“Not Approved”

Last Thursday, after a great day at VBS, I took my family to McDonalds for lunch.  Except I didn’t; my debit card purchase was ‘not approved’.  It turns out that my card was used somewhere where my personal security might have been compromised and as a precaution the bank cancelled the card.  The bank called the house later in the afternoon stating that I was number 61 on the list of calls that representative had to make. I was assured that a new card was coming via FedEx and they were sorry for the inconvenience.  It was an inconvenience, albeit a minor one, and by Monday night I had been provided with a replacement.   All was right with the world.debit

During the four days I was without my bank card, I realized just how dependent I was upon its uses.   I have become accustomed to only carrying a small amount of cash and therefore began to rely upon my wife to pay for things or provide me with the cash to purchase things.  I started thinking about what I would need before I left the house – money for gas, groceries or gifts – so that I would not be stranded without the resources I required.  Yes, I am exaggerating the impact this incident had, but there is some truth to the insights I gleaned.

I began to think about all the other things that I take for granted, all the other things I ‘swipe and type’ assuming they will always be ‘approved’.  Every morning I wake up assuming my wife and children will love me, whether I have invested in the cultivation and growth of that love or not.  Every morning I wake up assuming my good health will be sustained throughout the day, regardless of what I eat or whether I exercise.   Every morning I wake up assuming every machine I have dominion over will work at peak efficiency, whether or not I have invested in the maintenance of said machine or not.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.   James 1:17

Perhaps the above Bible reference highlights what, or more precisely who, I take most for granted: God.  I sometimes feel, like my debit card, that every time I use God’s name my transaction should be ‘approved’.  I sometimes expect, like my debit card, that God will always be there to bail me out of extenuating circumstances and I will never be left stranded without the resources I claim that I need.   I occasionally expect that the power, direction, comfort and gifts of God will arrive when I demand them, regardless of my investment in securing or understanding these gifts through a right relationship with Him.

Being without a debit card for four days served to teach me a valuable lesson about appreciating the blessings I have.  It gave me a glimpse of the sense of entitlement that has crept into my heart and gave me an opportunity to nip that insidious weed in the bud.  Lord, help me to no longer take the great blessings you have bestowed upon me for granted!

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