Last Friday one of my supervisors informed me that I would have to have all my funds (I had still to raise $1200) in by the Monday after Easter, or I wouldn't be able to go. I couldn't believe it! What was going on? I had felt so strongly that God wanted me on this trip. He had been directing me, opening doors for me, and now this? How was I supposed to raise $1200 in one weekend? I looked at my supervisor with what I hope was a calm, serene, and indifferent stare, but I was really screaming inside. He just smiled at me and assured me that he wasn't worried so I shouldn't be either. God would provide because God was in this. Crazy man! Of course I was worried!
I started off my weekend wondering how I was going to cope this summer, having to change my plans, start afresh, adjust my thinking towards not going on this trip that I had prepared for all semester. My friends assured me and said they were praying for me, I sent out letters to my supporters, and my family asking for their prayers, I was praying too. Really though, I don't know if I truly believed God would come through. In my mind this was God shutting the door. I had to brace myself for Him to put a halt to it all.
It's funny though, I felt closer to God over this weekend then I have in a long awhile. That kind of happens when you're literally helpless on your knees before Him, knowing that He is the only one who can change the situation you're in. Also being in such close communion with Him was a factor. I felt like all day Saturday I was stopping to pray, not just about the trip but about other things too. I've always been lax in my prayer life and it was a good reminder of how rewarding prayer can be.
I was talking to my Mom later this week and she reminded me that trusting God is something that I've always struggled with. I had to think about that for a moment because she is so right. When things don't go the way I plan I freak out about it. God's plan's are never in mine. Instead I try and make my plans God's. Trusting God is difficult because it means rendering control over to Him, control that I would much rather have myself. Sometimes I need weekends like this to remind me that I'm not controlling this trip, God is. He will give me the resources, the strength and the ability to do it, it is HE that supplies these things.
I come to Sunday to find that $900 had been sent to my account from supporters with promise of more on the way. I literally cried! God had been so good! I went skipping off to find Easter eggs in a hysterical exuberance, my mind on His great provision. Why do I so often doubt the goodness and care of my Lord. He has never failed me before so why would I doubt Him? Yesterday I went to check my account again and I find that my entire bill is paid for with $90 left over! Again why do I doubt my God? Why did I think that $1200 dollars was such a stretch for the one who hung the stars? Turns out I'm the crazy one!
I came across this verse the other day which really tied all this together for me;
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:6-7)
I've come across this verse before and I always think about the first half of the verse which talks about not worrying and instead coming to God with our prayers and concerns. But I started to wonder about the latter half where it talks about the peace of God. What does that mean the "peace of God"? In Christian circles we talk about peace as this feeling that comes over us when making hard decisions "I had peace about it". But what if the peace of God means something more? The next sentence talks about this peace guarding our hearts and minds in Christ. I've been learning lately that for the Christian, the gospel means more than just salvation, but it the foundation for every change, growth and experience within our lives and walk. The peace of God is the assurance of our position and our standing with God. It is the gospel. That is why it is so important to pray, and to trust God with out requests; because it keeps us from doubting our salvation, and who we are in Christ. When God answers our prayers it should cause us to mediate on the gospel. That's what Easter is all about right!