It’s funny how many of us live our lives claiming that we “don’t care what other people think.” To be painfully blunt, I think that’s the biggest bunch of bunk I’ve heard. I think that if we were all completely honest, most of us would say that it matters very much what others think of us…or am I the only one? And you may think to yourself: what does this have to do with faith? What, indeed? But, let me assure you that what other people think can have a great deal to do with your faith (or, in my case, lack of).
Faith. When’s the last time you had faith? I can tell you that for me, faith in some aspects comes rather easily. I have faith every morning that my alarm will indeed go off, waking me in time to get ready for work. I have faith that my car will start (ok, that one’s a bit of a stretch), that my key will unlock my office, that as I type, the letters will appear on my monitor. But in other aspects, faith is a little bit harder to find. And here’s where other people can influence you heavily. Have you ever had anyone laugh at your faith? I don’t mean laugh because you are a Christian. I mean laugh because you are trusting God to provide. I have. And let me tell you, it had massive repercussions on my walk with the Lord.
I was fifteen, and for the first time, I had met people who were truly passionate for the Lord. It was my church’s first “official” youth group, and the couple we hired to lead the youth group were the very embodiment of “on fire for God.” We decided to go to Mexico over spring break for our first missions trip. There was a group of about 20 going, and as the date drew near, our excitement level rose dramatically. We had spent hours and hours preparing for it, and I personally spent hours in prayer over our trip. There was not a doubt in anyone’s mind that God wanted us specifically on this trip.
When the day finally arrived, we were dismayed to find it snowing…a lot. The roads were getting icy, so the leadership team met with our pastor to decide whether the risk was worth taking. I sat in a chair nearby and waited for a decision, thinking that there was no way we’d pull out at this point. As they discussed the matter further, I was shocked to hear that they were actually thinking about canceling the trip. I knew without a doubt that God put this certain group together to go serve Him in Mexico. So, I decided to put my two cents in. “You know,” I said, “From the beginning, no one has ever questioned whether we were supposed to be on this trip or not. And if God wants us there, and I believe He does, He will get us there safely.” What happened next I will never forget. One of them turned to me and laughed. He said “Yeah, but He doesn’t want us to be stupid!” That one simple insensitivity completely rocked my world. I had been certain that we were called to go to Mexico…I didn’t see anything stupid about trusting God to perform the simple task of getting us 100 miles down the road until better driving conditions. Now that I am a youth leader, I can understand their initial dilemma, but still have trouble understanding the reaction that I received.
I have wished many times that I could go back in time to the point where I had faith “like a child.” To the time where I didn’t try to be logical, rather just trusted with blind, complete faith. But that time in my life was very short-lived as a result of one reaction. One reaction… Did we decide to cancel the trip? No. Did we make it safely? Sure—not one problem on the roads. You’d think that would be enough to ground my faith once again. But unfortunately, some of us have been blessed with great memories and sometimes, those memories serve us well, but in this case, were a massive hindrance to my Christian walk.
For years I struggled with the idea of trusting God. Oh, not on the outside; I was still the same “Where God guides, He provides,” type of person as far as my friends and family were concerned. But deep down I had a big problem with doubting God. We all do it. “Oh God, I know you’ll provide….but will you please make sure that it actually gets done?” It’s a mentality that I believe has stricken the Christian lifestyle. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God.” Have we forgotten that our God is the ultimate provider, the very Creator of all things? I will be the first to admit that I spent a very long time where I had completely forgotten that concept. It took a big slap in face for me to finally re-realize that simple Christian truth.
A few years ago, I found myself going on another missions trip, but this time to Asia. As I began to write my support letters and slowly prepare for the coming summer, that sense of doubt began to creep up on me. $4300 was a lot of money and, being a “poor college student,” I certainly didn’t have it. My parents were in full-time ministry so of course, they were no better off than I was. I started to question God and ask Him where on earth I would come up with that kind of money.
It was about a month before my support was due, and I was still a large portion short, so I went to talk to my mentor. She just looked at me and asked “Do you believe that God has called you on this trip?” I nodded and she responded, “Then you don’t have anything to worry about. Just spend time on your knees.’ That statement left me thinking, but I still had doubts and called my brother, who promptly told me, “I have no doubt in my mind that God wants you on this trip and if He has to drop a briefcase from the sky your support will come in.” I was dumbstruck. For the first time, there were people I respected that confirmed my faith, not laughed at it. With that confidence, I began to believe it myself and within the next week I watched my support jump up $1600. From that point on, it steadily increased and I actually had extra money which I was able to give to a teammate who was still a bit short.
You see, the God I know is Jehovah Jireh…my Provider. He has been able to teach me that lesson again and again. Do I still doubt? Absolutely; that’s part of being a human. But ultimately, my trust lies in the Maker of the Heavens. This summer, I have found myself once again called to the mission field. Again, $3800 is a *lot* of money. Although I am not a college student currently, I am working on saving up to finish a degree. So, is this a logical decision for me? That would be a definite “no.” I have had quite a few “blonde” moments (please excuse my terminology and take no offense)…but this is by far the “stupidest” thing I’ve done in a while. I’ve had many people tell me: “don’t you think you should be saving your money?” “Have you thought about getting a job?” But do you know what? I have no question in my mind that I am supposed to go, so I am making the choice to let God be…God and go forward in this with blind, “stupid” faith.
*Author's note: Please send any comments, etc to ThanksALatte@hotmail.com "Re Faithwriters" please, or post them on the message board. I can't afford the private messenger thing right now. Thanks!
This is an exposee - it exposes all of us with our own doubtsand how to let thingsbe and rely on God. The key as you have brought out quite clearly in your article, is having a word from God and acting on that specific word or instruction. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God."