Who Knew You Could Learn So Much From Being Broke?

Actually, I'm figuring out that, with God involved, you can learn some pretty amazing things from almost any experience. However, what I'm going to write about now is (drum roll please) fundraising for the Ivory Coast mission trip! OK, OK, I know you're probably sick of hearing about this. I know I talk about Ivory Coast and precious little else most of the time. But, right now I feel the need to write about it. I need to get some thoughts and feelings out in print, and look at them to see if they're really true. So, here goes!

First of all, if God wants you somewhere, He can jolly well get you there. Willingly or unwillingly. Oftentimes, in my case, it's unwillingly. I didn't want to learn contentment.

"No God!" I yelled. "It seems like all my friends are either off traipsing around the world, or preparing to do so. And where am I? Stuck on a farm in Missouri!"

But eventually I go the idea. Contentment isn't a place or a thing. It's a mindset.

"Yeah, my friends are going to all the cool places I've wanted to go for years. I want to go, too, but the truth is, I can't. So what can I learn here at home? How can I prepare myself for when (and if) my turn comes?"

And I got my reward, when I least expected it. "Janie, the Joneses are leading a mission trip to Africa. They have had hardly any people sign up for it. I'm thinking about going. It would be cool if you could come too."

"Well, God?"

"You're learning patience at home. Contentment with where you are. Now you can get your reward."

Yippee! But I'm not in Africa yet. Not by a long shot.

$3000 is a lot of money for a teenage girl without a job.

"Goodness, God! How on earth am I supposed to get that much money! I've never even had  $1000 dollars in my entire life!"

"If I want you in Africa, don't you think I can get you there?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

And with that, a completely unsought job offer. Hmmm, could this possibly be a God thing? If God wants you somewhere, He can jolly well get you there.

Oh but wait! We're not on smooth sailing yet!

"God, can't I make more money? Please? I really, really need that $3000."

"Learn to enjoy the journey."

"Hmmm? What? Journey? We're aiming for a destination here, God."

"If you focus only on the destination, you'll lose a lot of lessons along the way."

"Oh, right. OK, so what do You want to teach me?"

1. God is bigger than the situation. A lot bigger. Looking back, I can see so many pieces fitting together in my life. God's been working all along, even when I hadn't noticed.

2. If you say you're going to trust God, He will test you.

"Yes God, I'd love to help that lady who says she doesn't have enough money for groceries, but, frankly, I have no extra cash in my purse right now."

"What about that $15?"

"Oh, that. Well, that's set aside for someone else."

"Give it to this lady."


"You have a whole tea tin full of money at home. Give away this $15, and then get some more out when you get home."

"But, God, that money's for my trip! Don't you understand! I'll probably be saving souls on that trip!"

"You could be saving a soul right now, with that $15. You don't know my plans. Are you willing to trust Me? Besides does this money really belong to you, anyway?"

"No, I guess not. Here you go, ma'am. It's all I have."

I can quite honestly say that I have given away more money here lately than I have ever before. After all, it really isn't my money. I'm just supposed to be God's dispenser of it. And I've got to spend it the way He tells me to.

3. God 'is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us'. (Fragment of Eph. 3:20) Read that. Think it. Believe it. Cling to it. Most of all, live it. The world seems to be infested with a great many Christians who proclaim the power of God, and then fearfully take matters (especially money matters) into their own hands. If God wants me in Africa, He'll get me there. I'm going to live in that confidence. If I try to take matters into my own hands, God just might let me do it for awhile. In which case, I would make a terrible muddle of things. In short, live the Royal Way. That is a term I borrowed from the book God's Smuggler. If you've never read it, go and buy it. I'm the daughter of a king. I should live like it. Not stuck up or prideful, but confident that God is, truly, The Greatest.

4. Pride needs to be kicked out.

"God, I'm living the Royal Way. I don't need to ask for money. You'll just provide it, won't You?"

"Are you sure this isn't pride?"

This took some serious self-examination. God can (and is) providing, but if He chooses to provide through other people, my pride shouldn't get in the way. Besides, it is 'more blessed to give than to receive'. Why should I stand in the way of someone being blessed through giving to God?

So, that's what I've learned to far. What does God have planned? I really have no idea. That's the exciting part. If God wants you somewhere, He can jolly well get you there!