Friday, July 3, 2009


"And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul: and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them." Acts 4:32-36

While I usually try to have some sort of witty opening story, quote, or something else I try to gain people's attention, I can't for this one. I'm too overwhelmed with gratitude, thankfulness, and excitement. Besides that, I don't think the story below needs any sort of embellishment anyway!

While I haven't made this very public, one of my main hesitations about serving overseas was my still-present school loans. I was aggressively paying these off until I started paying for seminary last summer. Because of that, MY PLAN of getting out of debt by this June seemed VERY dim. Impossible, really, unless there was a drastic change in my income and/or living expenses and/or education costs.

While this could have caused a dilemma for me, I strongly felt the Lord leading me to move overseas this fall. There was no denying it. I continued to move towards this goal and continued praying that my debt would somehow disappear before I left. I never started ignoring the debt- I just put it in the God's hands on whether or not it would be gone by this fall or not. This had been a prayer request of mine for almost 3 years now.

A friend of mine from college, currently a school teacher, asked me to have dinner last Monday night. What she said put me in a state of shock. She said that ever since we had a conversation about me possibly delaying my departure date due to school debt, she's been putting aside $500 a month to help me in this specific purpose! She did so for 20 months!!! (Quick.... do the math!!!) With her $10,000 gift, it is EXACTLY what I need to be completely debt free before I leave this fall!!! Praise the Lord for His incredible faithfulness in answering that specific prayer! I'm so thankful for her for being so generous and obedient to the Lord leading her to give!

What may have been the most shocking of this entire presentation was the graceful attitude that she gave it to me in. Psalm 37:21 reads that "The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives. "  It was a combination of "you  really don't have to thank me," "its been fun for me to put it aside each month," and "I'm glad to do it." While I struggle to find any way to thank her, I have no doubt that the Lord has already been blessing her abundantly for doing so.

Even as I write about how excited I am that God answered this specific prayer (I've been on cloud nine since Monday), it brings up in me some huge theological issues that I can't help but address, especially since they are so prevalent in our culture... Do I believe that God ALWAYS hears our prayers? Absolutely! Do I believe that God always answers them the way we want Him to? No! It seems to me that God usually comes back with one of 3 answers- Yes, no, and wait.  At times we (including me! egh!) can put God in a waitress-ing role- asking Him what we want and expecting it to be brought the way and when we want it to be brought.

I'll try to not go off on too much of a tangent here (I really wasn't planning too), but I think any teaching that says anything similar to "If you pray hard enough and believe, your prayers will definitely be answered" are NOT biblical and are extremely damaging to the church. Its the whole, "Just claim it and it will be yours!" philosophy.  How many faithful families have prayed for healing of a loved one that ended up passing away? Even David, the one described as being after God's own heart, lost a son after praying faithfully and selflessly for God to heal him (2 Sam 12). There are more things to prayer than just faith, with not the least of those being the GRACE of God to give gifts to his undeserving children! When we start feeling like we deserve the things we're praying for because of OUR faith (when God tell us that he's the one that gives us the faith in the first place), that puts US in charge instead of the One giving the gifts. (If you disagree with me on this issue, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Okay. Whew. Now that I'm back from my tangent, let me say once again how incredibly excited and overwhelmed I am about how God answered this prayer with a resounding yes!!! It was totally the Lord's grace and provision that this came out. It definitely encourages me to more often pray for bigger things- for God to move mountains with my "mustard seeds" of faith. I pray that we will never forget that  "nothing will be impossible with God." (Luke 1:27)

Till next time....