Raising our team of ministry and financial partners has been such an eye-opening experience for us. We initially viewed it as a means to the end: “We must do this in order to get access to our goal, which is our calling to go Papua New Guinea.” However, throughout the highs, the lows, the amazing surprises and the dashed expectations God has begun weaving together a beautiful lesson for our hearts.
Support raising is not something to get through. It is a process that God has ordained to prepare our hearts and give us the necessary time to come to an end to ourselves, so that we are ready and able to serve Him in our best capacity. Support raising brings people around us who are faithfully praying for us, our children and our ministry, which is a beautiful defense against the arrows of the enemy
Throughout this process, challenging as it may be, the Lord has revealed that He is working out something in our lives and hearts to get us ready and prepared for the ministry ahead of us.
Throughout the Bible, you see countless examples of individuals whom God has called to wait.
- Noah had to wait for years for the floodwaters to begin while being ridiculed by every person he had ever known.
- Abraham and Sarah had to wait until their old age to meet their promised son.
- Joseph went through significant hardship, rejection, false accusation and was lowered to the lowliest station before God, years later, placed him in his ordained place of service.
- Moses was in the wilderness tending sheep for 40 years before God called him back to Egypt to lead his people out.
- David had to live in caves and be in hiding for 15 years from the time of his anointing until he could assume the throne.
- Simeon waited his entire life to see the prophecy he had been given fulfilled through Jesus.
- Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor before he reached the age of 30 and was able to begin his earthly ministry.
- Paul matured as a Christian for 3 years after his Damascus road conversion, before he was used mightily by the Lord for spreading the gospel.
For us, and for me specifically (Jen), the Lord has slowly and gently been reminding me that no matter how hard we strive, no matter how good our presentations are, or how well we ask people to be our partners,no matter what we bring to the table as a pilot and nurse combo or how resilient our kids are, it is only the Lord who will determine the timing of when we get to go.
It is so easy to get caught up in pride and feel like somehow, I have something to offer God. As if God actually needed little old me to serve in the jungle of PNG. But God is so gracious in using us to further His kingdom in spite of us! He certainly doesn’t NEED us to bring about His kingdom.
In a recent devotion that we read by Allister Begg we were reminded that “God will not enable the man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by such means has reckoned wrongly, for ‘not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’”.
God first has to empty us completely of ourselves – all our pride, all our self-importance, all our striving – before he can fill us with His spirit and empower us for the ministry he has set before us. In our own strength we will fail, but when God fills us and God goes before us, who can stand against us?
So my prayer today isn’t, “God please help us get to PNG quicker,” it is, “God please empty me of myself. Please fill me with yourself and equip me for this amazing life-giving ministry in Papua New Guinea. Keep me on my knees in humility with eyes lifted to heaven recognizing that only you are our sovereign and provider God.”
Now I must add, this doesn’t negate the part where we make an effort. We continue to work hard at building our team, but we recognize that the timing, the resources, and the outcome rests solely on our Heavenly Father.