I guarantee there are some people who will see the title of this blog post and wonder whether or not I am a heretic. Well, hopefully this blog post will clear that conundrum up for some of you.
As some of you may know, I am in the process of raising support to be a missionary through Great Commission Ministries on the Kent State University campus at h2o church. The process for me began about three weeks ago when I got back from Orlando for new staff training. The process has been an emotionally and spiritually (sometimes physically) trying one. I prayed at the beginning of this process (about a month ago) that God would help me to make this about Him and not about me. I prayed that he would expose things in my life that I needed to submit to Him and trust Him with. I can now tell you with full assurance that he has begun to answer these. Truly…
There are tons of things that God is bringing to my attention that He wants to change about me. He is no doubt drawing me into a greater and deeper intimacy with Him. For those of you who get jacked by hearing about how close someone is to reaching their financial goal, right now I am actually at about 25% of my monthly goal. It is indeed amazing and there are many times that I forget how incredible that is. This reality can only be attributed to a God who cares for the needs of His people and provides in miraculous and in the most winsome of ways. All of this is undoubtedly true, but there is indeed something that I have been wrestling with all the while. I have struggled with the reality that it is possible that by the end of this summer I may not have met my goal. What I mean is that it is possible that God could not provide my need by the end of this summer.
So, give me a chance before you start getting out your bible to show me Matthew 7:7-11 or Ephesians 3:20-21 to prove that I am indeed a heretic. It may seem strange that this has been a struggle point for me since God has provided graciously thus far, but I am continually finding it necessary to be dealt with. My question is this: how do we reconcile (is it even possible?) seeing God as Father and He who “gives every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) with the fact that God could not always provide what we need (or what we think we need)? This is the main question but there are some sub-questions that echo in my mind often like, “What if God wants to provide something different than monetary support?”, or “Is the provision of Gods one and only son enough for me even if God doesn’t provide in any other way?”. I have yet to find any one answer for these questions.
Look at the apostle Paul. Here is a man who understood the provision of God yet if you take a look at 2 Corinthians 11 it might be difficult to understand how Paul was able to trust Gods provision. Paul went through a ton of crap (evidenced in 2 Corinthians 11) in his life yet he says that he would boast in those miserable experiences and that Gods power was made perfect in his weaknesses. Paul was proclaiming the lack of control he had over his life and was even boasting over it! I think it is safe to say that Gods provision does not always present itself as we like to think.
We need to be honest and acknowledge that trusting God is risky. When you begin to trust God with all that you are and all that you have you enter into a world unknown. The reality is that I know that God CAN provide but whether he WILL provide is a different story. That is the tension that I feel like I am living in and it is possibly a tension we all need to live in when trusting God. I don’t know, perhaps I am wrong in all of this. I war against the all to often token Christian answers to Gods provision because to be frank I think they are often rooted in an American prosperity gospel rather than the biblical gospel. God doesn’t just provide us with a Ferrari or a girlfriend simply because we want one. God cares for us too much to merely provide us with what we think we need. He knows what we need and we often take a stab at what we think we need, but we are just too short-sighted to see how God sees. I think he does want to “do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”, but we need to rest in the fact that that is going to look so much different than what we are dreaming it up to be.
So, I would love to hear thoughts on this, because I do not have the full-proof theology on this matter. Any comments welcome, even if you are to disagree. This is my life right now, and I would love to be in conversation about this with those who choose to do so.