When my wife and I were going to Bible school, we went by faith. I mean it was faith, no money. We didn't just get up and go on our own, like, "Well, I'm going to quit my job and go to school." No, you don't just decide to do things like that.

My wife, Deborah, and I had a lot of things happen to us to cause us to be in debt. Part of our financial problem was that I wasn't a tither—that's how I opened the door for the devil. I was tithing only if I could afford it, which was not most of the time. I said, "Lord, I'll catch up with my tithes later. I'll double up and triple up."

You never do that. Certain things happened to me because of my disobedience, like losing my car. The car's oil pan exploded while I was driving about 60 miles per hour. They towed the car in, and the mechanic looked at it and said, "It's through, brother."

We were just head over heels in debt, and I finally started a job which was paying more money than I had ever made in my life. And, the company officials said I had some potential. They said, "You know, young man, you're a sharp young man; and we think you might be a manager someday."

I could see myself being a young manager in my twenties, paying off all the back bills, and one day having a nice ranch home and a membership in a social club and being in a sales club for making so many sales that you win trips to Hawaii.

I had worked at this job seven months when the Lord said, "I want you to quit that job and I want you to go to this particular school. And, I want you to prepare to attend this semester." I said, "Well, okay, Lord."

So, we wound up at school. When we arrived there, all we had was $900. If you've ever moved to a city from another city, you know that $900 will get you through about two weeks. Plus, we had a young child, Andre who was twelve months old.

During the middle of the school term, I came home from school one day, and Deborah had all the bills laying out on the table. There were so many bills that they nearly covered the whole table, and the creditors were saying, "We want full payment now because you missed a month here or there; so we want total payment." In the natural, we couldn't handle it. We needed a certain amount of money to get these people off our backs, period.

So, I walked in the house, and she showed me the bad news. I looked at all the bills and I started thinking, What am I going to do now? They want payment now. They are going to try to garnish my little paycheck. It's not worth much. I don't want to ruin all my credit. I have a little boy, and my wife's pregnant.

When you're in a situation like that, and you read: Have joy in the midst of trials, you go tilt. Joy, what joy? There's joy? I remember my instructors in school telling me, "Don't be moved by the circumstances; stand on the Word of God." I thought, That's easy for you to say; you have the big campus. You have all this stuff. You drive those nice cars. I have bills, honey.

What Are You Doing?
I was sitting there shaking my head, and it dawned on me, like somebody turned on the light: What are you doing? You're doing exactly the opposite of what you've been taught. Have joy in the midst of trials. So, I thought, How am I going to do that. I said, "Deborah, get the Bible and turn to Philippians 4:19." She did, and we read: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

All the money we had was thirty dollars, and it was not in a checking account nor a savings account. It was all in my pocket. That was it—lock, stock, and barrel. I said, "Honey, we're going to function in joy. Let's begin to laugh at the devil." So that's exactly what we did. We began to laugh. The laugh was about as forced as you can make it because we didn't feel like laughing. I felt like crying.

I said, "Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha," and both of us started doing it. Well, after awhile, we found ourselves laying on the floor in the little-bitty apartment laughing, for real. The joy of the Lord began to rise up on the inside of us. I jumped to my feet and said, "Devil, I'm going to prove to you that God's Word works. I'm going to take this thirty dollars, and I'm going to give it away; and God will pay the bills." So, we took the money and gave it to a ministry and went to school everyday and told no one.

All the time, Satan was sitting on my shoulder saying, "Boy, you have really lost it now. You were crazy for coming here in the first place. You left that job, and now, look at you. You've given away all your money. Call your daddy and tell him to wire you some money." And, I could have called daddy, and he would have wired me some money. Or, I could have called momma, and she would have worked on him.

We wouldn't tell anybody. We went to school and just rejoiced. We didn't have a care in the world; we didn't worry about it. I had enough gas in the car for about four or five days. We just went on and praised the Lord.

We came home one day and in the mailbox was a letter from someone who had never sent us any money and who we certainly did not expect to get a dime from. When we opened it up, there was a check for the amount we needed to keep us going.

When you begin to have joy in the midst of trials, you see results. Begin to worship and praise your Father. Begin to act like it's already done and to say what God says about things and be moved by what God says to be moved by, and guess what? You'll have the sweet experience of victory. And, you'll say, "How sweet it is. Glory to God."

Source: Joy in the Midst of Trials by Keith Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Keith Butler Ministries