The busy holiday season was in full gear. Carefully documenting the gifts I purchased on my Christmas app, I decided to check my account balance. Boy was I in for a big surprise!
I could feel my face getting hot and the pounding of my heart in my chest when I discovered a zero balance in my checking account. My pulse raced faster and my chest tightened as I discovered that I was charged twice for the MacBook Pro I purchased.
The same MacBook I saved for years to pay for with cash via my debit card.
10 days before Christmas my bank took every penny out of my checking account and charged my linked Visa over $2,000 in overdraft protection.
The same Visa I diligently made payments on every month as I slowly chipped away my debt over the last few years.
I had stayed out of malls. I had stopped looking at email ads. I didn’t go out with friends as much. And the familiar, happy ding of the doorbell that signaled a package waiting for me like a warm, temporary hug became unfamiliar.
I did this for years until one day, I saw the balance of freedom. Zero debt.
I saved all my extra money from birthdays and Christmas and a settlement from a car accident to pay cash for this laptop.
It was the biggest purchase I’d ever made. And It felt so good not to charge a dime of it.
I’ve learned my lesson about debt.
It creeps up on you if you’re not careful. It stacks and stacks until it’s a mountain that feels too hard to climb. And it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to pay off.
I vowed never again to charge my card to where I couldn’t pay it off.
And I wanted that freedom more than anything I could ever buy.
Now suddenly, the heavy burden of debt was back. But this time it was undeserved.
I called my credit card company. I was put on hold for hours and hours talking to someone who would transfer me to someone else as I rehashed my situation over and over again.
I filed a claim.
I called Apple. I was transferred and put on hold for hours.
When I finally made contact with a supervisor from my bank and a supervisor from Apple it became apparent to me that neither company would accept responsibility.
The bank thought it was Apple’s fault.
Apple thought it was the bank’s fault.
And I just didn’t know.
All I did know was that there was a possibility that if Apple didn’t reverse the charge, I would end up paying for a second MacBook I never purchased and would never receive.
I felt broken. Weighted down by a debt I didn’t owe.
Pulled down by the unfairness of it all.
There’s something about being in lost moments that helps you find your way to understanding what’s really important and what really matters in life.
And the more I thought about it, the more that what really mattered in life became alive in my heart.
I just wanted to hug my children.
Money didn’t matter. The mad rush of gift buying didn’t matter.
My heart broke for the poor like never before.
My problems that seemed so huge to me, I knew were trivial in the light of what other people were facing in life, like the beautiful young mom on FB who just died from cancer a few weeks before Christmas.
But what really broke me, what really sat heavy upon my heart was the realization of what it must have been like for Jesus to pay a debt He didn’t owe.
Jesus took upon himself the debt of all my sin even though He lived a perfect life.
Even though he had no debt, he took mine. A debt that cost Him not some measly 2 grand, but His life. And not just his life, but the full weight of complete separation from His father in Heaven—compounded for all of mankind.
I felt like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.
I began to understand the sacrifice Jesus made for me in a way that made me understand the true cost of my sin.
The heaviness of my transgressions became as real as the heaviness of my debt. I felt it. I wept for it. I saw it.
I will never understand the full weight of his sacrifice, but felt a fraction of it in a fresh, new way.