Faith from God
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV
BE Grateful Series
I used to think that my faith is my faith and it’s my job to have faith in God.
I now know that isn’t the case.
Colossians 2:6-7 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
So, in the Spring of 2007 I went to a leadership workshop that my church had for those of us who were serving in some capacity of leadership. It was a great workshop that gave me the opportunity to think and pray about what God had for me.
It stretched me to surrender and pray about my future as a church leader.
During the final session of the workshop we were asked to share what we felt God wanted for us. I remember as I prayed about what God ‘had’ for me, God told me He was renewing my call to ministry. I had initially been called to ministry when I was 21 years old. I was a Pastor’s wife for 30 years, but when he left the ministry and we divorced all of that ended. At the time that happened I felt like I had lost everything (except my kids and my childhood family). Until that time I don’t think I understood how difficult divorce can be.
I lost my marriage, my new home, my church, the ministry, my former spouses family, and even my dog. I didn’t offer to give up my dog, but one day he was gone.
I am ever so grateful I had my family, my kids, my old car, and a job. That’s pretty much all I had left.
I did find a new church, met new friends, bought a small condo, and I drove my old car to work every day.
I started over again.
In 2005 I didn’t ever want to be ministry again. Ever.
So, having God tell me in two years later that He was renewing my call to ministry wasn’t exactly good news to me. I agreed to lead a small ministry at my church and that’s ALL I agreed to. In other words, I told God at the workshop that day that I would only go this far. I drew a line in the sand. That is exactly how far I was willing to go.
This is how much faith you get from me.
God didn’t argue with me that day, so I thought I ‘got away with’ the line I drew in the sand.
That summer I went to a conference about Healing in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a wonderful conference and I was looking forward to connecting with others who led ministries connected to healing and prayer.
God had something else in mind. At the conference, God told me He wanted me to go to Seminary. I said no. Actually, I said no way. That was way way beyond what I had agreed to in the Spring of 2007.
I don’t know if you’ve ever said no to God, but if you have you’ll understand what happened next.
God pressed IN. God pressed ON. God relentlessly pursued me.
I told God I love Him but I did not want to go to Seminary. I argued that I was 54 years old and I didn’t have the money to go to graduate school.
God did not give up. Finally, by late August I agreed to submit an application to a Seminary. I reasoned that it was too late for that school year so I would have a year to convince God this was a bad idea. I happened to have a copy of my final transcript from the University of Missouri, Columbia and I submitted my application on the afternoon of the last Wednesday of the month of August, 2007. I received a return facsimile just after 10:00 A.M. the following morning and that included a letter of acceptance.
I didn’t believe that was even possible. I mean, didn’t they have to check my references first?
Didn’t they have to validate my transcript with MU?
I was stunned.
God was not. God pressed on. God’s faith moved forward. Despite the fact that I didn’t believe in myself and in my ability to work a full-time job and go to Seminary. I didn’t believe it was possible for God to work through all the details.
I had to learn that my faith in God is not mine to create. God believed and God made it happen.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 says, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”
God grew my faith that Fall. As I started my Seminary journey, God opened doors to my mind that I didn’t even know I had. God made everything possible. I went to work every day and I studied during my lunch hour and after work every night. I didn’t miss one unplanned day of work because of Seminary and I didn’t miss one assignment because of work. Even though I chose Hebrew as my language, I did just fine (some of my friends told me that was an insane decision).
God knew it was possible.
And do you know what happened?
Next to having my children, Seminary was the greatest journey of my life, and Hebrew was my favorite subject.
God had the faith. God believed in me, even when I didn’t believe it could be done.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Faith
Let God give you faith.
In God, Deborah