while the sun is shining.
Here are the profound words of Charles H. Spurgeon.
Meditation for This Morning (August 31) ----------------------------------------------------------------- "On mine arm shall they trust." --Isaiah 51:5
In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone.
When his vessel is on its beam-ends, and no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone!
There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father's arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time.
Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father! Now that thou hast only thy God to trust to, see that thou puttest thy full confidence in Him. Dishonour not thy Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears; but be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
Show the world that thy God is worth ten thousand worlds to thee. Show rich men how rich thou art in thy poverty when the Lord God is thy helper. Show the strong man how strong thou art in thy weakness when underneath thee are the everlasting arms.
Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth, glorify Himself in thy weakness, and magnify his might in the midst of thy distress.
The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye.
May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus this closing day of the month.