One summer evening, I was driving towards my small hometown on a quiet stretch of Texas highway. Just ahead of me in the next lane, traveling about 65 miles an hour, was a big yellow school bus. Suddenly, with no warning, both tires came off its left rear axle and one hurtled toward me
Having no time to swerve or slow down, I ran over the top of it and literally went airborne. When my car landed, all four fenders were crunched and the front and back windshields were cracked.
Although I was able to pull the car to a safe stop, it took me several minutes to collect my wits, realize I was unharmed, and determine what had happened.
I vividly remember my relief when I saw that the bus was upright and had safely stopped on the shoulder of the highway. Through the windows of the bus, all of the kids stared back at my car in amazement.
I checked on the bus driver who, like me, was trying to regain his composure. Both of us were very grateful for our miraculous protection.
Soon, other drivers stopped to check on us and offer assistance. It wasn’t long before we were all safely home.
You know, the wheels can come off of your financial bus in much the same way.
It seems that – without much warning – sparks begin to fly, panic sets in, and we are like the frightened bus driver, simply trying to find a safe place to stop amidst out-of-control forces that threaten us with disaster. And, like my story, often there are passengers in and around your financial bus who are also placed in jeopardy.
If you are the driver of a financial bus that is spiraling out of control, here’s some advice that can help you get back on track when the wheels come off:
1) Drive your bus. Don’t let go of the wheel and hope the bus doesn’t crash while your eyes are tightly shut.
King David gave similar advice to his son Solomon when he was facing a seemingly overwhelming task. “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you …” (1 Chronicles 28:20).
This may mean that you need to face your creditors, the family member whom you owe, or the mortgage lender who has contacted you about past due payments.
2) Slow down and regain control. The driver of the bus navigated to a safe stop without flipping. He slowed down and managed what he had to work with.
Proverbs 29:20 says, “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
When you have financial stress, slow down, stop spending and start planning.
3) Get help. Because my problems, as well as those of the bus driver, were obvious to others, people arrived quickly and were eager to help.
The body of Christ is designed and equipped as a practical means for us to help each other. “And in the church God has appointed … those able to help others …” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
Seek help from a trusted friend, a godly counselor or one of Crown’s trained volunteer coaches. They are eager to help you get back on track.
4) Pay the price of your mistakes. In a strange twist to the bus story, I experienced a painful penalty. I was issued a ticket and fined by the highway patrol for an unusual traffic violation: “failure to avoid road hazard.”
I felt that the hazard was unavoidable, but I had to pay the price anyway.
“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3).
Many times people try to escape their responsibility when financial mistakes are made. Choose to do the right thing. Avoid quarreling and humbly accept the responsibility to pay the price.
Don’t forget, Crown is here to help you get your bus back on track – with all the wheels on the ground.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and host of Crown’s MoneyLife radio broadcast. Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational Life with 200 staff and over 10,000 volunteers dedicated to equipping people globally with biblically based financial stewardship tools and resources.