The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
Some years after moving to Southampton for our ministry among students, our faith over God’s provision began to be tested in new ways. A trust fund had provided us with a house in Southampton rent free for two years. With the end of that two year period they quite rightly felt that it was time for us to pay rent. We began to pay, but our income was not equal to the task.
As we watched the graph of our accounts slide towards oblivion we prayed. As we came closer to the great Zero, we began to think if maybe we should do something about raising support. That is, we could send out a letter informing people about our need and asking them to consider supporting us. The Lord however made it quite clear that he had promised to support us and he would. We therefore, should not show a lack of faith by running off to others. We continued to pray and the graph continued to skid relentlessly towards zero.
Now as the squeeze reached the bottom, I realised that it had not really reached the bottom. There were after all these savings. I was storing up money for unusual expenses, like Christmas. Well, now was an unusual time and it was obvious to me that they would have to go, but what was amazing was my resistance to clearing out the account. It was an indication that spiritually this was a deeper issue that the Lord was putting his finger on. It was as if this was something to trust in instead of Jesus who has promised to be our spring of living water. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13 (NIV) So, this savings account was cleared out and a bit more time was purchased.
Finally in the month when the account was to go through zero, a friend of ours who had left staff to join the church of England and no longer needed support, asked his supporters to transfer their giving to us. He had no idea of our need, for we had told no-one. These supporters agreed and the first we knew about it was when the money turned up in our account. It always amazes me how Jesus waits for the last possible opportunity to save us, and surely he did this time, but save us he did.
This cycle of going relentlessly to the wall, only to be saved at the last minute has been repeated a number of times. Each has been a difficult time as we have cut our expenditure. We have had savings funds hit, even our pension. Each time Jesus has come through without people knowing that there was a need.
We know of other missionaries, no less servants of God than ourselves who seem to struggle more and have real financial difficulties. We know others who ask for support, and Jesus uses these appeals in the lives of the missionaries and those who are invited to partner in their ministry. We have concluded that the way Jesus has taken us is not for all, and since it is a road of faith should not be embarked on without some clear leading from the Lord that this is right for that person. This is the way he has led us into; He has used it in our lives and we are grateful both for his amazing generosity to us through the lives of his generous children, and for the spiritual lessons that he has brought to us through times of need.
FINANCES - THE SQUEEZE