If you’ve seen me the last couple of weeks, you may or may have not have been able to tell that I’ve been pretty discouraged. Not just discouraged, but doubting. A couple of our meetings fell through, a church that I felt like we had bent over backwards for seemed to lost interest in having us come, even some of our housing arrangements were up in the air. And I got discouraged. I doubted. I doubted that our monthly support level would ever get to 75%. I doubted we’d ever reach our goal of 500+ people praying for us weekly. “At this rate,” I despaired, “we’ll never make it Papua New Guinea.”
Then a few people started supporting us on a monthly basis. God started providing money for our plane tickets. We got our housing arrangements figured out. And I was encouraged. Then I started thinking about how fast July is coming, and how much we have to do before we leave for PNG, and how slow our work permit and visa process is going, and I got discouraged again. As I was talking to God about my discouragement, it hit me: I was allowing circumstances to determine whether I was encouraged or discouraged. And that meant my focus was in the wrong place. Circumstances are always going to change. Finances will come and go, churches will get excited and then lose interest, people who care about us may forget about us, but these things shouldn’t define my emotional or spiritual well-being. As long as I look to the things going on around me, I’ll be riding a roller coaster – encouraged one minute, and discouraged the next. But if my focus is on God, who He is, and who I am in Him, it doesn’t matter what happens, I can find peace and joy in Him.
So not only do I not have to be discouraged right now, I also don’t have to doubt. “What would it look like,” I asked Josiah, “if I actually did believe God could get us to Papua New Guinea in July?” “Well,” he said, “you could prepare for rain. If you really are trusting God to provide the support we need and the paperwork to get into Papua New Guinea, then we’d better start getting ready to go!” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m believing that God wants us in Papua New Guinea this July (that is how He’s led us so far), so I’m getting ready to go. I’m writing our packing lists, getting our finances all in order, and looking into plane tickets. Like the story of the two farmers, I’m not just going to pray for God to send rain, I’m going to get out there and prepare my fields, ready and waiting for God to open the heavens and start pouring.