I have some “friends” right now that are in dire straights. I say “friends” because I don’t know them in real life. I only know them online. I’ve never seen their faces, I know them by screen name (usually I can connect a real name) and I don’t even really know where they live. Yet, we know some very personal things about each other. We are all struggling financially in one way or another. Most have experienced job loss due to economy, some are without employment for 2 years. Some have made bad decisions in the past, have been paying “stupid tax,” were tight before the job loss and now with job loss are in a total bind. Some have better perspectives, some don’t, most waver depending on that day’s circumstances. What we all have in common are empty wallets.
Most of my “friends” struggle with paying bills – credit cards they’ve lived off of when first unemployed, medical bills after having lost insurance from being unemployed. Being creative with a food budget is a necessity and often selling household items brings needed gas money. What I love about this particular group of women is that there is love, support and no judgement. As different as this group of women is, we have one thing in common – we all have empty wallets.
Since today is Easter, I have of course been thinking about the empty tomb. Without the empty tomb, there would be no hope. Without our Risen Lord, there would be no redemption through the cross and eternal life through the conquering of death. The empty tomb we celebrate on Easter Sunday is a symbol of hope – hope that our trials here on Earth are simply temporary struggles that will one day be gone.
I think an empty wallet can be the same thing. I’m not talking about an empty wallet that needs refilling by a trip to the ATM. I’m talking about wallets that are truly empty, along with the bank accounts that fill them. I’m talking about wallets that are negative because the next $xxx going in are already allotted to bills that are past due. When wallets are that empty, we can no longer live on our own accord. There is no longer security in knowing that we can work hard enough to buy the things we need, think we “need” and want. We can no longer live in a false sense of pride that we are somehow faster, smarter, stronger than the next and we are “blessed” more than others. Being blessed is such a relative term. When our wallets are echoing empty, we have nothing left but hope that our Father will provide for us.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”’ (Luke 12:22-31, NIV)
Let us rest in the hope of the promise through scripture that God knows what we need and will provide for exactly that. Let us find the hope of our Savior in the echo of our empty wallets.