Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have strong faith and always encourage building it to get what you need in life. Yet there are times when things just don’t work out. When your prayers aren’t answered and you feel they should be you can lose faith and feel unsupported. But you shouldn’t! Virginia (Ginny) Welch is my guest today. She’s the author of What to Do When the Blessings Stop ? When God Sends Famine, her third book and has contributed to a variety of publications since acquiring a master’s degree in communications. Virginia works full-time as a writer and editor.

What To Do When The Blessings Stop
by Virginia (Ginny) Welch

How do you counsel the Christian who never succeeds? Who never achieves his or her timely business plans, even with judicious planning and hard work? Who loses home and business? Do you tell this person to pray more? Study the Bible more? Keep up the positive confession? Is God angry? What hope do you offer?Blessings Stop Cover

Or is this person you? Does nothing you do prosper? Do your prayers for financial deliverance go unanswered? Are you secretly tempted to believe that things will never get better? Most important, do you look back and remember a time in your life, unlike now, when the blessings of God were a daily experience? Perhaps so many areas of your life are in the dumps that you are beginning to think that an unseen force is arrayed that against you, opposing you at every turn in your efforts to succeed. Your assessment of your life may be right on target. There may be an unseen force opposing you, standing in the way of your success, and it may be God. Your grievous circumstances could be the result of famine, a painful experience God sends to correct his people.

I have experience with famine. Let me tell you about it. Prior to 1991 I was accustomed to having my prayers answered. My husband had a rewarding job with the federal government and I worked as an editor at a prestigious publishing house. We had two healthy children and lived in a fine home. We tithed, gave offerings, and stayed in the black. We attended a dynamic church and by any measure, we were happy.

But everything fell apart in1991. My husband’s employer’s issued a job transfer, but we could not sell our home and were forced to transfer to Virginia without a sale. Soon we were making payments on two homes and began to fall behind on our Alabama mortgage. Finally the mortgage deadline came and went, and though I cried to God to send a buyer, He did not deliver us. We lost our house.

Yet strangely, the day after it foreclosed our real estate agent received seven offers on the house, one for the full asking price. And though I’d never struggled with unemployment, after the move I couldn’t get work anywhere. I was unemployed for months then years. Then my husband’s employer said we owed moving expense overpayments. Then there was the IRS bill. Then the car accident and unpaid damages. Thousands of dollars of debt we couldn’t pay.

So went our lives for several years. During that time I kept thinking that if I performed all the right faith exercises, I could make all the bad stuff go away, but I was only half right. Faith can move a mountain. But what we faced was not a mountain. It was famine. This is the word God spoke into my spirit. I had never heard teaching on the subject, yet I knew that what we were experiencing was exactly that and that it was from God.

God still sends famine. But what He sends now is different from the drought and pestilence you read about in the Old Testament. And don’t confuse famine like my family experienced with the mere annoying roadblocks Satan throws in your path. Famine is different. You can’t move it out of the road by blasting away at it with your faith.

God uses the weakness of human nature to work his will, because human nature does not change. We are pressured by lack and motivated by plenty. Repeatedly in the Bible God used an effective method to awaken his people from spiritual sloth and pressure them to repent: He cut off their food supply—famine—until they were so hungry they cried to Him for mercy. Even the prodigal son in the New Testament returned to his father’s house only because he was hungry. Famine isn’t God’s first choice, but it is effective. That’s why God sent the prophet Haggai to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. They had grown indifferent to the things of God and had begun to put their own homes and farms above the rebuilding of the wall and the temple. So God sent Haggai to them to point out the connection between their disobedience and their failure to prosper in any area:

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Haggai 1:6

Got holes in your bag? If it’s famine and not ordinary faith trials, it will look like this:
1.    Your finances will feel it first. Nothing you do prospers.
2.    Famine works over a long period. King David didn’t pray about the famine Israel experienced until it had besieged the land for three full years.
3.    There is always a reason for famine. Mostly likely you have failed to do something He told you to do or have not stopped doing something He told you to stop doing.
4.    You should go to God to find out the reason for famine. That’s what David did, and God did not rebuke him for asking why.
5.    You may suffer famine because of someone else’s sin. Israel suffered famine during David’s reign though God sent it because of Saul’s sin.
6.    Famine travels behind unanswered prayer. If a critical financial deadline passes—and it’s usually more than one—and you are not delivered, it is time to stop praying for financial relief and begin to ask why.

The famine God sends is a long, thorough ordeal meant to get your attention, to force you to examine yourself, to make deep and lasting changes in your soul. When He’s done with you, He alone will remove the famine and restore what you have lost. He restores you and what’s yours because He loves you. He sends famine for the same reason. The best advice I can give you, after what I’ve been through, is to repent if you’re being convicted and put God first.

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