This week, our air conditioner stopped working.
We’re no strangers to broken air conditioners. After fighting with an ancient one for the first few years we lived here, we gave up and bought an entirely new one this past spring. It was sleek, it was shiny, it was new!
And now, it’s broken. Well, that just figures.
Fortunately, the unit is under warranty, so the part is set to be replaced just as soon as our AC guy gets it in, which should be Saturday by the latest. We have a separate window unit to keep the girls safe and cool, so apart from a little discomfort for us, this is all no big deal. Right?
It really isn’t. And it really wasn’t. Except all the drama between discovering the broken part and now has pointed to what indeed is a HUGE problem — I have a hard time trusting God. As soon as the AC started making a funny sound, I started to panic. What if it was broken? What if it wasn’t covered by warranty? What if we had to buy ANOTHER unit? It didn’t take much to get me mentally calculating how much this was going to cost and wondering how in the world we were going to afford it. I was just a few mental steps away from being completely destitute, and I couldn’t handle the remote possibility.
All of my redeemed life, I’ve been the first to boldly assert that God will meet all my needs. In college when I couldn’t figure out what in the world I was going to do with the rest of my life and how I was going to make a living, I confidently said that God would provide and not leave me penniless. In seminary when I was poorer than I had ever been, I confidently said that God would never let me starve. And from one foreign mission field to the next, I’ve confidently trusted that God would provide for all my needs.
And He has! But the thing is, I can see places in the world where HE HASN’T. Children starve, people die, and horrible, awful things happen. In my worldly way of thinking, God doesn’t always provide. But I know that Scripture is true and that God’s word SAYS He provides, and so I’m led to conclude that Scripture is not wrong — only my all-too-human interpretation of it.
What if the correct reading and understanding of God’s provision is that God provides peace and comfort in a world full of trouble? What if, when God says He will provide, He’s not calling us to place our trust in Him to do what we feel is fair but to place our trust in Him even if He does something that seems completely unfair to us?
This is hard. And while my broken air conditioner is NOTHING in comparison to the true troubles in this world, I wonder at my attitude, my lack of faith, and my insistence that God will deliver me from even this slight calamity. Why is my trust in financial security and not in God? Would I trust Him if we lost everything tomorrow? Would I trust Him in severe hardship? Would I trust Him if He didn’t provide in the way I expected He would?
I don’t know. I pray that He would change me so that I would.