Friday, November 13, 2009

Where the Rubber Meets the Road in the Life of Faith

It is truly an amazing experience to be a faith-supported missionary. (For those that don’t know, a faith-supported missionary is someone who must raise financial support to be in ministry. For Leslie and I, we raise 100% of what it costs to employ us with Campus Crusade for Christ.) Everyone must live the life of faith. There are times in the life of each believer that it is much more obvious than other times that faith is necessary. The process that Leslie and I have been going through is what I have termed “Where the rubber meets the road in the life of faith.”

Over the last 13 weeks, Leslie and I have had two different goals that we needed to see God’s financial provision in order to remain in ministry. We actually have just begun another goal and will probably have one more following that for us to reach 100% of what we need (each of which if we don’t meet, we will need to leave our present ministry). I say that only to let you know that we are still in process and in the midst of having to trust God.

Our first goal was for 6 weeks and we saw God provide a large portion of what we needed in the first couple of weeks. Then things seemed to slow to a halt. We would make phone call after phone call to people familiar with our ministry and not see any results. As we got closer and closer to our deadline, we knew God could provide, but would He. Our goal was met a few days before our deadline and we were able to be at peace.

This last goal, however was for 7 weeks and with only two weeks left, we still had more than half of our goal to go. To be honest, the stress between Leslie and I grew with each day. We saw God provide almost a third of what was left, then nothing. We entered into our final few days this week with $200 in monthly support to still raise for our deadline at 1:30 PM this afternoon. At one point, I turned to Leslie and said, “Even if we make our goal on Friday, I’m not sure I can take another goal.” The stress of living with if it is God’s desire for us to continue on in ministry or not was wearing upon me.

The problem with what I was thinking was that I wanted to short circuit God’s plan. I wanted to have Him take away the hard things in life. I wanted God to provide so that I could live at peace. The problem with that is that God never promised he would remove the hard times to give me peace. He says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

By the very fact that He mentions not being troubled or fearful, it implies He isn’t removing the situations that might be troubling or causing fear.

Last night, we confirmed a total amount that left us just $8 short of our goal for this afternoon. We spent time calling, e-mailing, and facebooking people trying to come up with this $8 a month. At one point, I got a commitment from a person that said “If you don’t have it by tomorrow afternoon, let me know and I’ll do it for you.”

I felt comforted by the fact that there was a safety net in a sense. I e-mailed that person just prior to noon to let them know that we hadn’t reached anyone who was willing to give and were they still willing.

But then, as only God can do, we received a message that someone on our current financial support team was having to discontinue their support. Then within minutes, we had another e-mail from someone saying that they would join our team. This person's gift was enough to make up the amount that was lost and the remaining $8 we needed to meet our goal.

In that moment, I was ashamed of my unbelief. It was a tangible action that showed I didn’t believe that God would provide. His provision came just 80 minutes before our deadline. And yet, it was perfect timing.

The process of raising support has in a sense been a pressure cooker for us. There are things that come out in our relationship that we need to work on. The very things that made me want to just walk away. However, as a wise counselor shared with us, our support raising process is just the mechanism that God is using to bring these things out in our lives. The issues are still there with or without raising support.

Praise God that He is sovereign and doesn’t let me control my own path. I would take the shortcut every time. But the shortcut is not always for my benefit. I thank God that He desires to see me refined in ways that I can’t even imagine — and that He has a plan that goes beyond anything I know today.

1 comment:

Dana said...

God has a way of making us live out our message... "walking by faith, loving by faith in rich and in poor." sigh. Grateful with you for each miraculous provision and continue to pray for the Prince of Peace Himself to escort you every step of the way.