Victoria Riollano of Victory Speaks
Surviving The Shutdown in Faith
I never quite understood famines.
Throughout the Bible, we see times of famine and drought. Honestly, I have often glazed over the verses concerning these times of peril. I had no connecting point or interest in how it felt to live through a famine. As a middle class American, I could always attest that I was in no way poor. I never had to wonder where my next meal would come from. Even if life got so bad I had to eat ramen and grill cheese sandwiches daily, I can only count a few days I’ve ever went to bed hungry. I’ve never wondered if and when crops would grow or rain would come. Truthfully, there was never a “famine in my land” like the Bible describes. Recently, however, I’ve had an up-close encounter with wondering and even worrying what would happen to my family’s welfare.
Only a few weeks ago, Americans learned that the government would be shutdown. This was not my first shutdown experience. However, there was another aspect this time that was different. Every branch of the military would be paid except one, the U.S. Coast Guard. There were no provisions made to ensure we were covered. As I watched the news of military members in line waiting for food and crying on news broadcasts, I couldn't help but think, “What are we going to do?” Even with the money saved, there wouldn’t be enough to cover the “months to years” that the politicians say this may take. As a Coast Guard family of 8, with one primary worker, this sudden change in our reality created an emotional hurricane. The last few weeks made it apparent, we would need God to help us.
For the first time of my life, I completely understood the emotion of a famine. The uncertainty of how food would be purchased, lights would be kept on, and cars will be fueled, became a reality. Though this is far from a biblical famine and we are still privileged in many regards, there’s a harsh reality that this could be a life changing time for everyone involved.
Regardless of how we feel about the President and those at the White House, politics hasn’t been of importance. Taking care of our children, guarding our mental health, and praying to God for a miracle has taken the forefront. Yet, in the midst of it all, God has shown us to that He is a provider. During the last three weeks, He’s taught me three things I will never forget and I must share with you. 1.) God does not forget His children. Although I’ve always known this, these few weeks have shown me without a doubt that He cares. All over the country, I have friends sharing about how people have blessed them beyond measure.There are stories of people receiving diapers, groceries, gift cards and large sums of money from strangers. Even in my own home, people we’ve never met have deposited money in our account simply because the Lord told them to. Every donation reminded us that He has not and will not forget about us. This is the God we serve. When we seek His face, He’s sure to answer and bless us beyond what we could imagine.
In my distress I called upon the LORD; I cried out to my God. And from His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help reached His ears. 2 Samuel 22:7 2.) Don’t allow pride to halt your blessing. During the second week of the shutdown, a friend messaged asking if I needed help. Of course, I said ”no.” I was too prideful to accept a donation. Afterwards, I was immediately convicted.
What if God wanted to use them to help us in this situation?
The Lord spoke clearly, “I want to rain down blessings on you but you won’t allow me to.”
The next morning I woke up and told my husband, “From this moment forward, the Lord says we will accept what people offer because He wants to bless us in this time.” Within 72 hours of me changing my thoughts and refusing to walk in pride, 5 different people put money in my PayPal or Cash app (without us even asking). Was it enough to cover every bill and need? Not at all. But, it was our reminder that God had not and will not forget us. I can’t help but keep hearing this verse in my head! And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 Friends, there may be people who really want to help you in your lowest moments. When we say no, we are blocking our blessings. You accepting the gift is not just for you, but for the other person as well. Allow people to bless you unashamed knowing that it’s the Father who’s providing for you. He will use people to pour out the blessings but He wants your heart to be open to receive it.
Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 3.) It’s easy to have faith when it’s easy to have faith. In other words, true faith arises in adversity. We can become so complacent in our view of God when things are good. However, how well do you trust God when things are difficult? In times like this, God tests our perspectives and our faith. This is why James 1:2-3 tells us to count it ALL joy! Although it is not easy to wonder when you will get paid again, it’s delightful to know you have a God who cares for you even in desperate times. He will put you on the heart of people. He will give you favor in securing extra income. He will show His ability to care for you in it all. The question is, will we believe for it? Do we EXPECT God to move and answer on our behalf? This situation has caused my faith to arise like never before. I’ve seen His goodness and believe this is just the beginning of the testimony of what he will do. I have no doubt that God will take care of us. I challenge you to stay of good courage if you are facing the shutdown and feeling anxious. Though you may wonder how you will get through it, I can assure you that God will see to it that you are taken care of. It may not be in the way you expected, but it will be exactly what you need. Today, my prayer is that you realize you can have victory even in the toughest moments. God can move radically on your behalf. He is a good God and doesn’t forget His children. Dear God, Help me to see the light at the end of this tunnel. Provide for me like only you can. Touch my heart and awaken my mind to what you have for me. I trust you and thank you. Keep me safe in your embrace and help me to encounter your presence even in my despair. In Jesus name. Amen.
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You are encouraged to reach out to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program to donate and help give the hard working Coast Guard members hope during this time. May God bless you and your family int the midst of this time.