Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
I recently saw a quote by CS Lewis which said;
While out driving with my husband we were listening to a popular Christian radio station and during one of the commercials a blurb transitioned into the next song which said; “Whatever you’re going through – just give it to God!” I looked at my husband and said, don’t you wish people would stop saying that so flippantly like it’s no big deal. Like whatever we are going through doesn’t really hurt. Like giving it to God should immediately make all the confusion and pain go away?! Like something is wrong with us for being beyond emotional in the middle of total chaos?!
The pain I was talking about was very real and very recent in our lives. We awoke one night to the house we had lived in for five years flooding from the attic. Unfortunately for us the water cutoff switch was located on the street and could only be turned off by the local water company. We watched for over an hour helplessly as water tore apart the master bathroom, the living room and the kitchen. At 1 o’ clock in the morning we were unable to comprehend the magnitude of the damage.
Our sweet friends took us in for the night and we stayed with them for two weeks.
What we thought would be a few weeks of clean and repair (as we were told) turned into a huge mess! You see, we were renting the property and while we had renters insurance and could have stayed in a hotel to live in, in reality it would have started to cost us a lot of money; for example; food, laundry, and basic essentials. Our only option was to move back into the property with dried up water, drywall dust and dirt all over the place, and work around the cleanup, (and if I showed you the pictures of the damage you’d be horrified), – or find a new place to live.
A woman from our church, whom we had never met prior, heard what happened to our home and offered her home to us. She had plenty of space for our family so we made the decision not to return to the flooded house – not having any clue what we would do next.
This was not an easy decision.
This could not have happened at THE most inconvenient time. Rent is skyrocketing and we had been in the process of making decisions for the homeschool nonprofits we own.
How Did the Israelites Feel?
I feel bad for how much slack the Israelite people get for not trusting God. He led them out of bondage, from 400 hundred years of slavery – sent 10 plagues on Egypt, parted the Red Sea, they sang the song of deliverance (Exodus 15) He gave them manna from Heaven every day – yet they still were unsure – and complained.
Exodus 16: 1-2 “The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
During stressful situations we become confused, afraid, and we start to lose trust. The Israelites didn’t really want to be back in Egypt. They just wanted release from their pain – and fear.
But just give it to God – right?
What was wrong with the Israelites?!
Well, they did give it to God. They followed Moses out of Egypt because they gave it to God. But as we can see, giving it to God doesn’t mean we won’t face troubles. It doesn’t mean we won’t be afraid. When people say just give it to God – what are they really saying?
We gave our situation to God. In fact, we have given our life to God!
Yet, we found ourselves homeless – again.
This was the third time in ten years we were in a situation beyond our control where our family had to suddenly find a new place to live. And this wasn’t just an isolated incident. For me I had spent the past 7 months hurt and confused by another situation, (I had given to God). So our house flooding and finding ourselves homeless was just something else.
But…Why Haven’t You Bought a Home for Your Family?
“If you were homeowners the blow wouldn’t be so bad.”
The truth is…we are homeowners.
My husband owns his parents home in California and getting a second 30-year loan on a mortgage, with an average salary, is highly unlikely. My husband bought his parents home to help his mother. In my husband’s culture, a son will take care of his mother, if he has to. In fact, Exodus 20:12, in the Ten Commandments, says to honor your mother and father.
Him buying his parent’s home has helped his mother, but it’s been at a sacrifice for our family which had always been okay with us – until now!
Right after the flood, me and my husband wallowed in self-pity for a few days for buying her home. We felt like we ruin our lives and the lives of our children. We were so upset!
We couldn’t buy a house!
Rent was way too high!
What are we going to do with our careers?!
But hey, “Whatever you’re going through, just give it to God, right?”
Psalm 89: 1-2 “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.”
It’s Too Bad…
It’s too bad that we cannot see God in the midst of battles. We overlook what He is doing when we are right smack in the middle of pain.
God provided manna from Heaven every single morning for the Israelites. All they had to do was follow God’s instructions, take it and eat it.
Exodus 16:21 “Each morning they gathered (manna) as much as they needed.”
But they were still unhappy.
Because of our human ability to make things happen in our own power it doesn’t feel good when we can’t take care of our basic needs on our own. But… we miss something so big when we don’t allow God to be BIG in our lives.
We miss His amazing love.
Sure, our family has been homeless three times now in the past ten years but two of those times, people we did not know opened their home to our family which developed into amazing godly friendships.
In this latest situation, a Sunday school class that we were not a part of (nor did we know any of the people) heard what happened to our family and took up an offering for us.
A church we do not belong to heard what happened to our family and gifted us with an offering as well.
A woman from our church whom we really did not know, showered our entire family, including my husband, with bags of beautiful clothing!
Oh…He is SO good!
He moves in His people to show others how much they are loved when they give it to Him!
Yes…Give it to God!
Last fall I started praying to God to move our family into a new neighborhood. I have a specific prayer I was praying for a safe place to live and I started to pray that prayer on a regular basis. When we moved into that neighborhood five years ago, it was a sweet quiet neighborhood with families who took pride in their homes and yards, including us. However, in the past year in a half a lot of those families moved out and the neighborhood was becoming increasingly unsafe. Me and my husband knew we had to leave, but, again, with the rent increases everywhere we really had no other choice but to stay there – until the flood happened.
Do you think it was a coincidence that the flood happened just as our lease expired?
Or could it have been my prayer back in the fall, the situation I gave to God – had anything to do with it?
After seven weeks of living with people our family secured a new home in a ministry apartment/condo community. Every family who lives in the community is either in seminary, on staff at a church, a missionary or former missionary or serving the community in ministry. The two nonprofits, the ones we were uncertain about – qualified as ministries to the community, thus – we were approved to move in.
Are you serious God?
When we moved in we quickly learned that we personally know 80 percent of the people who live in the community. Our direct next door neighbor is a pastor at our church. The family in front of us is a member of our church. The person above us is on staff at our church. My husband ran into a coworker while throwing the trash out. His coworker attends seminary. There are homeschool families that we know living in the community. We couldn’t believe it! There’s a community playground our children can walk to and be safe. There are children or I should say (teens) our own teens ages who take walks around the community in the afternoons.
The rooms are bigger than the rooms we had in our house!
Are you serious God??
Oh – look what happenes when we give it God!!
How He Loves Us!
When people say, “Just give it to God, what do they really mean?
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
I don’t know what other people mean, but I can tell you it means, you will hurt, be in pain, have tears, be confused, wish you were back in a situation that probably isn’t good for you, but it will release the pain temporarily. It will hurt. It will hurt a lot.
But, the truth is, if you continue to pray to your Father every day, spend time in His word, seek His wisdom, He will guide your steps and direct your path.
My husband made a huge sacrifice for our family to take care of his mother and I will love Him forever for caring so much for his mother and God will honor my husband and our family because of it.
We are in awe of what God has done for us. The process did hurt. Every uncertain process we’ve been through hurt. But in this situation He took us out of a neighborhood we knew we didn’t want to be in with our family, and brought us into a community where His presence reigns!
I pray that you do give your situation to God. I pray He will guide each and every step. I pray you will see His people shower you with love because His love is inside of them.
Should we stop saying, “Whatever it is just give it to God?” No, we shouldn’t. It will in fact hurt, but you will in fact see His LOVE!
Yes, do give it to God, friend.
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life, accept His free gift of Salvation today.
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS