January 14, 2016

The Power of Faith

I found this graphic online. I liked the sentiment except it had the words "I have" instead of my words, "He has," so I changed it. I believe the saying now rings true. There is only so much that I can do, and I do not believe that my future is in my hands, therefore, the only One who has the power to make my future better is my Lord. I believe this, and I am trusting in Him that what I believe is truth. He is good, so very good to me.

As I consider my life today, I marvel at all the goodness the Lord has provided to me. First off, I am in such a good place in my life right now. In every way, in every area, and in every good thing. The Lord has abundantly provided for me. I am in a good place financially, spiritually, and physically. I still need to improve some, you know to see some major progress on the job front, but overall, I am in a good place for what needs doing, and what is left to be done. I am keeping a check list of my to-do's or the "must-do's" as I see them. For now, I cannot worry about them, but that doesn't mean that I am ignoring their reality or wishing them away. No, I am taking responsibility for the things the Lord has entrusted to me, and that means that I am being mindful of my debts and tasks that require careful monitoring. God is good, He has trained me well, so I rest in the knowledge that He is helping me manage my financial situation, and that He is steadily helping me learn how to become that wise financial manager and good steward His word describes. May I learn how to manage your resources well, Lord! Amen, so be it, Selah!

Last night, I finished my reading of Geisler and Fineberg's "Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective." I bought this book in order to read some of it prior to my exams. I thought it would be good to have a bit more understanding of human philosophy so I could explain things better on my written examination. I have to say this book did not disappoint. It was meaty, as we like to say, and heady in its presentation of materials. But, after slogging through it, I have to say that I think it is a good thing. I feel more confident now as I discuss major thought-patterns and I think I can make a strong case for why philosophy is important to understand whenever we are discussing human behavior and influence either in media or over media's affect. I am excited for my exams, and I feel good about where the Lord seems to be leading me as I work through all this material. The good news is that I know what areas my professors will draw from for my questions, and that means that I can begin to narrow down my study to focus in on those particular aspects of each course. I am pleased. I am blessed. God is good, so very good to me.

Thus, my future is securely positioned on hope, the hope and blessedness of the Savior, my King, and His plans for me. I am not looking at my own hands or at my own life or even my own thoughts, ideas, and wants/desires. No, right now, there is nothing I need or I want except to be pleasing to Him in every way, shape and form. He is worthy, so worthy, and I love to worship, adore, and yield to Him. He is good, so very good to me.

My next steps are, therefore, in His hands. What I do today, tomorrow, and the next days or months will be 100% predicated on His intentions for me. For example, I need to schedule a flight to VA soon. I have been waffling about going there for my exams, and everyone I meet or speak with at Regent says "I must go." I need the money to go, and I need His permission to go, so I am waiting until He leads me and gives me the go-ahead to make the reservations and then the plans. For now, I wait. I wait for His command.

My mind is firmly fixed on His way. My heart is firmly settled on doing His work. I am ready to tackle whatever He asks of me. He is good, and I know that the plans He has for me are very, very good.

Taking a "Leap of Faith"

As I prepare for my examination, and that day is drawing closer, I am reminded that it was a leap of faith that got me to this place. I mean, when I started my journey into higher education, I believed that Lord was calling me to go forth, to study at the Masters and Doctoral level for His work. I was firmly convinced that this is what He wanted me to do. Of course, my family scoffed at that remark. They said that the Lord wouldn't want me to go into debt by taking school loans. Therefore, since there was no other way to pay for my schooling, I was foolish to consider that the Lord was calling me to return to school.

Furthermore, my family thought it was foolish for me to study English and then Communications. They thought the degree was useless, and that it wouldn't provide a good life or a good income for me. In some ways, they were correct. Teaching, in general, is not a lucrative career. Still, they thought I was too old to change directions and to return to school. In short, I was out of my head "crazy" for thinking that the Lord would 1) call me to return to school, and 2) use student loans to accomplish it.

