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Challenges: Faith

In hundreds of conversations we have identified six "challenges" our generations face when considering ministry in a missions-related role. The six are: Faith, Finances, Family, Fit, Future and Fight. The purpose of examining these benefits is to help us see that God is really carefully managing our journey, and not getting in the way of a desired goal with all these obstacles. 

FAITH: The first "challenge," "obstacle," or "opportunity," depending on your perspective.

Can I trust God with my future? This question captures the essence of this challenge. At first blush the obvious answer is "yes!" Of course we can trust God. He is in control. He is trustworthy. He only has our best in mind. He knows better what we need than we do.

But have you noticed how second and third blush begin to color our response? Shades of "what if," "what about," "how can I," "I can't," quickly condition our trust response. We begin to evaluate the unknown future in light of the known past. How we feel about our past strongly affects our thinking about the future. In that subtle moment we shift our trust to our own ability and experience.

That shift can create a dual track in our mental processing. On one level, the spiritual, we still love and trust God. On the other, let's call it the practical level, we are trusting in our own strength, our perspective, our evaluation of the future. As a consequence, we develop an inner tension with questions we cannot easily answer. We want to completely trust our Lord, but don't we have to be practical? We want to be all out for God, but He certainly wants me to be responsible.

So, can I trust God with my future? Maybe we should change the question. Can I trust God with his future? After all, who am I? I've been bought with a price. I'm a child of the King. I am his masterpiece, created to do the things he has already designed for me to do and equipped by him to do exactly those things. He has promised to never leave me. There is nothing in his future that could possibly separate me from his love.

Faith is actually a wonderful gift afforded us by God himself. The dimension of time makes faith possible. We are bound by time. Because we cannot see the future we need to exercise faith. If we were not time-bound, faith would not be necessary. God does not need faith. He sees it all, past, present and future, in his eternal present. Because we cannot see clearly into our future we are uncertain as to which direction to go. Our great, incredible privilege is that the very God who created it all and sees it all is simply saying, "Trust me. I can see where your next step should be. I'll help you get there if you just trust me, if you just have faith." Not faith in your abilities or past experiences. Faith in the one who can see the next step he has carefully designed for you.

If you desire to make a difference in your future and you sense God is leading you to do that in a missions-related role, may I encourage you to take the next logical step in that direction. It may only be a small step, but take it. If your heart is right, you will not make a mistake.

Faith is stepping out into the invisible, not the non-existent. We may not see it all clearly. We may come up short when we compare our abilities with future challenges. Hindsight can be our weakness. Foresight is God's specialty. What we cannot see, he designed. Where we have not gone, he is waiting. Can I trust God with my future? Yes, because it is my small part in his grand and perfect future.

Finishers Project 2010

Jacob of Ontario, Canada wrote:

When I approached one of the Finishers Project agencies about the possibilities of being a career missionary, they were very receptive. My wife and I talked a lot about it, prayed a lot, spoke to many other missionaries, etc. We gained a lot of insight. But after awhile, we found ourselves kind of floating and waiting for the Lord to speak. It seemed to me, that a lot of things were falling into place, but we couldn't discern whether it was the Lord calling.

Finally I spoke with another missionary, who said to me, "Sometimes you just have to 'step out of the boat' and see where the Lord will lead you. If He puts up all kinds of roadblocks, you know this is not for you". So, we did. I applied to GOM, and was appointed candidate career missionary a few weeks ago. We have to meet once more at their head office and at the same time map out our support raising. The process has been incredibly smooth. I strongly believe that if the Lord wants me to do this, he will continue to bless the journey and supply the necessary funds also.

This is kind of in a nutshell what has happened to us. We are overjoyed, most of the time; at other times we can't help but wonder what we've gotten ourselves into. The Lord has been very good. My wife and I have been looking at several different courses, but our lives are extremely busy with wrapping things up, children home from university, and still having to work for a living.

Peggy of Tualatin, Oregon wrote:

I have taken a few small steps. I am hoping to be part of a team this summer to the Old Mill Camp in Arzano, Italy. I have been a part of the Festival before. This is a new partnership with a new church in a familiar setting.

What I really want to do is tell churches in Italy about the Alpha Course! Teaching ESL is my known. Alpha is my passion!

Great response. Taking a few small faith-steps lights the way. It is not all that difficult as now you have a direction with considerable passion. Passion is a 90% predictor of success.

of S Carolina wrote:

These are encouraging comments. I am over 60 and am looking for a way to serve God in Africa. Faith-faith-faith!

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