Friday, May 11, 2012

A boy from Liberia

Scarcity - God only provides only what is needed and his definition is always different than mine.
Abundance - God blesses in countless ways and when I begin to see that the amount God is giving it nearly impossible to list.

Scarcity used to be the only way I could see the world. Or at least 90% of the time. I believed that God was not generous. I pretty sure I would have never said that out loud. If I thought it, I would have denied it. But the truth is that my anxiety level and hopelessness over different things clearly shows me that this is what I believed.

I was in a meeting this week where we were faced with this choice. Were we going to believe in scarcity or generosity? If we believed in scarcity we were going to become who we are not. If we believed in God's generosity then we were going to remain faithful to what we believe we've been called to do and we were not going to cave to the world's ways of caving and seeing.

While at Catalyst Dallas the next day, I heard one of the most powerful stories of God's abundance that I have ever heard. It was the story of a young boy in an orphanage in Liberia. He longed to be adopted. All the evidence around him must have said this is not possible. But one day, the care givers at his school said we are going to change things. When you receive your food for today (one bowl of rice), instead of us leading the devotions we are going to call on one of you a day for the next 12 days. When we call on you, you need to stand and say just one thing you are thankful for. This orphan boy was called the first day. He could not think of one thing... not one thing to be thankful for. He was frustrated by this. But remembered a song. A song of thanksgiving. He sang the song and sat back down. The second day another boy was called on to say one thing he was thankful for. He sang a song too and when he started to sing the first boy stood and sang with him. This pattern repeated until the twelfth day. On the twelfth day, an American consulate was walking by the orphanage at the time the children were singing. He did pass by. He walked into the orphanage. He listened to the song of thanksgiving. When they finished, he promised the boys that all twelve of them would travel to America to raise money for the orphanage. Not only was there money raised, but all 12 members of the choir plus 28 more orphans from the orphanage we're adopted into American families. And now those American families are investing in training future leaders inside of Liberia.

This story blows me away. It is truly miraculously abundant. Did God stop the first boy from being able to think of just one thing he was thankful for... one of his friends, a cool stick found on the way to school, a fascinating bug that landed on his shirt the day before... something. Or, did God respond to this boys frustration with really wanting to be thankful for something with the gift of a song. What prompted the first boy to stand with the 2nd to sing in solidarity with the first? Who prompted the American consulate to walk by on the twelfth day? Not the 1st day or the 5th day. But the last day the caregiver declared this would be done. The last day.

Please don't read what else I have to say next until you really take in this story. What is God showing you about your life and what you believe about God?

I am personally involved with four organizations that do not have all the resources that we believe we need to do all that God has given us vision for. There is serious temptation in my life to believe that God is looking down on us and these activities and barely providing for at least three of those situations. But that is not true. There is vision. There is peace. There is faith. There is courage to not give up and move forward. And as long as we exist and we do not have to close our doors there is abundant hope. This road of faith we have been called to walk is what we need. Our souls need to walk by faith. And the Lord in His goodness and wisdom and love will decide when and where and how to answer our prayers for tangible resources.

Dear God,

It is so challenging to see things from your perspective. I'm truly sad about and sorry for the moments when I haven't known how to trust you with provision or to be able to see the abundance that is there. It so important to have our eyes fixed on you above all other manner of things. All the doubt and unbelief that I have walked around in and that didn't matter to you. You have still provided from my soul, my family, my church and my jobs. Help me to more than pray thy will be done and mean it. Help me to enjoy the unfolding of Your will. Help me to yield to You and Your will. Thank you for not holding our sin against.

And thank you for bringing the story of this orphan boy into my life.


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