God is Our Guide: As He Maps Out Your Support-Raising Journey

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Psalm 73:23-24

People have asked me, “How do you know that God called you to do _______?” I have to admit that I’ve wrestled with that question. We’ve had our share of difficulties over the years while on the support-raising journey; yet we seem to keep choosing ministries where we have to depend on God to supply our financial needs—and for the record, though it may have looked differently than what we initially thought, He hasn’t failed us yet for providing what we need. However, when I take the time to prayerfully think through that question, the only answer I can give isn’t some mystical one where God clearly speaks or uses a pillar of fire that leads us, but it’s more of a knowing that I would be disobeying God if I didn’t follow Him through the events He orchestrates as He guides me in the direction He wants me to go.

Having to raise support is a difficult decision people have to make, and sadly, this one snag surrounding money is often the decisive element that topples people from the ministry toward which God has directed their heart. I certainly understand why people walk away from it. Too many times to count I’ve been in those shoes of wanting to do just that. For myself I learned that the wrong emphasis on money became the problem. Sadly, I was in the majority. This money emphasis while raising support can create such a heavy weight in peoples’ minds that they make assumptions before even trying it or get winded before they make it very far out of the gate.

Although Asaph didn’t write Psalm 73 because he was raising support, I still believe it has such rich application to this process. He starts by crying out to God because he has seen the wealth and health of the wicked and envies it, and then he goes on to vividly describe their prosperous ways. Are his pure ways done in vain, he asks? However, upon entering into God’s presence, he understands their final destiny. The wicked will be destroyed, and the faithful will always be with God and guided by Him.

The support-raising moral to this isn’t that the people around us are wicked and are going to be destroyed. The point is that Asaph’s perspective changed when he entered God’s presence. Before, he was so focused on the money and how prosperous other people were that he started questioning God’s guidance in his own life and whether or not his path of purity was worth it. Then he encountered God and decided to trust Him with his life.

Even on the support-raising journey, if our eyes stay on the money, our tendency will be to compare our fortunes and misfortunes to others while disregarding how God is guiding us down a path that is intricately designed for each individual. This is an eternal perspective, the same perspective Asaph had after encountering God. Let’s keep that eternal perspective on this journey and not worry about the paths that God is leading others down.

  1. What has been your perspective on your support-raising journey?
  2. Keep your eyes focused on the eternal and keep persevering!

 

 

 

God is Sovereign: Despite the Challenge of Raising Support

 

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3, ESV).

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis has always fascinated me. It’s a story of unfortunate events which God uses for His glory. The jealously that Joseph’s brothers harbor toward him after he is favored by his father and has two dreams that depict him ruling over his family ignites the events that domino out of control. However, his brother’s plot to kill him, then selling him into slavery, and a wrongful accusation of rape can only be understood in the light of God’s sovereignty. Fortunately for us, we have the entire story and can see God’s redemptive plan at work throughout Joseph’s life. Poor Joseph didn’t know how his story would end.

God had big plans for how He was going to use Joseph for His glory. The only hint He gave to him was those two dreams. If Joseph had tried to establish his leadership over his family at that very moment, it wouldn’t have worked and would’ve been disastrous. The timing wasn’t right for God’s plan to come into fruition. In the playing out of God’s perfect timing, Joseph went through unthinkable trials with blessings along the way.

I’m not sure the thought of those dreams would’ve even flitted into Joseph’s mind as his brothers threw him into the cistern. Hurt, betrayal, fear, survival—those would’ve been my first thoughts. When the Midianite merchants pulled away with Joseph in tow as their new slave, the life he had grown up knowing, slowly faded from his view. I can’t imagine the sinking feeling of loneliness that must’ve been in the pit of his stomach.

In Egypt, after Potiphar bought him, the LORD was with Joseph and he prospered as he was entrusted with more duties. That is, until Potiphar’s wife accused him of raping her. He was innocent. He didn’t lay a hand on her. He did what he should have done and ran away. In one moment and in one wrongful accusation, he was thrown into prison.

What was God doing? God was growing Joseph up in Him. He was establishing Joseph’s character and credibility. He was aligning all the other events and bringing them into motion for Joseph to decipher Pharaoh’s dream and to be brought out of prison second in command in of all of Egypt. In this position, when the famine spread over the whole country, his brothers came, brought their father, and bowed down to him.

The fulfilling of the dreams was not the purpose of the story. God granted them to Joseph as a taste of what was to come, and when they were fulfilled, it proved God’s sovereign goodness. All of this happened to Joseph because God chose him to bring the Israelites to Egypt, a move that would save His people and eventually display His glory as He delivers them from the hands of Pharaoh in a dramatic fashion.

You are being used for God’s glory. Every twist, turn, and bend in your life plays a part of the greater Story. You may not know what is happening and may never even be given those answers, but your life is carefully plotted against God’s eternal plan. In the midst of a firestorm or a fresh rain, our eternal God meets us intimately in that moment.

Your support-raising journey needs to be viewed in light of His sovereign plan. No matter how quickly or how slowly you make it into your place of ministry. God is the One guiding your steps. He is developing your character, opening the eyes of others to His work, and positioning all other events around you to be placed where God is taking you to be in the exact moment needed in order to have the biggest impact.

Just like Joseph, so much more is happening beyond your sight in which you are a part. Rejoice that God has chosen you for your task. God pounds down the clay to mold it into something beautiful for Him.

  1. Stay focused on the now and trust the future in God’s hands.
  2. Rejoice in how God is currently using you and for how He will be using all events to shape the future.