Taste and See that God is Good!

When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.  – King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:19

When Chris met Ann, the girl of his dreams, she was away at school healing from a severed relationship with a boyfriend who was not a follower of Jesus. So, in order to win the favor of Ann and her mother, Chris knew he would have to pose as a good Christian man.

Chris had grown up in the church, so he had mastered Christian customs and lingo. His parents had made him go to church, but he neither knew God nor that he could know him. Chris saw himself as a man of the world who would do almost anything for a buck or to get what he wanted. And right now he wanted Ann.

Hiding behind the anonymity of a long-distance courtship and being unknown in Ann’s hometown, Chris managed to dupe her, her family and their pastor into believing he was a Christian. They married and moved far away from Ann’s family. As poor college students, they postponed any idea of a honeymoon. Chris resumed college and evening jaunts to the bar while Ann went to work to support them.

On their first year anniversary, Chris and Ann decided to make up for their lost honeymoon by going to Las Vegas. Chris became so allured by gambling that he sent his bride to bed then gambled and drank away three weeks’ worth of wages that night. Then, he “doctored” the checkbook in an attempt to hide his losses from Ann.

Over the next couple years, Chris’ life was characterized by an insatiable desire for pleasure, never finding satisfaction, and always wanting more. He bought things on credit that they could not afford and did not need. One time he purchased a pistol “he just had to have,” instead of much needed furniture for their apartment. Ann continued to work full-time as he continued with school. A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree. – King Solomon, Proverbs 11:28 (MSG)

In college, Chris had strategically designed and pursued a degree program that would maximize worldly wealth. He was so focused on accumulating wealth, that he incorporated the dollar sign ($) into his signature as a symbol of his identity. Graduation launched him to pursue his goals. With its low taxes, high wages, an annual permanent fund distribution, and the opportunity to fish and hunt to his heart’s delight, Alaska beckoned Chris as the perfect place to begin building his dream.

After moving to Anchorage, Ann convinced Chris to take her to church again. Additionally, they started attending a small group Bible study that met in a home. Chris continued to reject the truth of God’s Word, however. He was still confident in his own plans and abilities to pursue a meaningful life. Then Ann became pregnant.

Chris was thrilled with the prospect of becoming a father! But problems developed in the pregnancy. At one point, after an emergency ultrasound, the doctor told them he feared the baby was malformed and would not live. Chris was confronted with a problem for which he had no power or scheme to solve. He was totally helpless and began begging God to save their baby.

One month after the ultrasound, Hunter was born prematurely weighing only 3 lbs, 13 oz. But he was a healthy, normal boy! Chris was overwhelmed with the love and mercy that God had extended to them in giving them a healthy little boy. Through Hunter’s birth, God overwhelmed Chris with the reality of his love in sending his Son, Jesus, to die in our place for our sins.

Several months later, Chris and Ann attended a stewardship course sponsored by their church. Because the desire for and pursuit of money had been Chris’ god, the One True God challenged and defeated Chris’ god head-on in this course. Again, Chris realized the awesome power of God.

After the course, God continued working in Chris’ life and on Chris’ heart. His relationships with Ann and others began to grow in a genuine and loving way. God steadily changed Chris’ desires away from the empty things he had pursued to becoming enthralled with God. Chris became hooked on God’s promises and principles for finances and other areas of his life.

One clear example of the work of God in their lives resulted from the conviction that they needed to pay off their credit card debt as quickly as possible. This was the first time Chris recalls ever partnering with his wife to pray with her, calmly discuss and agree on a financial issue, and then watch God work on their behalf.

Ann was a stay-at-home mom and Chris was earning a humble salary. They owed $4,752 on a Visa card due to poor past choices they had made. But they owned two cars outright and thought they could sell one of them for about $4,800. So they decided to put that car up for sale. But when it sold, they only got $4,600 for it. They were a bit disappointed that they would still have to make up the remaining amount to pay off the Visa, but the sale of the car had knocked down most of it. Then, unexpectedly, they received a refund for $152 from their insurance company for dropping a car and the Visa was paid off in full to the dollar! Chris and Ann saw the $152 as God’s loving and faithful provision on their behalf.

Shortly after they sold their second car, God met their need for a second car in a very creative way. A friend of theirs who was leaving Alaska offered them his older, but functional car for $5. That car served them for three years, which allowed them time to save for a mini-van for which they paid cash. God was pleased to meet their needs as they trusted him.

The work of God in his life was obvious to Chris. God was indeed faithful and kind. As a result of God’s kindness, Chris came to a point of true brokenness in his life. He denounced his false gods and boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Leader of his life.

As Chris and Ann trusted Jesus and followed him, they began moving away from the bondage of materialism toward freedom in Christ. Their goals began centering on advancing the work of God in others’ lives. Where there had been greed and living on credit beyond their means, now there was contentment. For the first time, they also experienced the joy of giving generously to God’s causes.

Chris also found himself working harder and more conscientiously for his employer instead of just trying to claw his way up the corporate ladder. His hard work paid off in steadily increasing promotions and raises. And he found new freedom from worry about his reputation, since he was now living with integrity.

Today, Chris and Ann have four children and have experienced God’s faithful provision time and time again. One of the things that excites them most is sharing their story and watching God change others and meet their needs just like he has for them.

Written by Rob Fischer
©2005 by ChangePoint