It was about this time last year that I was going for a walk around Stanley Lake on a beautiful crisp Colorado fall day. I was talking to God about my desire to return to South Africa. I remember telling God that I would love to return to South Africa, but it would take a miracle. I told Him that if he wants this to happen that He would have to make it happen. It would have to fall in my lap.
After all the effort that it took for us to raise support and move to SA the first time, I knew that I did not want to go through that process again. I was determined that I wasn’t going to put my family through the stress and anxiety of traveling around the country for a year raising support. I have many missionary friends right now who are struggling immensely to raise support in this economic recession. In my mind it was literally impossible to begin raising support.
It might sound lazy or arrogant, but I was honestly very determined that I wasn’t going to force this to happen. If God wanted us to move back, then He would have to make it happen.
Well, that’s exactly what He did. Last February after a trip to South Africa my pastors at Red Rocks Church told me that they wanted to send my family to South Africa. That was immediately followed by a few people in our church that wanted to put on a fundraiser to help with our relocating expenses. We were asked to come up with a dream budget of what it would take to relocate. Now, after 6 months of very hard work the gala committee has pulled off a phenomenal event, exceeding our wildest expectations.
I can’t help but laugh as I look back over the last year. I’ve come from telling God that He will have to pull off a miracle, to sitting here preparing to move my family to Africa again. The resources have literally fallen in my lap. It is truly unbelievable.
What is so refreshing about this is that I have no doubt that this is truly a miracle. I have no doubt that this is God’s will for us to move back after seeing what He has accomplished with a few obedient people.
When we were making the decision to move back I had a list of reasons why we shouldn’t move back, almost trying to talk myself out of it for fear of making a decision out of emotion. Well, knowing that God’s hand is so clearly in it takes all that pressure and self-doubt out of it as we know that we are following His leading.
Today in church Pastor Shawn was talking about doubting Thomas. It was a great message, and part of it really resounded with me:
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
I feel like Thomas telling God that He was going to have to prove to me that this was the right move. Now He has proven it to me in a way that is undeniable. It’s like God is telling me, “Stop doubting and believe.”
And my response is the same as Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
I know that we have many difficult years ahead of us in South Africa. I know that we will be faced with insurmountable odds, and much heartache. I believe that God has allowed us this time of His grace and favor so that when we face those difficult times we can stand strong knowing with confidence that God has brought us to South Africa for a purpose. As difficult as the future may be, we can know without any doubt that it’s God’s will.
Shawn talked about how historians believe that Thomas went on to be a missionary in India, and eventually lost his life as a martyr. I hope that our life doesn’t follow the same path, but I trust that we will have the same boldness and confidence in our “Lord and God” that we can face whatever the future holds.
Thank you, God, for this gift.