If I had to sum up what God’s been teaching me recently, I’d say it’s this: Faith to pursue God’s promises grows through obedience. I stepped off a plane at home 3 months ago knowing that I needed an enormous amount of provision and support in order to get back on the next plane and fulfill what I felt like God was promising – to return to Australia and serve as a missionary alongside YWAM long term. It’s a promise from God that I was (and am) still learning how to claim.
This lesson began a few weeks after I got home, while reading John 21:1-14. In these verses, the disciples were unsuccessfully fishing as Jesus stood on the shore near them. They didn’t recognize him. Seeing them struggling, Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Despite not recognizing Jesus, they obeyed his command. The result? They couldn’t even haul the net back into the boat because of the massive amount of fish they caught! It was at this point that John, seeing the overflow of fish, recognized that Jesus was with them!
Alongside this story in my Bible, I found a note that I had written and long forgotten. In bright red ink, it said, God’s character is seen most clearly in our obedience. As I read this, I felt Holy Spirit prompting me to move towards God’s promises in obedient faith, just like the disciples had.
So what was God asking me to do exactly? I was immediately reminded of a 3-month communication training program in England that was recommended to me. At the time, I thought that the training would be enormously beneficial in the ministry I would be doing in Australia, but the timing and the finances seemed like too much of a challenge at the time, so I didn’t pursue it. As I asked God what to do next, he prompted me to pursue the school, asking the question “What would I do right now to walk this out if I was completely confident and enthusiastic in God’s faithfulness to fulfill it?”.
After applying and seeking approval from my base in Australia, I hit the obstacle that seemed like the biggest; finances. I was already fundraising for my needs for Australia and didn’t have the money for my visa ($600) or the training fees ($2500) for England. However, I still felt that God was saying, “Keep moving towards it. Do what you can right now. Buy your flights”. So I cast my net and purchased my flight tickets.
I’ll never forget the culmination of my tiny steps of obedience. I felt exactly like I imagine that the disciples felt when they unexpectedly caught a crazy amount of fish! The next morning, I just happened to intercept the mailman when he came to my door. He handed me an envelope without a return address. Inside the envelope, I found an anonymous gift – for the exact amount that I needed to pay for the school in England and my visa!!
Just like the disciples in John 21, I could instantly recognize God’s character with new clarity. Even now, I get tears in my eyes as I think of the revelation of His goodness, love, and provision in that moment and the time of praise that came after. I could almost feel my faith expand as I witnessed his character in action.
This is just one of the testimonies of God’s faithfulness that I’ve seen as I prepare to go. I’ve been so humbled and stretched by God’s abundant provisions and the generosity of the body of Christ around me. I’m getting on a plane in 8 days to spend the next few years overseas as a missionary, telling people about God’s extraordinary, transforming love. It’s a promise that feels too big and too awesome for me on many days. I’m still trusting for big things to happen to make it possible. BUT, it’s something that I continuously see God provide for faithfully as I walk forward in it. And, more than that… it’s a promise that allows me to see more and more how profoundly good and loving He is. And that’s the best part – the part that spurs me forward to tell others about Him.
Is there a promise on your heart that you have from God, but you’re unsure about claiming in your own life? If so, I want to challenge you to ask God, “What would I do today if I was 100% confident in God’s fulfillment of this promise?”… and move toward it. The faith and confidence will come from seeing God’s character in action as you go.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.