International Ministries

Surprised by the Word: Receive. Give. Be Transformed!

May 15, 2007 Journal

As I live and serve the Lord, I find myself continually needing to re-learn certain basic spiritual lessons, such as trusting in the Lord’s provision. Over and over, we find ourselves “surprised by the Word”—transformed, little by little, as we give ourselves to the Lord and receive God’s abundant provision. The title of this journal will be the theme for the 2007 World Mission Offering, but it is in many ways the theme for my walk with God.

It happened again, recently. We were low on funds, when I learned that a bank transaction had been canceled. I don’t like living on the edge (at least, financially) and I began to worry, especially as I began investigating alternatives and found none. In God’s word it says: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

God began dealing with me, reassuring me that He would take care of us personally and in the ministry as well. We were down to one big bill which I didn’t want to break because I knew it would go fast. Then things began happening. First, I found another bill stuck to the side of the drawer where we keep the money. We managed to make that last most of the month despite having visitors. Then, in January, the seminary where I teach sent me a note (I thought it was notification of a faculty meeting!) but it turned out to be a supposedly belated Christmas gift. However, the timing was perfect for me as I was able to buy needed supplies that week without touching that last bill!

Then came a meeting for our Sunday School writers group in mid-January. I had taken the last funds out of my ministry account to pay for a printing job and meeting expenses. But one editor needed an advance for a meeting to be held with new writers. On one hand, I began classifying expenses that could be postponed, etc. At the same time, I wondered what God was going to do to surprise me as God had already done.

As I prepared for the meeting, making sure that I had all the previous documents and notes together, I came across a bag which I used to use. Would you believe that I found a sufficient amount of money stashed in a pocket to pay the additional expenses of the meeting? Well, I finally had to break the big bill, using part of it. Now we only had $100 to our name.

But again God miraculously provided a personal courier, a Christian visitor to Cuba, to bring in the ministry and personal funds needed. In fact, the money arrived just in time for us to use school break to visit a sick family who needed a helping hand.

Yet God used this time to teach me many lessons – new “budget” recipes in the kitchen, a sense of adventure and to trust him more than ever because He will provide.