The God who Hears

Ishmael. The God who hears/listens. I love how Hebrew names often communicate aspects of God’s character. And I also love how many Hebrew names there are for God, each of which describe Him in a certain way. There is El Roi, the God who sees. And El Shaddai, God all sufficient. And Jehovah-Jireh, God who provides. There are hundreds of ways to describe God, and yet all of them combined do not come close to describing His full character.

The fact that God hears us when we call on Him continually amazes me. Who am I, to come before the God of the universe for anything? And yet I am invited by Him to speak that which He already knows. To ask in faith, yet trust that because He is God, He knows the best answer to give.

As this whole process of moving to Nepal has progressed, I have been asking a lot of the Lord. For greater faith, for perseverance, for grace, for compassion, and for courage. I have also asked for wisdom and guidance in which organization to go with, and for months I have been praying that the Lord would give me a Nepali friend here in DC who I could get to know and begin learning the language from before moving.

I had several contacts who fell through, several dead ends that led to nothing. But a couple weeks ago the God who hears answered in a way I never would have expected (which, being honest, is how He usually works, so you would think I would start to expect the unexpected). A friend had breakfast at Silver Diner, and guess where the waitress was from? You got it. Kathmandu! So, he told her about me, and then told me about her, and we met. And I found out that there is a whole community of Nepali’s here in DC, many of whom work at that Silver Diner!

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I took this photo a few weeks ago, and I just love it.

During lunch she brought several of her friends over to meet this strange person who wanted to leave America and move to her home country. They were so excited that I was going and even more so excited about what I want to do. And she said she would love to meet up with me and help me learn the language!

Praises! Hopefully we can connect next week before my trip, and then again when I get back. Join me in thanking the Lord for His abundant grace and His crazy awesome answer, and please pray with me that she and I will be able to meet!

 

Berlin, Berlin, Wir fahren nach Berlin!

Well, briefing is over, and we are on the way to the airport! 6 staff and 11 students (fully funded!), ready to step out in faith and see what God does over the next 6 weeks in the city of Berlin! The last two days have been full of bonding together as a team, talking through our four themes for the summer – Love the Lord, Love our team, Launch movements and Learn a new world – learning about healthy conflict resolution and sharing what we hope the Lord does in and through us this summer as we minister to students.

The team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back Row: Jeremiah, Matt, Andy, Mark, Brock, Jim, Taylor, Kevin

Front Row: Me, Nicole, Joelle, Brenda, Layne, Alyssa, Sara, Lindsay, Miette

 

Some prayer requests:

– Smooth flight over – no cancelations or delays, no fears for our first time flyers!

– Rest on the plane

– For God to be glorified through us as we travel for the next 18 hours together, that we would speak with love and grace, be patient and caring towards one another

– That God would continue to prepare the hearts of the people we are going to talk to

– For boldness and courage as we begin this great adventure!

Thanks friends! I’ll be back with another update on the other side of the ocean. 🙂

faith.

George Müller, on answered prayer, after being asked if the Lord had always been faithful to His promises:

‘Always’, replied Müller, ‘He has never failed me! For nearly 70 years every need in connection with this work has been supplied. The orphans from the first until now, have numbered nine thousand five hundred, but they have never wanted a meal. Never! Hundreds of times we have commenced the day without a penny in hand, but our Heavenly Father has sent supplies by the moment they were actually required. There never was a time when there was no unwholesome meal. During all these years I have been enabled to trust in God, the living God, and in Him alone. One million four hundred thousand pounds have been sent to me in answer to prayer.  We have wanted as much as fifty thousand pounds in one year, and it has all come by the time it has been really needed.’ (emphasis mine)

Müller was born in Germany, and moved to England as a missionary in the early-1800’s. He started out his ministry as a church planter and pastor, but after seeing a desperate need for good orphan care he shifted his focus to starting homes for children. For over 50 years he ran an orphanage that consisted by the end of 5 houses that cared for over 1,200 children (at one time!) from birth-17 years old. He revolutionized orphan care in the nation of England, and by the time of his death the entire system had been transformed, largely because of his efforts.

