I have been challenged so much recently in the area of FAITH. It shouldn’t be surprising, as scripture tells us that our faith is of more value than gold. And the direct correlation of faith is Who we believe and what we stand on when the winds and storms come against us.
I’m learning to see tests of faith as wonderful opportunities (even if at the onset, the circumstances don’t seem so wonderful) for God to deepen my understanding and resolve in Him, and to refine those places that don’t quite trust fully.
Recently, I was challenged deeply – again – to trust Him, even when I had made the mistake. See, I had written an update email to let people know how preparations were going with my trip to Tanzania. I had also let people know that I was still in need of $2,000. Well, I thought that letter alone was my “faith challenge”, but in all actuality, it got a little larger. See, I had actually miscalculated – which is why I am never trusted with a calculator at dinner when it comes to tipping the waiter. Bad things have happened! I actually still needed $3000 for my trip! Feeling a bit overwhelmed and deflated, I did what I only knew to do, and that was to go to the Lord in that moment of deep despair and anxiousness, and implore Him…again *sigh*. If $2,000 felt like a hurdle, then $3,000 felt like Kilimanjaro! Even still, God was so sweet and brought comfort through His Word. Also, when I remembered that He was not thrown off by my miscalculations, all of a sudden peace flooded my heart. He already knew I was off on my calculations when I sent that update email! So, humbly I came (again) just asking my Father to multiply resources – even more so now – and while I was at it in my “faith zone”, I asked Him to bring in the mis-calculated portion by the end of the week. Why not?! I can at least ask, right? Finally, I came to the end of Shelly, realizing that not even another email stating my mistake would bring the money in, but rather that my God would instead do what He does best – PROVE faithful.
As I prayed, the Lord also impressed on my heart that these faith-challenges were just the beginning. He spoke to my heart that by FAITH we will walk into darkness proclaiming the Light of the World. It will be by faith that the sick will be healed, the dead spiritually will be raised to new life and the things that are NOT (yet) in Africa MUST BE ascertained as though they already are. So, in my heart, I received this as training for what is to come.
Let me get to the GOD-AWESOMENESS part!!! I prayed that prayer on Monday January 10th. On Saturday, January 15th I got a call from a friend who’s dad is a pastor. The Lord had laid on her dad’s heart that they were to send their monthly missions support to me! WOW – all the way in another state, God put a burden on someone’s heart. Then she said, “Shelly, you need to know this…it’s $750.” You would have thought I won the lottery (haha!) I was floored and just shouting out praises to God while my friend laughed on the other line. God is GOOD.
…but it gets better! On Sunday the 16th, a friend said in passing, “Oh Shelly, I need to give you a check for your trip.” She wrote it out then and there and handed it to me. I thanked her and put it in my coat pocket. Later that evening, I was pulling my keys out of my coat to get into my apartment and felt the check. “Der Shelly! You don’t want to lose this!” As I pulled it out, it was a check for….how much do you think….$250 smackaroos!!
So, here is the math: $750 + $250 = $1,000 by Sunday night. I had asked the Lord that He’d bring in $1,000 in a week and I was baffled that He actually did it!!!!!!! What I miscalculated, God in His sovereign goodness multiplied, like He did the loaves and fish, and like He’s done on MANY occasions.
HALLELUJAH!!! JEHOVAH JIREH!
Lastly, I just want to leave my thoughts on FAITH, the greatest frontier ; ) that I journaled recently:
Do i believe at the core that God is faithful – in the unseen. FAITH is taking hold of something “not yet” and holding onto it until it materializes. God works best when the odds are stacked against us, because we must render ourselves useless, our schemes as short-comings and our loftiest attempts to try and understand as at best, futile! We are not anxious though, for anxiety is distrust. We don’t beat our breasts as though we speak to a deaf God. No and all NO. And what I’m learning too is sometimes I desire God to “pull through” in a sense so that I will be substantiated or that I will not look like a fool. If that’s my utmost reason to rely on God, I’ve missed it all. FAITH proves GOD, not me because I come to the end of all reasoning/manipulations (which the Bible states against: “How small is your faith!”) and lean solely on Jesus. Come to the end of Shelly and it’s the beautiful exchange of Christ living through me and moving around me.
I pray this is an encouragement to us all as God so rightly challenges our Faith so that He can be proved in the deepest places of our souls. Then our souls will declare who He is: GOD- matchless and awesome. All He asks of us is to render our attempts useless and come unto Him with petitions, thanksgiving (beforehand) and to trust Him.
Our God is SO faithful – I’m learning this more and more and I’d love to hear a story of His faithfulness to you.