Have you ever committed to something and then wondered what it was you ate to make you think that was a rational decision? If you have walked with God long enough to experience and wonder at his ways, you know that God just loves to lead us down those unsettling, and at times terrifying, trails of the unknown. Consider Gideon, what a sight that must have been. Three hundred flaming idiots, literally, running down into a multitude of soldiers with oil lamps and clanging water pitchers. Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” had a predecessor, long before the British Empire and with a much better result. Such is life with Jehovah Jireh. Abraham called it on Mt. Moriah - the Lord will provide. For Abraham it was a place of the unthinkable. For God, it became a place where He provided for all mankind. In America, we value self sufficiency and independence, preparation and methodical implementation. One wonders how often we organize and insure God right out of our lives. Jehovah Jireh demands more - dependence, trust, risk. Not for our own ends or dreams, but for the glory of his name.
Last year, a small band of Gateway members committed to help an Afghan family settle and prosper here in Findlay. To be sure, that was in no small measure, a leap of faith. Space in this ramble does not allow for a recounting of all the responsibility piled on from that decision, to say nothing of having no idea what kind of family would arrive. Well, actually we are now on our second family… but nonetheless, we all agree that the first family, though only with us for a brief 3 weeks, touched our souls and challenged our understanding of how God works in so many ways. In spite of much anger and frustration on the part of the family, God spoke deep into their hearts, communicating love through some unassuming, yet faithful Gateway folk. Again, too many stories to tell here, but suffice it to say, this family, upon arrival at their final home in CA, sought out a church and befriended a pastor there, wanting very much to be loved as they had experienced here. God’s love - making a difference through common Gateway folks who were willing to run down a hill with no idea what was at the bottom.
On to the second Afghan family. Another crisis, this time from mistreatment and hopelessness at the hands of previous “caretakers”. As they arrived, our “can-do” group became aware that caring for this family would be so much more difficult. Onward, down a trail of the unknown. What did we get ourselves into? Threats, legal challenges, less adaptation and ability to acclimate to American culture and way of life. This family had endured some horrible circumstances. God will provide. He has. Allow me to share one example. Employment. How do you find a job for someone who knows almost no English? Beats me. But God knows. He just wants his people to persevere and move forward in trust. Do what we can, then watch him work. Such was this week's conundrum of employment. Where do we start? How about a young Gateway lady named Yeseul? As an employee of Walmart, and against all odds, Yeseul did what was obvious. Just ask a supervisor. One interview and a few days later, our Afghan father, responsible for a family of 7, was thrilled to take a job at Walmart. How does that happen? Strategy and preparation has its place. We actually never got around to it. The Lord will provide. He used one of his humble and faithful children to make it happen.
We surely can learn from Yeasul’s faith in action. We all have our part in giving space for God to do what he does best - provide for the glory of his name. It might be unconventional. It might be risky. Dare I say illogical? Almost certainly, it will require us to go where we have not been before. Do you want to see God do amazing things for the glory of his name? I suggest you consider getting involved. How much are we missing because we dwell in the safety of a world of our own creation? Let God teach you how to live without boundaries. Gateway has plenty of ways for you to make a difference. Summer Kidway classes - kids await you. City Mission, Chopin Hall - love on the needy in our community. Gateway greeters - meet someone new and put a smile on their face. God loves each one. A domestic mission trip - go show Jesus’ love to the disadvantaged. An international mission trip - commit to loving across cultures in places where people have never heard the name of Jesus. Pray - join the prayer team. Invest your time and see God work. Sign up to receive newsletters from Gateway’s partners. Get to know them and pray. Unable to travel? Contribute to someone who is going on a mission trip. We have two international trips coming up to Greece and Lebanon. We also have a domestic trip coming up to Elkhorn City, KY. If you are interested in investing financially, you can do so on the Give page and designate in the memo what your gift is for. Invest in the people going on these trips. Pray for them. Make a difference.
Finally, take time to observe. Watch for the ways that God provides for the glory of his name. I truly believe that God will show you so much more of what he is doing and desires to do. So get involved. Pick up a lantern and run into the unknown. Let God show himself to you in the journey.