Yesterday was a day of testing and prayer for me. In the morning on the train I was reading my Bible and I am in Exodus and Matthew. The mornings particular reading didn't strike me as anything too applicable, but it was good to take to heart either way. In the afternoon Luke and I got our first support summary from Janz Team letting us know what percentage we are at in our fund raising. I need to be completely honest, I was expecting and praying for it to be at 20% or higher. Even though we just started asking people to partner with us, I just had this expectation that God was going to bless the letters we've sent out and multiply our efforts to reach the hearts of all of you who might find a connection to this ministry we are embarking on. Another honest moment: I am EXHAUSTED! We have been running non stop going to our regular jobs during the day, seeking God in the morning and praying over every aspect of this journey, coming home at night to work on support letters or dessert nights, calling friends and family to stay in touch...etc. A part of me felt that surely God would bless all these 'efforts' and bring fruit. Well, we got our email update and we have $500 covered towards our start up costs (praise God for that!), but we are still at 0%. My heart sank and I have to admit that I went into doubting mode with God. I got on my train home and whipped out my journal to just confess to the Lord all these doubts that were running through my head, and plead with Him to show me what more we need to be doing. As I was writing all these thoughts to God, the stories I read in Exodus came to my mind and I opened my Bible to read them again.
"When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, "If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led them in a round about way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle."
Later on in the next chapter the Lord says, "I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am Lord!"
God spoke to me in that moment through his word about what He may be trying to do in our own lives through this fund raising experience. God performed miracle after miracle to get the Israelites freed from Egypt and to display to the Israelites & Egypt that He is Lord. Even after all those miracles, He still took the Israelites the round about way through the wilderness because He knew that if they saw harm coming their way they would turn back to Egypt. I feel like this parallels with what God is doing in my own heart through this journey He is taking us on. He has displayed his sovereignty and His miracles to us throughout this process. He has brought people to encourage us along the way when we needed it. If He had just given us the 20% or the 50% right away it would have been like Him taking us the "direct route through the Philistine territory". Yet instead, we are being taken on a wilderness detour which causes us to wait for more miracles to get us to the Promise Land. When we do get to Germany I believe that this time of faith and waiting for those miracles will plant in us a firm belief in our calling to be there when things get tough. If we had all our money provided for us in the blink of an eye we wouldn't get the opportunity to look back and say "see I know we are here because of what the Lord has done for us and NOT because of our own 'efforts', but because of His grace and mercy." So today, as I woke up I was renewed with a sense of expectancy to see the miracles of providence that I know are around the corner. I pray that this time will produce in me/us strength for the road ahead, character to become more like Jesus, and faith to trust our every steps to Him who has called us and WILL be faithful!
In His Grace- Steph