“Should we file bankruptcy?” I asked God on May 11, 2015. What a hard question to even consider.
Quite a few years ago Chris and I had asked God this same question every few months. We had been living in Colorado and had gotten off course. We had followed our most trusted friends and leaders into what we thought was the cutting edge of God’s will. Unfortunately, this led to $70,000 in credit card debt and other bills that we couldn’t pay.
Every time we asked God about bankruptcy, He would clearly answer, “No, I will restore your fortunes.”
It would have been much easier for us if we had just done it! We could have stopped all the creditors from harassing us. We could have saved Chris from working two jobs for 4 years!
But we believed what God had said, and we wanted to pay our debts. We didn’t think Christians should file bankruptcy. Chris worked hard, the children and I missed him, and God did miracles. Eventually it was all paid off!
We were convinced that we didn’t want to get into any more personal debt. When Chris wanted to fulfill his dream by buying a business, we thought that business debt was different. Almost every business person we knew accepted the fact that debt was part of the equation.
Now we had a lot of business debt and no way to pay it. So I asked the dreaded question again.
“Should we file bankruptcy?”
I got the impression of 1 Thes 5:18 in my mind so I looked it up.
“Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you.”
Never in my 25 years of being a Christian and asking God questions had I gotten this verse with its clear message, “THIS IS God’s will for you.”
On May 12th someone from Signarama gave us the wonderful news. There were buyers interested in our sign shop!!! This was amazing! We would be able to pay off our debts and avoid bankruptcy. I was happy, but also sad because we wouldn’t walk away with any profit, nor would our investors.
Chris and the buyers finally settled on the purchase price and the closing date was set. Just a week before the closing, one of the buyers just disappeared. He didn’t communicate or return anyone’s phone calls, not even those of his business partner. The entire deal dissolved, and those words echoed in my mind, “this is God’s will for you,” and “give thanks.”
I tried to be thankful but I went into mourning instead. I was weighted down by the thought of all of our creditors suffering a loss because of us. I wanted to pay them back every penny. It felt like such a waste; the sign shop that Chris had poured into and improved was going into oblivion along with all that money!
God gave me Matt 26:6 which tells of the woman pouring costly ointment on Jesus’ head. The disciples were angry and said, “Why this waste?”
That was exactly what I had been saying. “Why this waste?”
Judas couldn’t understand why all that expense, enough oil to perfume a thousand people, should be poured out on Jesus. I couldn’t understand why God couldn’t turn this situation around to allow us to pay our debts. But it was not my place to judge His methods. Perhaps He was working out something very important in our lives. Perhaps He was working out something very important in the lives of our creditors. I didn’t have the ability to figure it out. All I could do was give thanks.
August 10th was the day that Chris and I went to the lawyer’s office to sign the paper work. Before we left the house, I asked God for a word.
“Thus says the LORD, stand at the crossroads and look,
and ask for the ancient path, where the good way lies;
and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jer 6:16
This scripture sank deep into my spirit and I sensed that it was extremely important. We were standing at a crossroads. We could choose to continue to live as we always had, in denial of these painful circumstances. We could curl up under the covers and cry for months (which is what I wanted to do). Or we could stand and look to God.
We could ask for a new way of living, an ancient path that is not well-known in our modern world.
I didn’t understand what exactly that ancient eternal path was, but I made it my mission to find out. I posted Jer 6:16 on my mirror and read it every day. I asked God to show me.
Jesus IS THE WAY (John 14:6)! He is the path! To walk in this way is to abide in Him (John 15:4).
This is not about working for the LORD, but walking with the LORD.
This is not a modern course to the American dream of success and comfort, but an eternal path of laying our lives down.
Somehow picking up our cross each day to follow him –
Somehow putting His yoke on our shoulders –
Leads to REST!
Over a year later that verse is still on my mirror and I am still reading it every day.
I am still striving to enter into that rest.
I am convinced that there is nothing more important or profitable that I could do with my life than abide in Christ.
If it took a bankruptcy to bring me to that realization then, “Thank you God!”