God is Faithful: Throughout the Bumps and Jumps of the Support-Raising Journey

 

“Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” Psalm 119:90 (NIV)

The book of Hosea depicts Hosea, a loving husband, in pursuit of his unfaithful bride. God chose this poor prophet to literally play out His passion for Israel by telling Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute—that had to be a tough assignment.

Imagine the heartbreak of having to buy back your own wife, the one to whom you pledged your undying love, from the hands of someone who was using her for his own pleasure. Anguish is the only word that can capture the depth of that feeling, and it is out of this agony that, verse-by-verse, this stage is used to display the burning passion of God’s love for His people.

The Israelites were rebellious. Their ways were fickle as they chased after fleeting pleasure. When God satisfied them with blessings, they became proud and forgot Him. God poured out His anger and wrath against them, not because it was a lover’s petty tantrum but because it was The Lover’s way to bring them to repentance. He knew what was best for them, and even in His wrath, He stayed faithful in His covenantal love.

That same passionate and burning love continues for us. That’s why He grafted us into His covenantal love and strips away everything that distracts us as He continues to pursue us. In His love, He will be faithful. His ultimate desire is to grow in us a heart of obedience and devotion, because when we are obedient to God’s commands, it is a picture of our own love for God (John 14:15).

Here is when we often fail to understand God’s faithfulness. We have to realize that God’s faithfulness doesn’t hinge on our earthly assumptions of Him or our circumstances. The way God proves Himself faithful is through the fulfillment of His covenants, His promises. Therefore, while fundraising we need to learn to separate our hope of receiving our wants from the actual promised covenants of God. There is a vast gulf of difference between the two. If we put our understanding of God’s faithfulness in our assumptions, then we will always be frustrated and disappointed.

Understand that every path God leads us down, including raising support, is designed for us to witness and be shaped by His passionate love—thank goodness God didn’t put us into Hosea’s shoes! Therefore, God remains faithful even when support runs low. He remains faithful even when deadlines pass. He remains faithful when the money comes quickly and we leave sooner than expected. If we understand this, then our world will not be rocked and God’s faithfulness questioned when our expectations of what we think He should be doing aren’t met. Use the support-raising journey to grow in this truth and allow God to break you in order for God to fully use you. Because if you continue to be obedient, God will certainly use you.

  1. Notice how God is faithfully guiding your support-raising journey no matter the path and receive His love.
  2. Praise God that He is faithful to keep His promises.

God is Our Strength: Our Continued Promise on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 (NIV)

Jason and I sat helpless in the hospital room in North Carolina where our ten-year-old son had been in-and-out of for three weeks. His symptoms were gradually getting worse, and as the days wore on, the doctors had more questions than answers for his condition. The more tests they ran, the less everything made sense. At that same time, Jason was making phone calls to some of our biggest supporters to reconnect with them and to let them know how to be praying, only to find out that each of them had changing household circumstances. That meant that in the first three phone calls we found out we were losing a big chunk of our support. Here we were sitting in a hospital room. Our medical bills were climbing, our support-account was dwindling, and two weeks prior to my son’s hospitalization, I had felt God’s leading to turn in my notice at the mission agency where I was working to help fill the shortfall of our support account.

Even if it were out of well-meaning intentions, if someone would’ve quoted Philippians 4:13 or Isaiah 40:29-31 to me at the time, I would’ve either cried or punched them—preferably only the former. I was exhausted, broken and confused. God’s strength felt elusive to me. However, I think that’s the problem with how we define God’s strength. His strength isn’t a “feeling” like you get with a caffeinated shot of espresso that wakes us up so we you can motor through our circumstances. It’s a promise that we have to claim, especially when we’re weary and worn out from life’s struggles. His strength rests in our eternal hope, not our immediate circumstances.

