Recently we wrote about the testing of our faith but did not provide an example of what a test of faith looks like. This week God has given us just such an example.
The downward journey
When we first started down this path of uncompromising faith our ‘self’ nature outweighed our spirit nature. Our responses to situations reflected fear and spiritual immaturity, not faith. As God drew us down into poverty and destitution I had many meltdowns, tantrums and rants as fear washed over me.
I tried desperately to stop the consequences of my choice to follow Him in faith but was powerless to do so.
As we fell into homelessness, the steady grind of poverty ground down the ‘self’ nature in each of us. Every test of faith was an opportunity to mature spiritually and grow in character. Our responses to the sudden shocks and crises of faith in homelessness eventually mellowed. But when we had to leave our basement suite in 2017, our anger at being homeless again resurfaced. We endured, but it was clear we needed to mature even more.
Missionaries of faith
Since late July 2017 a wonderful lady, and the organization she leads, has been faithfully following God’s lead to support us as missionaries of faith. Each week, for the past two years, God has supplied us with enough for a motel room, food, toiletries and the odd luxury, like a used slow cooker. This support has stabilized our family for a time, allowing us to reach out to others around us, and online, to spread the word of God’s call to come to the wilderness and grow in faith. Recently, however, there have been changes.
The organization supporting us as missionaries came under severe financial strain this summer. Over the past two months, their ability to support our family has been steadily decreasing. Each week, there are fewer funds to buy even the basics. Now we are used to austerity, so having less is not a problem. A bed to sleep on indoors is enough. But when the funds arrived on Monday, they were not enough to even cover the cost of the motel room for another week. We reached another critical part of our journey.
The possibility of being homeless again loomed large before us.
The test of faith
With the funds we received Monday, and some we are expecting on Friday, we had enough to buy one more week at the motel. However, we had very little for food and could not afford laundry. Realizing our predicament, we bought a few food items that day so we had at least something to eat. The rest would have to wait. God was administering a test of faith.
Instead of the panic that marked the early days of our journey we were at peace.
Homelessness lost its ability to frighten us for we have learned how to handle lack. There would be consequences, however, if God wanted us to be out again. Wanda would give up her role as prayer leader for Canada and I would suspend the blog. These are minor inconveniences compared to living outside in the fall.
Emotionally we were calm and at rest. God trained us well to accept everything as coming from His hand. We know that He is a faithful provider no matter the situation and so rest in His character. What was puzzling was God specifically told us we would not be homeless again. Surely this lack was only a test of faith.
Over this journey of uncompromising faith, we fully accept we cannot know the future. What if-ing and worry is a waste of time. Fear, a clear product of ‘self’ has no place in the disciple’s life. By facing us with imminent homelessness God was testing to see if there were any remnants of ‘self’ still skulking around. None surfaced.
The practical lesson
On Tuesday I talked to God about our situation. As usual God spoke only to reassure us of His faithful character that provides for His people. Since we have seen His loving provision time after time He was only reminding us of what we know to be true. He always watches over those who place their trust in Him.
With His reassurance we were content to walk through this test of faith.
Later I went to the store to buy some in season cheap root vegetables so we would have something to eat. At the store I found a worker placing large bags of beets, carrots, and onions on display. I asked for the price and he volunteered something I wasn’t expecting. He said the root crops would be less than half price on Thursday. God’s timing and provision were perfect. Through a fortuitous conversation Jesus showed us how to eat for half the cost. We praised Him for this blessing.
Late on Tuesday we received an unexpected email from one of Wanda’s prayer team. Two of the prayer warriors sent us much needed funds. This unforeseen abundance gave us more than enough to buy food, toiletries and do laundry. We had passed the test of faith but God wasn’t finished.
Around midnight, I checked my tablet one last time. A message had come in from our sponsoring organization. Surprisingly, they too sent us another sum on money we were not expecting. So in a few hours we had more than we ever expected. We even had enough to bless William the taxi driver with a tithe from our blessing. When we are blessed, we bless others.
Learning to trust
God did not allow us to go hungry or homeless this week. But He made us wait to test our character. In this waiting we see, and He sees, what is deep within. If there are remnants of ‘self’ or faithlessness we would still be fearful and stressed. This did not happen. We could see, as we waited, we were at peace accepting everything as coming from His hand.
No matter what we face He will provide, and He did!
Jesus commits to a lifetime of training with each of His disciples. He tests us time again until our faith and trust is solidly on the Father, and in His faithful character. When we can see that no matter what we face we can stay in hopeful trust then we know we have built our house upon the Rock. This is the purpose of every test of faith.
Homer and Wanda