I’ve thought for awhile about how to tell this story. Because I want to be clear about what it is not.
This is not some prosperity BS. This is not about me being #blessed. It actually has very little to do with me in the first place.
This is not a story about comfort.
This is not a story about “easy ways” or shortcuts.
It’s not a story about money and numbers.
Because I’m not hyper-spiritual.
I’m not deserving.
I’m not even talking about the measure of my faith here.
When I tell this story in daylight, and I talk about how I’m doing my best to walk out a radical, counter-intuitive faith in Jesus, it’s because I’ve probably spent the night on the ground, in tears, having Jesus wrestle that out of me. You hear the trust; He gets the “I don’t want to trust you, this is too hard” tantrum. There’s plenty of my flesh and my need for control to go around. Believe me, I don’t have some ultra-spectacular faith here. I’m pretty dang ordinary.
This is a story about why trusting Jesus is worth it.
I think that God is looking for people to take a step off the ledge of conventionality and say that they’re all in, even though it means dying to their security, comfort, and control in the process. Not because we always get answers or resolution, but because He gets the glory and it’s for our ultimate good.
People straight up told me that I was crazy for moving to Chicago and going to Wheaton. Not only is in-state tuition free for Georgia residents, I’d also gotten a full-ride scholarship to another Christian school. Instead, I was what? About to turn that down to take out student loans? After God had clearly called me to work overseas? I’d never even heard of Wheaton until my Junior year of highschool and I never visited; it’s not like this was some big, lifelong dream.
This was Jesus, asking me to trust Him. Asking if He could demonstrate His love and faithfulness through me. Uh, sure?
A calling to Wheaton College and a calling overseas felt pretty mutually exclusive back then. It’s when things feel impossible that Jesus gets the glory for making them happen.
I left for Wheaton, a school that I had no connections to, with the prayer: “Jesus, I trust you, but you’re going to have to come through here. I’ll give you literally everything, but you’re going to have to be faithful because this is low-key terrifying and people think I’m nuts.” (As if He could be anything but faithful.) I had more peace about making a decision that made zero conventional sense than anything else I’d ever done or prayed about.
I renewed that prayer every time the FAFSA came around and I watched my loans pile up. I’m being obedient here, right Jesus? You’re faithful and trustworthy; Jehovah Jireh comes through…right?
The Lord kept putting missions on my heart, and despite all the unknowns, I choose trust. At least, I tried. Most of the time.
I left for Candidate Orientation, with Greater Europe Mission, in March, with that same prayer. I’d been waiting for answers about a missions scholarship, that some incredible people had set up at Wheaton; it would pay back my loans so that they wouldn’t be a barrier to the mission field. It seemed like the very provision that I’d been praying for. And I was supposed to have answers before I left. I figured that I would know whether or not the provision was going to happen before going to a week-long training, where I’d be commissioned as a GEM missionary. That wasn’t something that I wanted to do before knowing if my loans were going to be a barrier.
But the process was delayed and I didn’t have answers.
Because I’m human, I was ready to find a plan B. What if I didn’t get the scholarship – the scholarship that other, more qualified and talented people had applied for? It didn’t feel smart or practical to invest money, time, and emotion into doing this if, arguably the largest barrier (besides maybe raising support) was still an unknown.
But every time I asked the Lord, He was clear: “I told you, I got this. This is my story. Trust me.” Okayyy.
Do you get on the plane without answers, clinging to what the Lord has said after seeking Him in prayer and fasting? Or what? When it comes to trusting Jesus, I feel like I don’t really have a good alternative. Or don’t trust, live safely, and never get to see God move Heaven on behalf of His people?
I asked for that same peace that I had when deciding on Wheaton. I wasn’t about to go into a week of radically trusting Jesus and explaining a very crazy story to strangers without the peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Like before, He gave it.
So I got on the plane.
It was at the end of the GEM training, the start of our fundraising prep, when I got the email about my loans. They would be paid for. Not only that, Jesus had shown up in a big way for the members of the board. It couldn’t have been more providential, on all sides. The people at GEM knew the story. They knew that I was only there on faith and that, if Jesus didn’t come through, I didn’t have a backup plan. The other candidates and I were also looking at our support schedules and wondering if Jesus could provide for the high dollar amounts we were looking at. Just like that, one email became the culmination of 5 years of faith, prayers, tears, and growth and an encouragement to people that I’d just met.
It made one thing clear: Jesus will. Because He does. Because He just did.
It doesn’t mean there’s always answers. It doesn’t mean it’s easy easy. It’s usually really freaking hard. Because sometimes the healing doesn’t come; sometimes the provision doesn’t make sense. But, no matter what, He is trustworthy.
We can’t see Jesus move unless we need Him to.
For as much as the provision has strengthened my faith, my faith was never dependent on a scholarship. Daniel 3:18, you know? I wrote about our faith foundations the morning before I found out that the scholarship process had been delayed. The Lord was working on my faith, hours before I’d have to decide about going to GEM without answers.
He’s got my praise, whether or not that always feels warranted. Believe me, there are times it doesn’t feel like what I want. But it’s about molding my wants to His and trusting His sovereignty when I can’t quite get them to align. Because I can’t get past the fact that He hung on a cross for my sins and chooses to love, care, and provide for me, despite my issues and unfaithfulness.
This isn’t about doing foolish things for the sake of foolishness; it’s about things that conventionality says are foolish, because Jesus says to. Which means we’ve got to learn to listen, set our own wants aside, ask Him, wrestle with our flesh, seek wise counsel, fast, pray, and ultimately jump. We’ve got to let go of all the security, control, comfort, and sensibility that we pad our lives with. Otherwise, we aren’t going to see Him move because we won’t ever need Him to.
I need to need Him.
If you hear anything from this story, hear this: HE IS WORTH IT. I’m not saying you have to move 11 hours away to a college you’ve never heard of and can’t pay for. I’m not saying you have to get on a plane that, if things outside of your control don’t happen, would be a gut-wrenching waste. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe don’t do either of those things; they sound kind of crazy (haha). But honestly, Jesus probably isn’t calling you to do those specific things (or maybe He is, idk). I do know, though, that He’s calling you to something that feels bigger, crazier, and more “um, are you sure?” than you’re maybe willing to believe.
So, what is that? And are you willing trust Him?
Because stepping into obedience and jumping off the ledge means that it’ll be pretty darn amazing when Jesus shows up.
Because He just did. And with each person that joins my support team – He keeps doing it.
Even on the days it’s hard, He is so worth it.