Walking by faith has taken on new meaning for me this year.
I feel much less secure than ever, and more uncertain about our future. At the same time, I’m learning more about relying on God and the joy of seeing God work in unexpected ways.
For example, I’ve had incredibly powerful experiences of ministry in Myanmar, France and Princeton over the past six months—the most fruitful of my 25 year career. Yet, at the same time, at the end of June, Faith, Hope and Love Global Ministries was just about out of money.
Financially, our backs were (are) against the wall. I knew this day was coming, yet our extensive travel requirements gave us little or no opportunity to address our fundraising needs.
Now my faith is being tested. Will we shrink back from the vision out of fear? Or will we press on, trusting the calling to keep developing our global ministry to pastors and leaders? I know I want to cross the line from fear to faith, on one end of the spectrum, but where is the line dividing faith and foolishness on the other end? (Fear–>>Faith—?—Foolishness)
Each of us needs to answer these questions for ourselves, based on our own unique circumstances. In general, what I’m learning is that Christians are often called to walk on the edge of faith and sight. We may be able to see the vision of our calling, but, if our vision is big enough, we often cannot see all of the provision. Faith adds the word, “yet,” to the previous sentence. We cannot see God’s provision yet. Nevertheless, we still believe it is coming, and act accordingly.
Practically, walking by faith in times when money is tight or the future is uncertain often includes the following ten action steps:
1. Stay committed to the vision. Don’t quit or slack off.
2. Face reality, make needed changes, and do what needs to be done.
3. Stay focused on what matters the most, and set daily priorities accordingly.
4. Stay committed to the major initiatives that support your vision, and put off or eliminate less important goals and activities.
5. Beware of yielding to temptation that would dissipate your energy or undermine your credibility or effectiveness.
6. Believe in your calling, believe in yourself, and believe that God’s work cannot be thwarted when you faithfully walk by faith.
7. Surround yourself with the right kind of friends who share your interests, priorities and faith.
8. Notice what God has already done and is doing, and stay grateful.
9. Expect God’s faithfulness to exceed yours.
10. Let go of anxiety over what you cannot control—which only adds stress to your life. Instead, pray and focus on what you can do.
To walk by faith, then, actually means something in concrete terms. We must put one foot in front of the other along the path we believe God has marked out for us, trusting God to provide, without knowing how and when God will do so.
A week ago, Thursday, as I was preparing to tell our Board members that we were almost broke, one of our major donors unexpectedly offered to give his annual contribution early, plus an extra $1000 to cover an unexpected expense coming up. Then, on Monday, a potential major funder wrote to say that after reviewing our website that he would be eager to discuss “the very important work” that we are doing. On Wednesday, someone volunteered to upgrade our websites for free, and another major donor told me that he wanted to give again this year.
We still don’t have enough money to meet payroll in July, let alone cover all our costs for the Chartres Contemplative Pilgrimage in October, or fund the Rwandan Pastors Leadership Conference we’re leading in November. Nevertheless, God is allowing me to see once again that he will not abandon the mission or me.
At times, faith leads to sight—just enough to believe that the needed resources will given to fulfill the work we have been given to do. Just enough to keep us going, trusting, and walking by faith.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8, NIV)
I wonder where this journey of faith is going to lead, and how God is going to provide in the coming months for us…and for you.