Have you ever been frustrated with God because He was not moving as quickly as you would like or maybe because He did not answer your prayer the way you thought He should? Well, I have!
These past few months have been quite challenging for me as I took steps to lead a missions team to Haiti. Each person was responsible for raising his or her own money. Some of the money went toward the actual cost of the trip and the remainder went toward a building we were constructing while there. Some team members had raised their support with little trouble, while others are still having a difficult time coming up with the majority of their portion.
As the leader of the group, I am responsible at the end of the day for making sure we have the available cash to fund the trip and purchase the construction material. As time has gone on, the pressure of financial deadlines and the lack of funds our team has raised as a whole started to take its toll on me. I found myself getting worried and stressed out and eventually I took it out on a team member who had not raised his amount yet. This person happened to be my dad, so I felt I could put more pressure on him than other team members – this, however, did not work out well. He told me, “Cory, I am doing everything I can do to raise the money. I sent out 200 letters, sent out a second set and I am sending out a third letter asking friends and family for support. I don’t know what else to do except trust God.”
At that moment, I found myself frustrated and questioned his support raising commitment level. Instead of pressing the matter further, I went home that night to spend time with God. As I began to pray and ask God for help, He responded to me by saying, “Cory, do you trust Me?” This scripture came to my remembrance, “But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: ‘Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.’ So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: ‘Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.’ But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!’ he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?’ So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, ‘Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’
So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed'” (2 Kings 5:8-14 (New Living Translation). Naaman was so upset with Elisha because the Man of God did not come out and greet him and say some complicated prayer over him to make his leprosy go away. Instead, Elisha sent a servant out and gave him instructions to go wash seven times in the dirty Jordan River. This did not make sense to Naaman’s carnal reasoning and he became frustrated and left in a fit! Thankfully, his servants convinced him to trust the words of Elisha and Naaman was healed instantly! How many times do we not trust God’s divine way of doing things and we get mad and quit trusting God! Or, we act out in the flesh and make a big mess of our circumstances.
As I meditated on this story, I asked God to forgive me for trying to figure out how to raise the money apart from His guidance and power. I quit trying to have unrealistic expectations toward my dad and other team members who were trying their best to come up with the money needed for the trip and I stopped believing that the money had to come in a specific way. I let God be God and quit putting Him in a box, just like Naaman had done.
Shortly after I gave all the logistics for the Haiti trip to God, our team came up with a couple of fundraising ideas that will give us the needed boost to meet our financial goals. I know our team has to play its part in obedience, but we must leave the outcome in His hands and trust that He sees everything and will open the right doors and close the rest. Will you trust God to perform His will for your life His way?
Cory Nickols is a regular speaker and the missions director at Envision Life Center in Fort Wayne, Ind. He writes a weekly blog that has gained a world-wide following. Check it out at: [email protected]. For speaking engagements or more information on Cory, you can contact him at [email protected]