“And without faith it is impossible to please [God]…” Hebrews 11:6a
It’s been just over a month since we accepted the call to serve at a children’s home in Ecuador through Inca Link, and this verse has popped up so many times and in so many places since then that it’s almost ridiculous. We’re knee-deep (probably a lot deeper, actually) in making the necessary preparations before we go to the field, and neither of us realized exactly how much faith would be required of us at this phase. The temptation to doubt is almost constant, and there are few areas of our lives that haven’t been touched by it. After all, according to common sense, this is the most insane and utterly absurd thing that we’ve ever done. Or so we’ve heard.
The questions that flood our minds can be relentless at times: What if we can’t raise all of our funds in time – or at all? What if our house doesn’t sell? What are we going to do with all of this furniture and stuff once the house does sell? What if people respond negatively to our requests for support and it changes the way that they think about us? What if our home church doesn’t fill the positions that we’re leaving open? What if this process strains or destroys some of our relationships at home? What if we’re wrong about the whole thing and God didn’t REALLY call us to do this? What if this is actually the easy part?
We’d love to say that we’ve handled every one of these temptations to worry (which are excerpts from a much longer list) flawlessly, but in truth, we’ve both had periods of time where one of us was weak and beginning to crumble under the pressure of doubt. Fortunately, the other one of us was there to pray and give encouragement. When one of us has been weak, the other has been strong.
It all comes down to a question of whether we choose to believe – to have faith. We could worry ourselves to death with a million unanswerable questions. We could take our eyes off of God, try to take everything into our own hands, and make a huge mess of it all. We could rationalize the whole thing away and just give up. The truth, however, is that, by faith, we know God has called us to this. We know that He holds the answers to the questions that loom so hugely in front of us, and that He will see to it that they’re answered in due time.
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from this process so far, it’s that God is sovereign. He’s got this. He put us on this path, and He designed it before the foundation of the world. There’s an old hymn that we used to sing when we were growing up that says: “Trust and obey / For there’s no other way / To be happy in Jesus / But to trust and obey.” The truth, in the face of all of those infinitely complex “what-if’s,” is that life is meant to be just that simple in the life of a believer. Trust God at His Word, and act in obedience. Believe what He says, and do what He commands. Why? Because “[We] know that [God] can do all things, and that no purpose of [His] can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). God is sovereign. He’s got this.
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34