A couple weeks into the New Year often brings many of us to a time of reflection about the previous year. We have also spent time thinking about what is going to happen in 2o12. As I have reflected on the past year, I continue to be reminded of how God worked in my life. During the past week I couldn’t help but reflect on how God PROVIDED in 2011. The message that Christine Meggison shared with us at Re:vive on Thursday night focused on the Bible reading from Genesis 22. In this reading we find that God was testing Abraham’s Faith as He commanded Him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham remained obedient up until the last moment, when an angel of the Lord asked him to stop. The angel pointed out that there was a ram caught in the thicket that the Lord had provided for him to sacrifice in place of Isaac. In scripture it reads, “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh”, which means “the Lord will provide.”
We completed week two of the Year of the Bible track at Lutheran Church of Hope, where we are providing daily readings and weekly messages related to the scriptures we are reading. Because Re:vive meets on Thursday nights it was a bit ahead of the readings that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday of this past week(http://www.hopewdm.org/Bible_Readings_1_2012.htm). As a result I read the scripture, that Christine had preached about, again on Friday and was reminded of God’s provisions, especially as it related to Abraham’s story. There is no doubt that scripture speaks truth into my life and the lives of those around me. I am fortunate to have a group of other young men who started a study last week that will take us through the Year of the Bible Message and Daily Bible Reading track, opening opportunity for discussion and accountability around that which we are reading. The challenge continues, and as Pastor Mike Housholder shared in his message yesterday evening…Will we live our lives as though God Will Provide?!
In 2011 I was faced with this challenge in more than one way. The first experience that I had faced related to following that which God was calling me too. I had spent some time in early 2011 discerning what exactly God had in mind for my life. I wanted to obey His calling, thus I had to get serious about listening to where He was leading me. This took plenty of patience, but then as the call came, I was ready to move. I learned during the early part of 2011 that I was in a place where God wanted me to work with youth in a capacity that would help them develop a solid foundation from which to live their life. Because of the impact I wanted to have on the lives of the younger generations, I knew I was to step into a full-time role teaching, coaching, counseling or ministering. It was after spending a week on a Spring Break trip with the Valley Church Student Ministry group that helped me gain more clarity that Ministry was a route that I wanted to seriously consider. I was asked by my good friend, Jon Kalvig, to join he and Christina in ministry at Valley Church for the summer. There I was at the age of 29, insecure with my finances and faced with a decision that would bring long-term uncertainty. I now know this is how God was testing me, like He had tested Abraham. I was unsure of what would happen after the internship ended in August, but what I knew is that I was ready to be obedient to that which God was calling me to0.
In many regards this move didn’t make a lot of sense, but what I learned in the process is that it was between God and I as to what He was calling me to do. As I took the leap from the Financial industry to Ministry, I trusted in God’s promise of provision. It was towards the end of May, the end of my 1st month in the internship, when I began having conversations with Pastor Scott Rains at Lutheran Church of Hope – Ankeny and leadership from Meals from the Heartland. Talk about God providing, I was in communication with two organizations for which I had much passion and connection. Even though nothing was set in stone, these conversations were the affirmation needed and that which I had prayed about. I was at peace with the decision that I had made and I was excited to see where God would lead me. By the end of June God had provided in a way that I could’ve never imagined, as I was faced with making a decision…to be the Children and Student Ministries Director at Lutheran Church of Hope – Ankeny or the Director of Operations for Meals from the Heartland?
We all know what I decided, but what I learned throughout this process is that He provides in many ways. Not only as it related to my vocation, but also financially. As I had set out in my internship I knew that it would be tight over the summer and that I would have to raise some support. I sent out financial support letters in which I asked family and friends to support my ministry assignment for the summer. In response to these letters I raised enough financially to help me through the month of July. Well isn’t it interesting that I would be starting on August 1st at Lutheran Church of Hope – Ankeny. My financial concerns that could have easily kept me from deciding to make this change, were no longer an issue, because God provides!
He continues to provide, in many ways! I find myself in a place of reflection that also empowers me to continue on in 2012 knowing He will provide. The truth is His provision is a promise, and He provides all of our needs. Will we live in fear of not having what we want? Or will we live in obedience as though God will provide that which He wants for us? I choose the latter…whatever challenge you may be facing, please know that God will provide! It may not be according to your plan, but patience and obedience will help you overcome the fear! It did for me in 2011! How will He provide beyond what we can imagine in 2012?