An unwelcome surprise during tax season

Published 6:48 pm Friday, April 17, 2015

There are some things in life that are less than pleasant to me, not the least of which is paying taxes—particularly if what is demanded seems unfair or unreasonable. But unpleasant though it may be, I submit to those who require taxes of me, not only for civil integrity, but as a spiritual duty as well. In obedience to God I heed the words of Romans 13:6-7: “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (New International Version).
What a relief to have that dreaded event behind me for another year!
It is nice to be on the receiving end instead of the paying side of settling up with Uncle Sam; how pleasing it is if it happens that you learn that you are due a refund. I remember one of those happy occasions a few years ago. The anticipated refund was not a large amount, but enough to cause a few plans for its utilization to come to mind.  But after waiting several weeks and going to the “Where’s My Refund” website numerous times, no refund arrived. However, after two months of waiting, what I received was not a check or an acknowledgment of direct deposit of funds, but a letter—from the IRS! That was a most unexpected surprise and at that point I was not quite sure who owed whom. Thankfully I did not spend the money before I had it in my hand. Eventually, with the expert guidance of my trusted tax preparer, it all worked out and I fared alright; however, with a little less money in my pocket than I had initially hoped for.
Life is full of surprises that can catch us off guard, yet we can rest assured that God is never taken by surprise and He always remains in absolute control. Sometimes our life’s circumstances can be much like what the Disciples of Christ experienced as they sailed across the lake with Him on a boat. Everything apparently started out routinely and peacefully with no reason to fear, but suddenly and without warning a severe storm moved in. It was of such ferocity that they feared for their lives. As they cried out for help, Christ intervened: “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm” (Mark 4:39).
When we are caught off guard by unexpected circumstances pertaining to our health, wealth, taxes, relationships or anything else in life, our initial human response might include fear and helplessness, or even hopelessness.
The good news is that we do not have to rely upon our human abilities alone to navigate through the intricate and sometimes stormy passageways of life, for we can call out to God and trust His guidance. King David’s words recorded in Psalm 141 provide us an excellent example to follow when we face surprises that exhaust our most effective abilities: “O Lord, I call to You; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to You.  May my prayer be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Verses 1-2).

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