Some years ago our financial belt was cinched uncomfortably tight for a season, and though we tried everything we knew to relieve the discomfort—relief didn’t immediately come. We did receive an answer to our prayers, but not the one we requested. Instead, the Lord quieted our stress with subtle feelings of peace and patience. Still our circumstances continued. We had to walk to the brink before relief finally came.
Looking back on that challenging time, we marvel at what we learned! One insight came from Jeanne Laskas’s memoir, Fifty Acres and a Poodle. Before planting a field with grass and wildflowers, she first had to uproot the thick covering of briars and weeds. Laskas said: “I think back to that first day when we watched the bulldozer give this farm a shave. How I stood there transfixed. Not by the machine. Not by the briars in motion. But by nothing. A nothing that has made room for everything.”
It was the same for us! Our financial trial was the bulldozer, stripping away overgrown clutter of less important things. This stripping process hollowed our lives materially so we could be hallowed spiritually. In our vulnerable state, we learned to more fully cherish each other, family, and good health. We learned to rejoice in simple things. We learned to recognize answers that came softly, subtly. We learned to see myriad ways we were truly “rich.” We learned to slow down, hold steady, and be still inside. We felt the Lord’s attending love and tutorials in our extremity. We learned how little it takes (materially) to live in happiness.