Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, March 18

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.
—Psalm 103:1–2

I have a good friend who once told me that many years ago, through a series of unfortunate choices and legal complications, she was forced to declare personal bankruptcy. She is a fascinating woman: serious and thoughtful on the one hand, and thoroughly worldly on the other. As she described her situation, I marveled that she was so open about what had happened and how it had affected her.

“I’ll never forget the day I had to sign my car over to someone else,” she said. “I’ve always taken for granted that I would own a car, but when I signed that paper, it made all this nightmare a reality.” She laughed, “I always thought that I had a pretty good perspective about money and what it could buy, but when you can’t buy anything, believe me, your whole outlook changes.”

As she talked, I thought about how I would have dealt with such a situation. It is one thing to say that all things come from God, that money and acquisitions aren’t important, but what would I be like if I were in her shoes?

“The most amazing things happened during that time,” she said. “I thought I would be mortified, but I really wasn’t; I didn’t tell a lot of people about it, but when I did tell some people who I felt needed to know, I think they felt worse than I did. 

It was interesting being on that side of things, basically being “worthless” materially and admitting it. As time wore on, I found that I could do just fine without buying things, and I began to realize how much time and energy had gone into shopping and buying things I did not need.”

My friend calls herself a believer, a Christian, so I asked her what part her faith had played in the bankruptcy experience. “I think it made a huge difference,” she said. “Before this, I read Scripture, even studied it a bit. So when I was going through my situation, much of what I’d read came back to me. I had a whole new perspective, from the other side of the coin, so to speak. I would never have chosen such a situation, but now I know, really know deeply inside, that God is with us, always. That relationship with God is a treasure, a priceless, priceless treasure, the greatest benefit in the world.”

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.