Sunday, 9 August 2009

Thinking about Practical Faith...

It finally crashed.

My laptop has become a rather vital possession in this crazy international life. A pivotal communication tool with family & friends regardless of what side of the ocean I'm on and my ears on the world in a country where I can't yet understand the language, it's also where I do all my writing, and store all my writing, and hold all my files of any description (photos, music, addresses, recipes, my writing projects, my correspondence with editors, mission agencies, and all of you!) since living across two continents doesn't make for storing hard copies of anything.

And it's finally crashed. You'll remember I was having technical difficulties for a while but stubbornly holding on as long as it would last because financially I haven't any leeway to replace a laptop...

To give you a very un-technical description, the jack where I can connect it to the charger has stopped taking charge-- something's come lose from the mother-board. Apparently this is a common problem for Dells, I'm now told. I can have it torn apart, re-sautered, and rebuilt for about $130 but I bought the bottom-of-the-line, cheapest Dell model I could back in 2005 and it would hardly be worth the cost for another year or maybe two of use, the computer guy said.

So... I've ordered a new laptop in faith. Another bottom-of-the-line, cheap-as-I-could-find, though this time a Hewlett-packard Compaq Presario for $405. And I can have my hard-drive extracted and my files transferred to this new one for around $50...

But on a missionary "salary", even this is... a leap of faith for me. More than a month's salary.

I keep mulling over the verses about how Christ desires for us to have faith like a child, even though everything with in me shouts out from a very human perspective of "how can I expect God to help me on such a miniscule thing as a material possession?" But I have to believe that if God is who He says He is (and He is), then He does what He says He does, and He says to cast ALL my cares on Him. He says to trust Him with ALL my heart. He says to present before Him my EVERY need.

I have this tendacy of using "selective trust" like selective hearing. "I'll trust you with the issue of a life-mate, God, or with which ministry I'll work with or what country I'll do it in, but not with how I'll pay this bill, meet this deadline, be in this wedding, go to that birthday party, or write this article. Those are MY worries."

Perhaps in some ways I worry MORE when I'm back home like this, because I see again how "normal" peope live-- my own "normal people", my family-- and am reminded of all that I came from and how differently I live now, just praying for God to supply the funds to meet rent, let alone provide "extras" like insurance, dental, retirement fund??, or even short term things like that trip back to England I've been promising for months, the contact lenses I've been wishing to have for years (please, Lord, may I not lose or break my glasses!), or even the right kind of underwear for the dresses I'm wearing in these weddings this summer (Yes, I had my prayer team praying for God to provide the right bra! Haha :)) I worry because I truly do not know where simple things like this will come from. Like, the other day I asked my mom if I could just go in and use some of her body spray because I had run out of mine and knew I didn't really have the money for a "luxury" like that. So then when my laptop breaks down.... It's a rather more grand thing than is a bra or some body spray...

But you know what? The DAY after I borrowed my mom's body spray, I was given a whole bottle from Bath and Body Works as a gift for being a bridesmaid. It smells LOVELY and it's something I would never buy for myself right now because it is a luxury compared to paying rent and buying plane tickets.

And that is just our God for you. I hadn't even prayed about that, but He knew and He saw and He did it, as if to say, "Leah, I was not joking when I promised you that if you trust and obey me, no matter what I'm asking of you, I will carry you through it and beyond." He knows my needs. Whether it's underwear (which, of course, He also provided :)), body spray, or... now... a laptop computer.

And I'm convicted. I had this lofty idea when I first started with Rescue Mission this time and began this journey of "living by faith" financially as well that I would sit down weekly and make out a little list of "needs" for that week to bring before Him. I mean, not that He doesn't already know our needs before we ask (Matt. 6:8 is very plain about that!), but I think He wants to hear it from us. Why else would He tell us to pray if He already knows it all unless He wanted to teach us to come to Him, to put our hearts in the right posture before Him, and to spend time with Him?

It's strange how it seems somehow harder to put into His hands the worries about material needs than it is to go to Him for immaterial needs-- like loneliness, sadness, fear, and discouragement, isn't it?

I want to commit my WHOLE WHOLE life to Him again with renewed vigor. Today, it's this laptop of faith... Tomorrow, who knows. I long for bigger unshakable faith, deeper daily trust, and unflagging hope. He is GOD after all, and I am His. What sort of silly girl would fear He would turn a cold shoulder on her over something so small to Him as a laptop if He didn't put Himself above providing a bottle of body spray?

Or His Son, for that matter?

I think the problem with this "living by faith" thing is that it's been so abused. People have taken such truths of Who God is and what He wants for His children and twisted them into prosperity gospels that glint such tantalizing half-truths of what we're entitled to as Children of God. But to me, that seems as if one is seeking Him for what He can give, not just seeking Him because He is the be-all and end-all, because He Himself is the fulfilment of our every desire. That is not what faith is meant to be about. Faith is about believing in the power of Christ's blood in what He has done for us at the cross, because of Who He is, and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in conforming us into children like our Father once we've believed. And He takes us each down very different roads in that conforming process.

This is just mine.

Lord, may I learn the lessons well-- all the while caught up in gazing at Your beautiful face....


Hephzibahbeulah said...

You made me cry. I think the way God provides financially is one of my very favourite things about Him - a way in which we see everyday miracles in ordinary life. You know, I've been known to pray that I wouldn't need to go to the toilet during an interview!! Silly things, but He always hears us.

I know what you mean about trusting Him with emotional issues. I especially struggle trusting Him to heal me from things that I feel are somehow 'my fault', because of a sin I've committed or a way I have chosen to live. God doesn't work that way though, does He? His Grace is amazing!!

I personally am praying really hard for three things for you right now; one, is that He would heal your heart in this time of grieving, two, that He would be swift in providing your life partner, and three, that He would provide financially for a visit to England, so we can cuddle you and introduce you to your god-daughter! My heart aches to see you again!! I miss you so so much!

God will provide. Not because He should, or because we expect it, but because He wants to. One thing we can do is never cease to be amazed!

Love you precious girl.

Leah said...

Oh Lizzie!!! I love your list of priority prayers :) I can't wait for those cuddles!! What would you think of a kind of extended visit, if I have the chance? Like... maybe... in lieu of a month of rent?? I would travel around to see everyone in that month, but perhaps spend a week with you as a bit of a mother's help if you're wanting it?? Just a thought :)

And yes, how He provides practically is very exciting because it is so tangible-- but it's something I'm still really needing work on trusting Him for!

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