See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40: 10-11
This past summer our family was forced to file for personal bankruptcy. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill may be a memory to most of you but we will always remember it as the tool God used to move us out of Florida. As a direct result of the spill, Florida’s “underwater” mortgage situation finally reached us personally. We never considered that homes and land purchased a decade earlier could eventually be worth $80,000 less than their original purchase price. That was the case with both of our Florida properties which we were unable to sell, along with assets from our failed deep sea fishing business.
While we had minimal credit card debt, those real estate “underwater” debts totaled nearly $200,000. Bankruptcy was our only option in the end. When our day in court arrived, our attorney was ill and we faced the Federal Judge alone. For two hours Tom and I listened as this hard-as-nails female barrister barraged petitioners with humiliating questions and suspicion. We began to dread our own review, despite the fact that we had been carefully honest about our predicament.
When this Federal Judge called our names, we approached her bench warily and with great respect. She then said quietly, “You are the one that helps the babies, right? I’ve been reading all about you!” Then she smiled and winked at me. Our fears were set aside instantly. We tangibly realized that God was with us because no one else received sympathy as well as comfort from this magistrate that day.
As we left the courtroom, I was so impacted by this judge’s compassion that I voiced a heartfelt, “Thank you, dear.” She gave me a smile and then voiced to the courtroom, “That is the very first time anyone has called me ‘dear’ in this court. Amazing.” Her sympathy towards us was unexpected and our bankruptcy case was settled quickly. As we regroup financially, our hearts are encouraged for our future. We certainly faced the possibility that our ministry line of work could have worked against us in a Federal court of law! God outlined, yet again, that when He is for us, who can be against us?
In revisiting the “storms” of the last five years, it is hard to imagine how we have survived the trials that God has allowed to impact our lives. Many of you can clearly relate to our situation. God’s gentle provision, as outlined in the Isaiah 40:10-11 passage above, always arrives “just in time.” These are the trials that build our faith and help us to depend on the Lord in every circumstance. Obviously we will need this renewed faith in the days to come as things may not improve in our world any time soon.
When God formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew all about your current circumstances as outlined in Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. If God went to so much trouble to set up your current circumstance, He knows how these storms will be turned into His good for your amazing future.
If you are in experiencing difficult times, understand that God has not forgotten about you. You are hand-made by the Creator of the Universe. He cares for you like none other and will lead you through to a better day. Rest in Him and know that you are in our prayers!
Sydna A. Masse