Last weekend I accomplished the yearly task that hangs over most Americans’ heads for up to 3 1/2 months; I did my taxes. Using tax software makes the task much less heinous than when it involved pencils, calculators, and scrap paper. Seeing the numbers on the top right corner of the screen increase throughout the work made the task much more enjoyable. By filing time, I was excited about receiving more than a month’s pay back from the government.
I’m no lover of numbers, but I was giddy with puppy love for the refund numbers. There were visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Oh wait. There weren’t. There were visions of paying down debt, professionally cleaned carpets, new running shoes, some savings, an overdue trip to the dentist that I KNOW will be spendy and maybe a treat or two.
I work for a non-profit agency. In case you haven’t heard, non-profits—especially missions agencies—aren’t a good place to work if you have aspirations of fiscal ease. Part of my job is finding financial partners who believe in the eternal significance and temporal importance of what I do. Monthly these partners send in their hard earned money so I can do what I do. I appreciate these hard working saints who generously share what God has entrusted them with so I can be their hands, feet, ears, arms, and voice in parts of the world they could never get to and with people they may never meet.
I eat regularly. I have a wonderful yet modest roof over my head. I have more clothes than I need. I am not in need. At times I am in want, but I am not in need. Compared to the majority of the world, I am wealthy. As the result of some unwise decisions, I have more debt than I care to have. (Really, though. Who wants debt?!) All that is to say, I get by, but there’s really no cushion. So as I finished my taxes, I was looking at a cushion.
Then I turned on my car. A few of those lights on the dashboard stayed on. I ignored them for a day. Then I thought I should maybe see what the owner’s manual said about those peskily persistent lights. It said, “Get your vehicle serviced IMMEDIATELY.” I inhaled deeply and called the garage.
Two days and two-thirds of my tax refund later, my car is good to go. There are no more visions of sugar plums or anything dancing in my head. Instead, there is an incredibly sound vehicle in my parking space. The car has to last a very long time—like till Jesus returns. Two-thirds of a tax return beats car payments. Of that, I’m sure.
While my heart experienced moments of economic angst over the last few days, it found much more peace when my brain took over. God’s sovereignty is overwhelming. Those lights could have (should have?!) come on weeks before I left on my last trip—weeks before I knew what my tax return would be. They didn’t. God graciously allowed me to know I had money coming in that would cover the cost of my car repairs. He orchestrated the tax withholding changes that came with a change of status at work more than a year ago. He is completely trustworthy and he takes good care of me. I’m thankful for this week’s reminder of God’s provision.
photo courtesy of brainloc