Day 32 of Mark Batterson’s 40 day prayer challenge, called Draw the Circle and the lesson today was about testimonies. Three of my favorite quotes from today’s devotion are as follows:
“When we share a testimony, we are loaning our faith to others. When we listen to a testimony, we are borrowing faith from others.”
“When God answers a prayer, no matter how big or small, we need to share it.”
When I returned from Guatemala last November, I was invited to speak in church about my trip. I chose to focus on the story of Nanny Christy, who is so much like me, but so different only because of the vast gap between living in a prosperous nation and growing up in poverty. You can read that story here:
I ended my speech inviting others to join the team that would be going in March of this year, but at that time, I did not think I would be going due to work constraints. After church, a man I had never seen before slipped me a note with his phone number and the amount of $500 written on it. He said very quietly, “I want to help you go back in March and this is what I will give you. Call me.”
However, I kept thinking about how God had provided all I needed for my trip a few weeks earlier and how many people want to go on a mission trip but cannot afford it. So, I called someone that I know has wanted to go and offered to give her the $500. I was convinced that by the deadline to pay the remaining fees, I would have saved all I needed and would make it without that contribution.
With one week remaining until payments were due for not only my trip to Guatemala but the funds for my friend’s trip promised based upon the $500 from the man who had not yet reappeared, I was starting to get anxious. I considered calling and reminding him, but this man was a stranger to me and the thought of making a collection call made me even more uncomfortable. Then, I read a verse in Exodus 14:14 that says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent,” and I knew that I should wait.
Three days later, I went to church and one of the ushers called me over. “There’s a man up in the balcony who wants to see you.” Sure enough, it was my mysterious donor and he said, “I just wanted you to know that I will be taking a check to the church office for you tomorrow.” Whew. I didn’t have to worry about my friend’s payment anymore.
You might think I felt very righteous, but instead I wrestled with it all the way home. What had I done? That money would have paid off my trip and I could have given the rest to someone else. I asked God if perhaps I had made a mistake and not understood. I had refused his answer to my prayers for help. But, I felt Him say, “How big do you really think I am? How much do you really think I can provide?” And then, just to show that it was really God speaking to me, because no way could I make this up, He said, “That is not the only bus I am going to send you.” Okay, then.
Counting down to a few days before my payments were due and I had turned down the offer that would bail me out. Or had I?
On Friday, the day I needed to make my payments, I went to work and had a call at 8:15 giving me a complete surprise. I cannot give the details here, and you will have to take my word for it that the circumstances of the news were rare, in fact unheard of , but I was going to receive a unexpected gift. And can you guess what that amount was for? $1,000. The second bus had arrived. And you can bet, I got on this one!