By LuAnn Edwards
Many years ago, my husband Ken partnered with two other men in a farming business. We knew Clyde was a trustworthy man; we attended the same church. Sam, a businessman in town, put up most of the money with the agreement that if anything went wrong, all three men would be equally, financially responsible. I wasn’t sure Sam could be trusted since I didn’t think he was a Christian.
Within a couple of years, the business went broke, and we had to close. The main reason was Clyde. He misrepresented himself and the product he endorsed. He skipped town and to my knowledge never paid any of his debt. So much for thinking he could be trusted.
How would we ever be able to pay Sam back? We were a young family with two small children. We calculated it would take us 20 years. Bankruptcy was an option, but after praying about it we felt God wanted us to make every effort to pay our debt.
The Lord soon provided Ken with a new job, and we began paying Sam back $2,000 per year. After two years, I began praying specifically. “Lord, You know our faithfulness and how we have continued to pay Sam back. You also know we have not cut back on our giving to the church or Your work. Lord, at the end of five years, I pray that Sam will forgive us our remaining debt.” I also prayed for the Lord to give Ken boldness to ask Sam for the balance to be written off after we paid a total of $10,000.
That didn’t happen. After nearly three more years of persistently praying and asking the Lord for this specific need, we received a letter in the mail stating, “Thank you for not forgetting about our business venture that did not do very well or your obligation to the note. I do not feel you owe me any more money. Please consider your portion of the note ‘Paid in Full.’” At this time, we had paid $9,500 of our debt. The Lord answered my prayer $500 early, and Ken didn’t even have to talk to Sam. God moved upon his heart without our interference. Sam, the man I wasn’t sure could be trusted, was actually a generous and forgiving man.
Through this experience, I learned a few things. First, I learned that persistent prayer works, and God doesn’t always answer the way we pray. He often answers better.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
I also learned not to judge people based on whether or not I believe them to be a Christian. I misjudged both men when I shouldn’t have judged either one. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
The last thing I learned is that God is pleased with our faithfulness. We continued to pay our debt to Sam, while continuing to give our tithe and offerings to our church and the Lord’s work. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6).
I believe God granted us a wonderful blessing through persistent prayer and our faithfulness in giving.
Are you persistently praying and being faithful in your giving to the Lord’s work?