Last week, I suggested we look at our financial hardship under the pandemic from a spiritual standpoint. We can see this period as our hungry years, but under the care of a God who loves and provides. Here are what we can learn from hungry years.
First, hungry years teach us to be disciplined and to prioritize. I used to have a hefty salary. At the time, I would give little thought of buying this or that. Now with a tight budget, I had to focus on paying the essentials, such as food or utilities, and let go of my private luxuries.
I am slowly (but not always!) learning the virtue of delayed gratification. In some cases, when I put off buying something, in due time I wondered why I ever hankered for that item in the first place. Should God restore my former salary level, I have in mind to continue with my present lifestyle and pour the difference into savings or investments. By that time, I would know better than to splurge in useless purchases.
Second, hungry years free us for a simpler life. This is the opportunity to de-clutter. Had I continued with my profligate spending, I would be burdened with stuff I don’t even have time to savor. Hungry years can actually save us from accumulating stuff which will then demand much time, expense and effort to maintain. More importantly, we can stop focusing on things and start cherishing relationships.
Thirdly, hungry years remind us of God’s faithful provision. One day, I saw a unique paper wrapper. It was filled with quotations. While I was reading them one by one, a particular Czech proverb stuck in my mind: “The God who gives us teeth will also give us bread.”
God may cause us to hunger, but He will not allow us to die of hunger. Indeed, He had brought the Israelites to utterly depend on Him for their very survival. But God is not a sadist who dangles a bone before a chained dog, never letting the dog to get the bone. Rather, God responded to their hunger by giving them manna, day after unfailing day for forty years. In due time, God put an end to the Israelite’s wandering and brought them to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey.
Hungry years are just as valuable as the satisfied years. If God wills, someday He will usher us into the “Promised Land” He has in store for us. There, we will no longer wrestle with tight budgets or anxious nights. But until then, there are treasures to be gathered, lessons to be learned. Trusting in God’s matchless goodness, we embrace the hungry years as the necessary shadow for what promises to be magnificent portrait.
Meantime, more resources can be found in my website www.nelsontdy.com.