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22 || The Sequestration Blues

Ouch, my head hurts. Amidst government bolstering and political posturing, the threatened and dreaded “Sequestration” is happening. My heart is racing. My blood pressure is rising. My mind is numb. It’s official. The Great Recession is about to hit home.

Up until now, I’ve felt wrapped in a protective cocoon of incredible job security that only a “disabled veteran government employee” status can bring. As I’ve bemoaned the decisions of our lawmakers, begrudged the inaction of our elected officials, and watched the strength of our nation that I used to fight for go down the drain, I’ve sat relatively unaffected by it all.

I’ve talked about how people who are struggling financially can take this opportunity to come to know Christ in a more personal way since they’ll have to depend on Him. Meanwhile, I’ve neglected that deep need for Christ myself. I’ve obliged in my weekly devotional study, every now and then…  when I happen to notice it on the bathroom shelf… after I’ve passed over the “Strong Willed Child” and the other stack of books vying for my attention.

I’ve told Jesus numerous times how I would give anything if He would arrange for us to learn (as a family) what it means to depend on Him and come to know Him better – more intimately and sweetly, but I’ve never thought the 22% pay cut would be His answer.

As I’ve daily managed our finances and confidently mapped out how we’d be debt free by April 1, I knew that I had it all figured out. After all, I’ve got Quicken and an Excel file – it’s contains formulas and goals and all that jazz. Who needs God?

Well, that proverbial crossroad is here. My Excel file is meaningless, the debt reduction plan is futile, and Quicken is taunting me with our smaller monthly budget. As I look into our immediate future, I see a potential path of panic and stress. But there are some times when I’m reminded that I could be seeing a path of freedom from this world, realigned priorities, more time with my family, and potential answers to my prayers. I might even get to learn what it means to really have to trust in God… again.

You see, when we’ve got it all together, we really don’t feel the need for God. We’re driving; He’s riding shotgun. “Yeah, yeah, God – thanks, I’ve got this. I’ll let you know when I need help” is too often our response when He tries to pull out the map for us.

Maybe this is God’s way of making us look at His map again. Maybe He arranged a gridlock in Washington so that He could free the gridlock in our lives? Maybe He’s orchestrating a revival of sorts, realigning our priorities and drawing us closer to Him. He can do that, you know. If we allow Him, He will use ALL things for our good.

The other day, my inbox held a special surprise for me. It was a “Government Furlough Smart Card” (Gotta love the thoughtfulness and time that went into creating this helpful Powerpoint, pocket-sized, notice of gloom and doom). As I was perusing the content, looking for what pertained to me and my family, something in the bottom left corner caught my eye.

So thoughtfully included with the horrible sequestration news was a handy “Resources” guide. Listed there were four resources, one of which was the Chaplain. We joked about it around the office, but the truth hit home in my heart. There will be people who will be DEVASTATED by this financial blow. There are so many of us that have been struggling as it is – for whatever reason. Put this on their camel, and it might just break its back. The Chaplain should be on that guide… he symbolizes a connection to God. But oh, wouldn’t I give anything to be able to see that connection to God on the opening slide of the presentation.

“Hey folks, guess what! This is a big problem, but our God is bigger!”

But all too often we only turn to God when our other hopes leave us. So, for me, I am going to take this opportunity to thank God for the opportunity to be reminded of His sweet grace, unfailing mercy, and dependable strength and solace in the storm.

 

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