Introduction to the Series.
I’ve recently been encouraged, that when I feel discouraged, I should remember.
Remember what, you might say?
Remember God’s faithfulness throughout my life.
Remember the times He stepped in and saved the day.
Remember that I am not alone.
I have never been alone.
And so… let me introduce you to a series of blogs I’d love to share with you: God Stories.
These are my God stories from the last year living as a missionary to America.
These are the stories of how God has shown up at the eleventh hour, how He has been faithful to my family and I, and I want to share them with you…
Because when we remember we regain perspective. We regain hope.
As the Psalmist said
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
(Psalm 42:3-5 ESV)
Let’s get started, as I invite you to be a part of our story. My memories can now become a part of your memory and my prayer is that we will all get to remember God’s faithfulness together!
Riches from a Beggar.
It was a warm sunny day in California, quite typical really…
Yet I wasn’t feeling all that “warm” on this day. If anything, I was feeling cold, cold and frustrated.
I was feeling the financial pressure of Californian life. I was feeling the financial pressure of my life.
School bills, medical bills, phone bills, gas bills, housing bills.
BILLS BILLS BILLS.
I walked along the busy tourist road, near our house, with a friend of ours visiting from Australia. I appreciated his visit, and I did my best to be as positive as possible, ensuring him that being a missionary, although tough, was worth it. But I don’t know if I was reassuring him, or myself!
For months my wife and I have often found ourselves living “hand to mouth”, and although God has been so faithful to provide for us financially, it has been a stressful time. Often I would find myself worrying, just as I was on this day.
I was over it. I wanted a secure job. I wanted a steady and significant wage. I wanted out of this lifestyle of “living by faith”.
“Maybe I could go home to Australia and work for while?” I thought. “Maybe I should put church planting on hold and get a big church to sponsor our visa and just take a secure job with them?” I kept walking… our friend surely wondering if I always frowned this much.
Just then I spotted a street performer up ahead (or a beggar, I’m not sure what he was). His “performance” was interesting, to say the least. He had a mouth organ he was playing poorly, his case open, hoping for a dollar.
“Why would I give him any money?” I thought. “He will just spend it on drugs and alcohol, and besides, I need the money more than he does!”
I walked past.
Then just as quickly as I had thought of why I shouldn’t give him money, I had the thought to turn around and give him the money in my pocket.
“No way” was my next thought.
I turned around… asking my friends to wait for me, and I headed back to this “beggar”.
“Here you go buddy,” I passed him my cash.
“Thanks so much” he said, as he cleaned the spittle out of his mouth organ. “I really appreciate it.”
Something about this man drew me to him, and almost immediately I found myself sitting next to him by the gutter he was on.
He continued. “You know, a lot of people walk up and down here, with their crosses around their necks. They might be “Christians” but they don’t have the time of day for me. But you… (he looked intently in my eyes), you are a real Christian, I can tell.”
As far as I can remember, I had no t-shirt, cross or other blatant symbol that would suggest I was a Christian.
“People think I’m going to spend their money on drugs or alcohol (um… guilty as charged- I thought), but I’m not going to spend this money on that! I don’t drink or take drugs. I’m going to spend it on fixing my bike. I live in my mentor’s garage, I just got off the streets and I’m trying for a fresh start at life. I’m trying to get a job and I need my bike to get around.”
I asked him where he lived and what type of job he wanted. I don’t remember everything he said, but I do remember he said this;
“When it comes to a job, I would really like a job. I really need a job. But you don’t just go out there and get any job. It’s got to be the right job. You have to do what God is asking you to do. It’s all about doing God’s will, not just getting a job.”
I started to tear up.
“Thank you” I said, as I took down his phone number in case I could help. But really, how could I ever help him, in the rich way that he had just helped me?
I had given him $20, but he had given me wisdom worth more than gold.
As I walked back to my wife and friend, I started to smile.
I started to laugh.
I noticed the sun was shining brightly and the air was warm again… for just when I needed it, God reminded me that I all I had to do was keep my eyes on Him. That He would provide. That He is faithful. That rushing to get a “job” was only a short term “fix”, but fixing my eyes on Him is a long term lifestyle worth embracing.
I remember that day, for it was the day I had significant breakthrough in the area of worry about our finance and “a job”.
I just need to do what God is asking me to do. If I may…so do you.
He will look after the rest… He always does.
2 Timothy 2:13- If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. (NLT)
I look forward to sharing more memories with you soon.