When you’re doing God’s work, whatever it looks like, you’re on the playing field taking direct shots from the enemy. No matter how short or long you’ve been on the support-raising journey, it’s certain you’ll have times when you’ll feel like you can no longer go on. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Only when we’re still during the raging storm (Psalm 46:10) are we somehow bolstered by an unnatural strength that’s not our own.

I made it through that difficult season of my life. I literally cried out to God many consecutive nights and fasted until I was weak. However, somehow finding His strength when I had absolutely none of my own, drew me closer to Him. That is the same hope for you.

  1. Allow yourself to be real with God and tell Him how you really feel about everything you’re going through.
  2. Take the time to be still and discover a strength that’s not your own.

God is Full of Grace and Mercy: And This Truth Can Even Be Displayed While Raising Support

 

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:1-17 (NIV)

We have never been to heaven. We’ve learned about it in Scripture, discussed the hope of it, and some people have even written books to give us a taste of its greatness. There is an electrifying expectancy, knowing that one day God’s people will walk into a land where praise is the adorning jewel to perfection. Jesus stepped out of this perfect beauty into the filth of this dying world to become one of us. He willingly paid the price for our death and conquered it so we could live in that perfection.

This is the same God who washed the dirty feet of the disciples.

If you don’t get this example of such incredible humility, then it will be hard for you to even begin to fathom the depth of God’s grace and mercy and to live in it while raising support. We are nothing. Our fallen character swells our egos as we listen to Satan’s lies, telling us that we on our own are greater than who we really are. We are nothing. Sadly, we are selfish by nature, demanding attention, fighting for our right to be heard, and whining if someone else gets noticed over us. We are nothing. Sin is the core that drives us, blinds us, and destroys us.

Here is the beautiful message of God’s grace and mercy—We are nothing, yet the completed, triune God wanted a relationship with His fallen creation. Jesus, in all His glory, obeyed His Father’s command to step out of the heavenly realm to be the sacrificial Lamb for our sins. In that one act, we who are absolutely nothing and have no desire to pursue God on our own, are chosen by Him and are crowned with royal righteousness, not by our own might, strength or goodness, but by His glorious grace.

We are in a battle against this truth. The verses—in humility think others better than yourself (Phil 2:3), be humble and bear with one another in love (Eph 4:2), in humility God will lift you up (Jas 4:10), the last will be first (Matt 20:16)—clashes with our old self-righteous rags we still like to wear in this fallen world. Christ, who is God in the flesh, took the lowly position of a servant to demonstrate how we are to love and serve one another, and He stated, “no servant is greater than his master” (16). With these words, we have no grounds to hold our egos over anyone else, for even Jesus served His betrayer. With Jesus’ actions as a servant, our smugness should be wiped right out of us, because He is the King. We are all vile, arrogant, and whiney, and God has given us unearned keys to His Kingdom.

Therefore, God did not choose you because you showed the greatest potential to grow your ministry with the next brilliant idea, or because you excelled in Bible college while graduating top of your class, or even because you have shown a whimsical knack for puppetry. Apart from Him, you offer absolutely nothing to God that He cannot do for Himself. But He CHOSE you. He took DELIGHT in you. The very Sustainer of life BESTOWED you with gifts to serve and glorify Him. That is grace. And this knowledge should bring us to our knees in worship.

I’m painting such a stark contrasting picture to help you translate this truth into your support-raising journey and throughout your ministry. Jesus’ foot washing example is not just for special ministry moments set with dim lights, a half-empty washbasin, and awkward side-glancing silence. Day-by-day, with every breath, we are to live the truth of this grace out. The support-raising journey is a chance to figuratively wash people’s feet. God has opened the door for you to step into people’s lives and connect them with God Almighty and to invite them into His work. This isn’t the time to celebrate you and how great you are. You have a story to tell of how God is working in you, a humble story of how you are being used by God’s grace and mercy.

What are you going to choose to focus on during this time?

  1. Praise God that He is using you for His kingdom purposes.
  2. Tell others your story of God’s amazing grace and mercy in your life.