Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Faith is a Verb

If you had asked me whether or not I believed myself to be a person of faith, I would've said yes. Most emphatically and without any hesitation whatsoever. God has been showing me, however, that I'm not where I need to be with regard to faith. Many of you are unaware that we've been without a regular salary since the end of May. In fact, just this month we received a partial salary, the first in four months.

When we left the field the first part of June, our account had suddenly fallen into deficit. A large deficit. And, given our particular missionary status, we did not qualify to receive a reduced portion of our salary each month while our account remained in deficit, as career missionaries do. You can imagine the panic this threw us both in. Immediately, I started calculating the barest amount of money we'd need to survive on each month...and how we could earn it.

Did you note that last part? How we could earn it. God was trying to teach us a lesson in faith, how to blindly trust in Him for our every need. But I, in my stubbornness, continued to want to do things my way.

We thought we were doing well when, through a couple means, we were able to scrape together enough money to get through the summer. It also helped that we were staying with family, at OMS headquarters, and in a camp meeting where all of our expenses and physical needs were met. I have to admit that I continued to stress and plan and conspire. I cried upon the Lord, constantly asking Him to provide. But I still clung to my own stubbornness.

At the end of July, He even gave us a demonstration of what He wanted to do for us. During a random encounter at a grocery store, we ran into a couple we hadn't seen since before we left for Costa Rica. After spending a few minutes catching up, they handed us a check. Later, they called to say they had another check for us, doubling the total amount given! None of this was our own doing. Even the timing had God's hand upon it--we'd been delayed in reaching the store by dead battery on our car. If we'd arrived at the store when we'd planned to, we would've completely missed this encounter.

I'm sorry to say this was not enough to convince me that He was our ultimate provider. Throughout August and September, I continued to stress about the finances. Never mind the fact that our needs were met. Never mind that we had plenty of food to eat, gas for the car, and bills that were paid. Never mind that He kept providing opportunities to earn a little income--this is not something we've actively sought out during the last several months--or helped us find ways to stretch what we had. I still persisted in doing things my way.

Then, the beginning of October, I calculated what we'd need to live on for the month, calculating in extra things just in case. When the OMS prayer group met that first Friday, I asked them to pray that God would supply that amount ASAP. But I'm ashamed to say I didn't have much confidence that He'd actually do it. After all He'd done to prove to me He is faithful, I continued to doubt. That same Friday, on a whim, I checked our bank balance and discovered that a deposit had been made into our account that day.

It was for the full amount I'd calculated we'd need.....plus an extra $40.

I sat there and cried, completely overcome. Immediately, I confessed my doubt and turned it over to God. He had finally broken through my stubbornness and shown me that faith is not an adjective, not a noun. It is a verb, something that requires action. I have to put aside my doubt and fears and make the decision to trust in Him. To rely solely, completely upon Him. Even when circumstances are hard and seem impossible. Especially then. A huge burden rolled off my shoulders and I felt free in the knowledge that our finances were not mine to control. They are God's responsibility, not ours. Yes, He asks us to be good stewards of that which He provides, but that's the key--He provides. Not me. Not Troy.

Then, not two weeks later, we received notification that we'd been cleared to receive a partial salary for the next pay cycle. The amount? Double what we'd needed the month before. Before I could even think about the next month, God had already provided.

I can't tell you where our next check will come from and when. But God knows. And He's more than proven Himself capable of providing for our family's needs. All He asks of us is that we make the conscious decision--every day--to trust in Him.

If you told me earlier this year that this is something we would be facing, I would've freaked out. But now, despite the uncertainty that still remains, I can honestly say that I'm thankful for this hard thing in our lives. Because it was only by going through it that I was finally able to learn that faith is a verb.

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