A Guide for the Mountain

“American climber becomes first non-Nepalese to scale Everest 10 times.” I just read this article on MSN.com today and I truly was awed by the thought of scaling Everest that many times. The amount of dedication, and courage, and strength are just amazing to me. Yet because my thoughts tend to continually come back to finances these days, I couldn’t help but think, if debt is a mountain, I wonder how many champion debt climbers there would be? How many people courageously face and climb their mountain of debt, only to circle back around and have to climb the same mountain all over again. Now there are some people out there that may have actually had fun making their mountain and they may even have a plasma TV to show for it. But for most people, there is nothing fun about the mountain of debt. It is devastating, it is hard, and just the thought of the strength it will take to climb that moutain can be completely paralyzing.

For some of you, debt came as a result of sickness, or unemployment, or tragedy, and it may be that that mountain is more than just an obstacle in your finances, it might be that debt has become constant reminder of all of the pain that you have walked through. It certainly does not seem fair that you should suffer great loss, and then have to pay for it as well. It’s like loved ones paying for a funeral. It seems so wrong to not only be grieving the person who has passed on, but then to have to pay the bill… It’s just a nightmare of a situation. There is nothing easy about loss, or emergencies, or unemployment. The comfort that we do have is that “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” (Psalm 23) I love that we are walking through. We don’t camp there. We don’t stay there. We keep moving. And with God’s amazing comfort, we move on.

I don’t know the circumstances in you life that may have resulted in your debt. If it’s your spending habits, there will be another blog for you, but if your mountain has come with a lot of devastation in your life, then you need a lot of extra grace to face that mountain and get free from all of the baggage that is tying you to that pain. The first thing that you have to know is that God did not do this to you! So many of us get into difficult places in our lives and we immediately begin to blame God, and question Him like it is His fault. I have to tell you this today, because it is imperative that you get this in your heart… God can only do good. There is NO evil in Him. The devil can only do bad, and if you have faced a horrible tragedy, it was not at the hand of God. Now our heavenly Father has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so He was right there with you in whatever you have had to face, but I believe He wept with you. He wasn’t doing it to you. His heart is only good for you.

We live in a broken, sin-filled world that constantly grieves His heart at the wounds that people inflict upon one another. It is not God’s heart that you should suffer, anymore than it would be your heart for your children to suffer. You would do everything possible to keep you kids from pain, and yet you cannot control every minute of their day and lives. That isn’t relationship, and it would be a horrific scenario for the child. Imagine if your Mom or Dad were controlling every single thing that you said or did out of fear that you might have pain. You would go crazy and beg for freedom. True relationship means freedom of choice, and that is exactly what God has given us, even if it means that we may sometimes get hurt, or that our choices might lead us down painful paths. He is always with us, always loving us, and always good… but He will not control us. And so because of sin, painful things happen in the world.

I just want to tell you today, that God is for you. He is on your side, and if you are ever going to get over that mountain, you are going to need His help… desperately! So the very first step to facing your mountain of debt, if the mountain has come with pain, is to forgive God, and cancel the debt that you have held against Him. What that means is that you say to Him, “God I have blamed you for my injury and for the resulting debt, and right now I forgive you for my perception that you failed me, and I cancel the debt that I have felt you owed me. I choose to believe that Your heart is only good towards me, and that Your Word is true that you are “working all things for good” even though I don’t yet see it.” Nothing stops the flow of finances, of freedom, and of grace in our lives like un-forgiveness. Let me just tell you, if you are facing a mountain of debt, you cannot afford the luxury of un-forgiveness. God did not do this to you. In fact, He is 100% with you, and behind you, and for you as you climb your mountain of debt. He wants you to be free from that bondage even more than you do!

So as you face your mountain, face the pain and forgive God. Forgive those that may have hurt you or mistreated you, resulting in your debt. And then ask God for His grace to walk forward. It is time to get out of the valley of the shadow of death, even if there is a mountain of debt that seems to be blocking your path. We are going to be taking more steps in the days to come towards conquering your mountain. However, just like no climber on Everest would dream of climbing the mountain without a guide… you desperately need God’s guidance on this adventure. I am going to be giving you strategies, and ideas and even creative solutions to help you in your climb, but the strength to actually climb, the grace to keep on going, and the victory on the other side will all come from God. However, the difference between your mountain of debt and Everest is, your mountain was not made by God. However He knows your needs, He knows you, and the good news is, He’s been over this mountain many times before.

The thing I find so funny about the headlines about Everest is that for every “American” or “French” or “English” man that makes the headlines for climbing Everest, there is a Sherpa who has climbed it ten more times. It’s the Sherpa who should get all the glory for leading some fool up a mountain and bringing them safely down again. I think on the other side of your mountain of debt, you will be very, very glad for your heavenly “Sherpa.” It is a horrible thought to think of climbing the mountain of debt alone, but the good news is, you will never have to.