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Monday, 20 February 2017

Faith and Insurance

   To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with insurance.  On the one hand, I purchased a life insurance policy when I was 21 years old, long before I had any dependents.  My cousin was the sales rep, who pointed out the benefits of purchasing early in life, and he convinced me.  On the other hand, I question some forms of insurance because they seem improper for me as a Christian believer, who claims to trust in God to protect and provide.
   The Psalmist in Psalm 20 (NIV) shares a counter-cultural adage:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Time after time, the Old Testament people of God were rescued by divine intervention that defied the wisdom of military generals.  Consider the taking of Jericho by marching around it, blowing trumpets and shouting or the defeat of the Midianites in Judges 7 by an army reduced to 300 men carrying trumpets and water pitchers.
   Insurance can be one manifestation of a lack of trust, but the phenomena of trusting in "back-up plans" is really nothing new. King David faced the intense wrath of God for counting his fighting men because it demonstrated publicly that he did not trust in God for victory over enemies (2 Samuel 24).  Certain forms of insurance, such as automobile insurance and employment insurance, are required by law.  At which point is purchasing insurance an act of prudence?  When does it become an idol that soothes our fear of the unknown.  I don't claim to know the answer, but it's something a wrestle with from time to time.  
   Most recently, I purchased airline tickets and somehow missed the prompt to buy cancellation insurance.  By the time I realized my mistake, the 72 hour window had closed.  If the passengers, due to health or some other crisis, would not be able to take their trip, there would be no refund.  At this point I had no choice but to rely on God concerning this situation.  My prayers leading up to the trip were regular and asking for the plans to be allowed to come to fruition--that nothing would stand in the way of my mother and son going overseas to spend time with relatives, one of whom has terminal cancer.
Free range stock photo
   Five days before the airplane trip, family devotions came to a parallel event in the book of Ezra 8:21-23. Here the leader of a convoy of Jews returning to Jerusalem from exile calls for a fast to pray to God for a safe journey.  Ezra had made a conscious decision not to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen because he would be ashamed after testifying to the king that "The gracious hand of God is on everyone who looks to him."  I wonder if we are ever ashamed of creating elaborate back-up plans to give us security that ought to reside in God alone.
   The day before the airplane trip, I had a personal bread-and-water fast during which I asked the LORD to allow this voyage to come to pass.  And God answered this prayer.

1 comment:

  1. Are Matthias and your mom still in Netherlands? Hope they've had a wonderful and safe trip.
    Same as you, I booked a much-discounted flight to China in January without life insurance included. After the booking, I forgot about it and didn't purchase the life insurance for the round flights. After I boarded the flight, I prayed and God answered my prayers, I came back safely. For me, it's my responsibility to prepare for my dependents in case of an accident, I should've bought life insurance. But if I don't for some reason, I don't worry because I know my God will have mercy on my not-doing or wrong doing. - Fern