In addition to the orphanage, his church supported missionaries all over the world, including Hudson Taylor in China! He started the Scripture Knowledge Institute that trained hundreds of men in theology and teaching, and spent the last twenty years of his life traveling over 200,000 miles around the world sharing the gospel to thousands upon thousands of people.

All of this work was accomplished by bringing his needs before the Lord only. He founded his organization on the conviction and belief that God would answer when asked. That blows my mind. As I read his biography (Delighted in God by Roger Steer), I was/still am a bit at war in my heart on what I thought about that. One cannot deny that God clearly provided for Müller, and that his approach brought God much glory. But I alos have wondered if they would have seen God provide even more, had they simply asked and made their needs known. There is a balance, I think, between trusting God to provide without ever speaking, and trusting God to use your voice in drawing others closer to Himself as they give.

Sometimes I have doubts that God is really big enough to provide, but reading about the life of this man has given me renewed faith in God’s provision. So often I have a limited view of the omnipotent God. I start to worry, but then am reminded that I am the finite one, He the infinite. I have limitations, He is the owner of everything we can and cannot see. I am broken and flawed, He is perfect and Holy. I can only see one minute at a time, He sees every moment at once. I only know what I need moment by moment, He knows all of my needs and exactly how He is going to provide!

Berlin, Berlin

As of right now, we only have 5 guys total applying to join us this summer on project in Berlin. Would you take a moment right now and pray that God would raise up a group of men to come with us? Pray that Berlin would come up in conversations, that our staff team leading the project will be bold in challenging men to apply, and that our partnership campuses would promote the project at the weekly meetings and with students individually. We are so excited to see the team that the Lord is forming already, and know that He will answer beyond what we can imagine when we ask! Thank you!

Disappointment and Hope

What do you do with unanswered prayer?

I have been praying for one specific thing for a long time, but in 2011 I ramped it up and prayed for it every day. Literally. Each morning I woke up, brought my request to the foot of the throne of God, and waited with faith and hope for Him to answer. 365 days. The caveat was that I was asking for Him to answer positively by the end of the year.

All during the year I was hopefully expectant – knowing that in His sovereignty He could make it happen anytime…even on December 31st.

But He didn’t. As the night drew to a close, I realized that once again, His answer was “no”. And my response at first was disappointment. I know He loves to show up at the very last minute, just when you think He’s not going to. And so I was hoping that was His plan. I was excited to see how He was going to answer, how He was going to provide, and I was waiting expectantly on the 30th and 31st, and then, nothing. Again. Just like 2010, and 2009, and 2008, and so on.

And I began to wonder…when do I give up? When do I stop waking up, coming before His throne and laying down what is on my heart?

Our main speaker last week at IndyCC was Mike Erre (excellent, excellent speaker/teacher, by the way), and one of His talks spoke directly to my heart. He talked about the “gap” that we are living in, between how life was meant to be, and how it is now that sin entered the world. He explained how our imperfect lives are a result of God’s mercy on us. If we had everything we asked for, if life went just like we wanted it to, then we would have no need for Him. And we do need Him, desperately. So God allows brokenness, and unanswered prayer, and delayed hopes, and lost dreams, because we need the reminder that this world is broken, and He is the only remedy.

Which means that I don’t give up hope that one day He will provide. Ever. Even if I pray every day for 10 years, and His answer is still no. He has proven Himself faithful over and over, and He has called me to trust Him. A “no” doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me. On the contrary, it means that He knows what I need and what is best for me so much better than I ever could, because He is the very One who created me. His “no” is because He knows that at this time that is the exact response I need.

O, Praise Him.

And so, disappointment turns to hope. And then trust.

This summer I was journaling after the loss of a relative who didn’t love Jesus, and I wrote this about hope:

Hope is a verb. We “hope” that something will happen. That some unseen or unspoken desire will in time come true. Regardless of the evidence, we hope. When things are at their worst, we hope. We the impossible comes, we hope. In life, we hope. In death, we hope. We hope in the future. And when hope seems lost, we trust.

Trust that God knows. Trust that He is big enough, strong enough, alive enough, faithful enough, enough.

Trust when we can’t see, can’t understand, can’t control, can’t hope, can’t walk….we trust that He can.

And someday, He will.