“After runaway inflation struck in our country, food became expensive and scarce,” relates Paul, a husband and father of two. “We stood in lines for hours, but often the food ran out before we got to the front of the line. People got terribly thin from hunger, and some collapsed in the street. Prices for basic needs soared into the millions, then billions. Finally, the local currency became valueless. I lost my bank account, insurance, and pension.”
Paul was aware that, for his family to survive, he had to use “practical wisdom.” (Proverbs 3:21) “I was an electrical contractor, but I took whatever work I could find, at much less than normal pay,” he explains. “Some paid me in food or household goods. If I was paid four bars of soap, I’d use two and sell the others. I eventually got 40 chicks. When they got big, I sold them and bought 300 more. Later, I bartered 50 chickens for two 110-pound (50 kg) bags of cornmeal. From those bags, I fed my family and several other families for a long time.”
Paul also knew that the most practical thing anyone can do is trust in God. When we do what God commands, he helps us. In regard to obtaining life’s necessities, Jesus said: “Stop being in anxious suspense; for . . . your Father knows you need these things.”
Tragically, God’s great enemy, Satan, has tricked most of the world into centering their lives around physical concerns. People worry desperately about their needs, real and imagined, and strive anxiously to obtain things they do not really need. Many go into debt, learning the hard way that “the borrower is a slave to the lender.”
Some people make damaging decisions. “Many neighbors left their family and network of friends to search for ‘greener pastures’ abroad,” relates Paul. “Some went without proper immigration papers and were unable to find work. They often found themselves hiding from the police and sleeping in the streets. They did not give God an opportunity to help them. But we resolved to face financial problems together as a family, with God’s help.”
FOLLOWING JESUS’ ADVICE
Paul continues: “Jesus said: ‘Never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles.’ So my daily prayer was simply that God would ‘give us today our bread for this day’ in order for us to survive. And he did help, just as Jesus promised. We didn’t always get our first choice. Once, I got into a food line not knowing what was being sold. When I got to the front, I saw that it was yogurt. I don’t like yogurt. But it was food, so we ate yogurt that night. I am grateful to God that during that entire period, my family never went to bed hungry.” *
God has promised: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.”
“Things are easier for us financially at the moment. But through our experiences we have learned that the most important antidote to anxiety is trust in God. Jehovah * will always help us as long as we keep seeking to do his will. We have seen the truthfulness of Psalm 34:8: ‘Taste and see that Jehovah is good; happy is the man who takes refuge in him.’ As a result, we are not afraid of facing difficult economic circumstances again.
“We now understand clearly that what humans need to survive is, not work or money, but food. We eagerly await the time when God’s promise will be fulfilled: ‘There will be an abundance of grain on the earth.’ In the meantime, ‘having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.’ We draw strength from the Bible’s words: ‘Let your way of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For he has said: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.” So that we may be of good courage and say: “Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid.”’” *
It takes genuine faith to ‘walk with God’ as Paul and his family are doing. (Genesis 6:9) Whether we now face a serious financial crisis or may face one in the future, Paul’s example of faith and practical wisdom teaches us important lessons.
But what if family problems are causing us anxiety?