In the spiritual circles in which I travel, particularly among the Franciscans, there is a pull (and sometimes push) to help those in need among the public: the hungry, the homeless, Just sometimes, though, it is not the stranger who needs our help. It is one of us. This our prayer group found out recently.
Two of our members, I will call them Carl and Renee, recently married, were excited to find out that their application for a home loan was approved. They found a modest home in our community and with great excitement moved in.
That was a month ago. Two weeks later, they stopped coming to our prayer group meetings. I called to find out why because it was unusual for them to miss even one meeting. They explained that they were depressed and trying to come to grips with an overnight change in their financial life. Just a few days after moving into their new home, Renee lost her job. Unfortunately, their ability to pay the mortgage was based in great part on her salary. Then, a few days after that, Carl learned that the overtime that he always got and which he counted on as part of his basic salary, given a very low weekly salary, would no longer be available to him. Instead, his employer was hiring a part-timer for the weekend hours -- it would be cheaper, I guess. They were reeling.
We discussed their situation at our prayer group. We decided to give them a housewarming party at our next prayer group meeting (tomorrow) but decided that we would do it not at the parish but at the home of one of our members who lives very near them. One of our members will be getting a greeting card for us all to sign and a plant to attach it to. In it, we will put a visa card that they can use to get past the next few weeks.
In discussing the amount, it appeared that most of us could only afford $5-$20. We thought we might be able to get a card for $150. Certainly, that would help them some, but we wanted to help more. I offered to use God's credit card. The card would hold at least $500, so I got a visa card for $500. A couple of people in our group were nervous about that since I don't have any way today to pay that off, and all we can raise right now is $150.
"Listen," I told them. "This is God's card. We are God's people, and Carl and Renee need God's help. We are God's hands on this earth, and God's credit card is there to be used. I am confident that between now and when the payment is due, some amount of money from a source we don't expect will show up to pay it off. It always works that way for me with God's credit card, and I trust God to make it happen again."
Either we trust God or we don't. There is no half-way! There is no doveryai no proverya (trust but verify), or trust but take no risks. Trust is risky. That is why it is called trust -- and I don't believe with God that there are any risks to trust!
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