Faith and Finances

There is utterly nothing new in saying that finances are an excellent chess board for faith to be played out upon, but some things bear repeating.

When I applied for college, I had no idea how I would pay for it. But I was strongly convinced that it was God’s will and that He would make a way. The two things I didn’t want to do was (1) accept aid based on “financial need” or (2) crumble on convictions or principles out of fear.

I paid for my first semester out of my summer job earnings. I was pretty sure I could do the same with the second semester. I got cold feet about the second year, and started looking at academic/merit based scholarships, but I didn’t really feel right about it. I sat on the fence for a while, and finally realized that the only reason I was looking was because I was scared. I wanted a back-up plan. You know, “Well, if God doesn’t work out, I’ll just go this route instead.” Realizing I was being motivated by nothing but fear, I shut the door on that option and stopped looking. God would suffice.

A week or so ago, we were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire about our scholarship eligibility. I almost didn’t even take the questionnaire, but in the end I took a sheet home. But when I looked at the questions, it had a lot of “how much money do you make?” and “where did your spouse go to school” and in general was mostly full of questions I didn’t want to be considered. So I never filled it out or sent it in.

But, by “chance”, I happened to be in the office when the dean of our program got packets for this scholarship. I wasn’t going to take a packet, even when I found out it was only academically based and had no “if you promise to work for us” strings attached. After all, I’d realized I was pursuing scholarships out of fear, right? Well, the secretary thrust a packet in my hand, and it came home with me.

I feel a little like the Israelites who wanted to go when they weren’t sent and then refused to go when they were sent. Or was it the other way around? At any rate, it’s a pretty substantial scholarship, and perhaps my reading of the packet is skewed, but I honestly cannot imagine a scholarship more deliberately tailored to exactly who I am. It seems like, as with God and Abraham and Isaac and the ram in the thicket, it was all about the point of trust and faith. Rather than spending hours upon hours trying to dredge up scholarships that suited me, I shut up, sat down and waited. . .and had a scholarship thrust upon me.

Well, that’s a little hyperbolic. I haven’t got the scholarship yet; indeed, I haven’t even gotten the application filled out and sent in. I don’t even know how good my “chances” are. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in chance and circumstance. . .the chances are pretty good.

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