Another learning point involved seeing friends associated with The Citadel (my alma mater) organize and contribute to an account that provided funds to help me with funeral bills. God was living up to one of his names: Jehovah-jireh (“The LORD who provides”).
And that wasn’t the last learning point in my process of being freed from bondage to money. Colonel Ahearn, the Chief of Staff at Marine Forces Reserve, contacted me in March 1998, just as he had done almost weekly to see how I was doing. During that March phone call, we exchanged general information, and he asked me if I had any financial issues. He didn’t accept my nebulous answers and asked point-blank, “Do you have the financial means to pay for the funerals?” I swallowed my pride and admitted that I did not. He specifically asked the amount owed, and I told him.
Within two weeks, he told me to ask the I-I staff for a set of orders to fly to Washington, D.C. to meet with Major General Thomas Wilkerson. After Colonel Ahearn picked me up at Reagan National Airport, we went to lunch and then drove to Headquarters Marine Corps at the Navy Annex. I met General Wilkerson, and he presented me with a check from the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation and another check from the Fisher House Foundation. Through Colonel Ahearn making some generous people aware of my situation, the funeral bills were paid in full!
On the return flight to South Carolina, I felt almost as if I didn’t need the plane to fly back. I was ecstatic beyond words to see God being Semper Fidelis (“Always Faithful”) in providing for me when I could do nothing. Having seen God repeatedly take care of my two small children and me increased my faith to trust him with all my finances and be ready to give as he prompted in order to help others on down the road.
Later, after I had remarried, God showed me to trust him with my investments too. My wife and I had been investing heavily and the odds were great that we would be wealthy before we retired. Yet, we felt the strain in our monthly finances. We both prayed that God would help us, and he did.
Both my wife and I felt like we should cut back the amount we were investing for ourselves and give that money to the Lords’ kingdom. Initially our financial advisor resisted our plans: “I can’t give you more time to grow your investments. If you and your wife cut the monthly amount now, you will have less when it comes time to retire and achieve the financial goals you set. At that point when you retire, you’ll have a large sum of money to give the church.”
I thought, “How should I frame this issue to our financial advisor?”
To be continued