What I am Learning
I have been doing missions for nearly three years now, and I am finally on the ground full-time. Even though until now I have only been on the ground part time, preparation, raising support, and prayer has been full-time. God has provided so much and opened so many doors that cannot be explained by anything other than His divine purpose and plan. At times I have been frustrated, worried, and negative, yet His grace has never failed me. I am learning so much about God, people, and myself. The more and more I realize the greatness of my need for His help, the more and more I realize His faithfulness to be my help and meet all my needs according to His purposes.
I am learning that God’s provision will bring you through many things but sustain you through all things. He could at any moment make his provision painless and easy. But instead, he removes all idols, desires, and understanding of self-reliance and brings us to a position of rest and trust in Him. He does this making Himself all the more glorious as we learn He is our provider. He will finish all that he has begun in us, because what God initiates, God sustains. All of this will not be without suffering and hardships. However, suffering will bring more joy than in its absence and it is a sign that God is working in our lives. Suffering is sign of justification, a use for sanctification, and an assurance of glorification (Rm. 8:17-18; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Cor. 4:17-18). Suffering is a means to make us more like Him.
I have also learned that God’s provision is not given based on works, merit, needs or even an amount of faith. His provision is based upon His relationship with us as our Father. Our Father who knows our needs before we even asks them (Mt. 6:8). Our Father who does not give us a stone if we ask for bread, or if we ask for a fish will not give us a serpent (Mt. 7:9-10). Our Father who disciplines us because He loves us (Heb. 12:6). Our Father who says no to what we think we want (sinful desires) and gives us what we need (Jas. 4:2-3). Our Father who promises to finish the work he began in us (Phil. 1:6), and to be with us, never to leave us as we carry out the Great Commission (Mt. 28:20). He is our Father who gives every good and perfect gift and does not change in His goodness to us (Jas. 1:17). Our Father who is sovereign over our eternity, knows the hairs on our head, and values us (Mt. 10:26-33). Our Father “who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rm. 8:32). Our heavenly Father is more faithful than we have needs and/or faith. He will provide for us because He is our Father.
A child does not have to ask their parents to protect, provide, and care for them. The parents just do because it’s their child. A good parent doesn’t have to be told or asked to do those things; they just do because it is their child. It is the same with our heavenly Father. He is going to provide because He is our Father.
He Provides Because He is Our Father
Jesus often called into question the faith of the disciples. An example is when they were in the boat and a storm arose (Mt. 8:23-27). Jesus asked them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”. Immediately after Jesus said they had little faith, Jesus then “rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Mt 8:26). Despite their lack of faith Jesus still provided, protected, and cared for the disciples.
Again, in Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells his disciples not worry since He will provide for them. Jesus says, “will he (God, the Father) not much more clothe you, O you little faith?” (Mt. 6:30, emphasis mine). In the same phrase, Jesus says the Father will clothe them and that they have little faith. So God the Father is going to provide for them regardless of their little faith.
I am not saying faith is not needed. But what I am saying is this: our faith does not cause God’s faithfulness to grow; God’s faithfulness causes our faith to grow. We should absolutely pray and ask God for things, ask for His provision, and so on. The Bible commands us to do so and it is a part of being a child of God. We should do so knowing that He will gives us what we need to accomplish His will for our lives and to make Himself all the more glorious.
My Hope For You
My hope is that you will give the little you have to God and trust He is at work, and will provide and take care of you. God’s provision is not always going to be what we see, because he is providing in a way that completes the purpose He has for us in this life. Regardless, we can trust that eternally we are taken care of and provided for. And because of that, we can have joy in this present life of pain and suffering. We can know God is doing something beyond this life.
This is a bit of what I have been learning these past few years.