Today, I logged into my student loan account to see my summary. It was as I thought, I owe a house (LOL!) Yes, with interest, I could buy a nice home to live in (well, not here in Phoenix, but in other places in the country). I am paying interest on my Mercy College loans, and interest on my Regent loans, and together, it is a whopping big total. I used to panic at the sight of that number, but now, I look at it and I shrug my shoulders. What can I do but see this path through, and continue to trust the Lord to provide? I mean, I still believe I am doing His will. There have been too many experiences that suggest that I am right where He wants me, and that I am doing exactly what He wants me to do. I cannot describe the sense of peace, of power, and of accomplishment that I feel in my program. It is beyond words for me. The Lord has clearly blessed me, and while some may say that this is just my own doing, my desire being fulfilled, I heartily disagree. I can honestly say that I couldn't have begun this program without full assurance that this was the Lord's will for my life. I also couldn't have continued in it without His support and provision. Thus, whether my family or friends think what I have done is of my own accord or they believe this has been directed by the Lord, I can bear witness to this fact. He alone has brought me through this difficult, challenging, and life-changing experience. Selah!

In spring 2010, I took what Soren Kierkegaard called a "leap of faith." I took a deep breath, and I stepped into this path and began to walk this way. I tried so hard to reason myself into this path, but I found that the more I tried to figure it out, the more my reason failed me, and I could no longer rationalize what was being asked of me. It was then that I received insight through pure revelation from the Lord. Yes, the Lord pressed hard into my heart, and spoke to me in a way that I had never experienced before. I heard His voice, and I felt His presence in a new way, a way that said to me "Come and follow me."  I struggled for a long time, trying to believe so that my way, my rational brain's way of thinking, could grasp how I would accomplish what the Lord was asking me to do. In the end, I couldn't conceptualize it or what He said or what He wanted me to do.

In short, I knew I had two choices: I could either be bold and take that leap or I could sit back and scoff at what seemed clearly impossible to my human mind and eyes. I knew that I had to be bold, and that I had to trust Him. I had to believe in His abilities to provide, in His way to see me through to the end, and in His way to care for me, to keep me secure and safe. The blessed good news is that He has done this for me, consistently providing, caring, and helping me to learn to trust Him. Now that I am coming to the end of my program, I know that He has to be the One to see me through, to bring me all the way to the very end of His work, His will, and His way.

There are times when I still try to use my own reason to figure out what He is asking me to do. But, try as I may, I cannot figure this one out at all. I cannot figure out how to find a way round the debt-burden or even how to imagine the size of the miracle I need from Him. I must, then, rely 100% on the Lord, and I must believe that He will provide for me, even though I don't see how He will do it. I believe that He will because I know that He is able, He is able to do it. Thus, I must continue to walk in faith, to take these daily leaps of faith as He asks me to move here or there, to go this way or that, and to rest in and through it all. I must follow Him, I must go where He goes, and in such a way, I know that I will come to see just how Big and Powerful my God. Yes, He is God, and He alone will provide a way for me. I believe it is so, I trust it is so, and I rest in that knowledge. Selah!
My belief then rests on His Person and His Nature. I believe that He is able to do this, and I believe that God never asks us to do something monumental without providing the resources necessary to do it. Furthermore, God doesn't expect us to figure out His will. No, He clearly lays the plan out for us, and while we don't always see that plan in its entirety, we do see the steps that are right in front of us. I see my steps clearly. I see the next days, weeks, and months, and I see the direction I am going in. However, I don't know what will be in 6-9 or even 12 months. But I do know that through the end of April, my path is pretty clear and open. I will continue to walk this way until the Lord tells me otherwise. I will continue to trust Him until He provides the funds I need to get out of debt. I will continue to surrender my will to Him so that I don't confuse my way with His way. In doing that, I will silence the naysayers who think this is my determination, sheer will and effort, that is making this come to pass. No, I will not take praise or glory in this way. I believe this is His way, and as such, I will give Him all the honor due His holy name. He is good, He is worthy, and He receives the praise and honor. Amen, so be it, selah!

Dear Lord,

You know how tentative my life is right now, how there are needs that must be met soon, and those resources seem scarce. You will provide, as you always do to me, but the mounting debt scares me, and I know that there is no way for me to meet that burden. Not even in my wildest dreams can I come up with a way that would realistically and reasonably address that debt. You must provide. You must rescue me, and because I believe that it is your will for this to be in order for me to see your works in process, I know that the waiting part is getting harder and harder for me to handle. I ask now that you would release the floodgates and allow the manna that is needed for this particular debt to be showered on me. I ask for some provision that would allow me to begin to tear down that high wall, and make something unmanageable into something very manageable. Only you can do this, and I look to your hand, and not my own for provision. I thank you for what I have now, and for what is in your hand, and I ask Lord for a way out, a way out from under this debt burden, and a way that will take me to where you want me to be this good day. I ask all this in Jesus' Name, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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